Iron Butterfly Biography

During the progressive music revolution in the late 60s, one of the most surprising successes was that of Iron Butterfly. The band was formed in 1966 by Doug Ingle (9 September 1946, Omaha, Nebraska, USA; organ/vocals) and Ron Bushy (b. 23 September 1941, Washington, DC, USA; drums), with Danny Weiss (guitar), Jerry Penrod (bass) and Darryl DeLoach (vocals) completing the line-up. Together, they were possibly the first band to amalgamate the terms ‘heavy’ and ‘rock’, following the release of their debut in 1968. Erik Braunn (b. 10 August 1950, Pekin, Illinois, USA, d. 25 July 2003, Los Angeles, California, USA; guitar) and Lee Dorman (b. 19 September 1945, St. Louis, Missouri, USA; bass/vocals) were brought in to replace Weiss, Penrod and DeLoach shortly after the album’s release. Their second effort, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (‘In The Garden Of Eden’), became a multi-million-seller and was for a number of years the biggest-selling item in Atlantic Records’ catalogue. The album also became the record industry’s first platinum disc. The 17-minute title-track contained everything a progressive rock fan could want - neo-classical organ with Far East undertones, a solid beat, screeching guitar parts, barbed-wire feedback and an overlong drum solo. Magnificently overwrought at the time, the intervening years have been less kind to its standing. The follow-up, Ball, was less of a success, despite being a better collection of songs, notably the invigorating ‘It Must Be Love’ and the more subtle ‘Soul Experience’. Braunn departed after a poor live album and was replaced by two guitarists: Larry ‘Rhino’ Reinhardt (b. 7 July 1948, Florida, USA) and Mike Pinera (b. 29 September 1948, Tampa, Florida, USA). However, no further success ensued. Metamorphosis was a confused collection, recorded when the band was disintegrating.

Iron Butterfly re-formed in the mid-70s, with Braunn joined by Bushy, Phil Kramer (b. 1952, USA, d. 12 February 1995, California, USA; bass) and Howard Reitzes (keyboards, subsequently replaced by Bill DeMartines). This new instalment of the band delivered two mediocre albums. Another re-formation, this time in 1992, was masterminded by Mike Pinera. A new version of ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ was recorded and Pinera recruited Dorman and Bushy for extensive touring in the USA. By 1993, their legendary second album had sold an astonishing 25 million copies and in 1995 the band re-formed once more for an anniversary tour.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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