Colonel Bruce Hampton Dies at 70 After His Own Birthday Concert

One of the most influential figures in the jam band scene spent his last moments doing what he loved best: sharing the joy of music with others.

Colonel Bruce Hampton (born as Gustav Berglund III) died at age 70 on Monday night after collapsing on stage at the Fox Theater in Atlanta during the encore of his "Hampton 70" birthday concert. His family confirmed the news via a post on the Tedeschi Trucks Band Facebook page:

Hampton got his start touring with The Grateful Dead as part of the Hampton Grease Band. He would go on to become one of the leading lights of progressive and "surrealist" music, with pioneering acts like The Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Fiji Mariners.

He became involved with the H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) tours in the 1990s, forging influential friendships with the artists Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Phish, among others. His energy and presence in that scene helped cultivate a second wave of improvisational genre-bending artists, from Dave Matthews to Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.

Hampton also had a handful film and television roles, including the band manager Morris in Billy Bob Thornton's film Sling Blade (1996), a potted shrubbery named Warren on an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and a guitar teacher in Mike Gordon's film Outside Out.

A documentary titled Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton detailing the musician's work was released in 2012.

Lead photo by Roger Gupta

Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. - "Pharaoh's Kitchen" (Live at Music City Roots, 2012)

comments powered by Disqus