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Paul Whaley, drummer for Blue Cheer, has died

blue cheer Vincebus Eruptum

Paul Whaley, drummer for Bay Area power trio Blue Cheer, died on Monday, January 28 at age 72 at his home in Regensburg, Germany. The San Francisco Chronicle reports, via the band’s co-founder and manager Eric Albronda, that the cause of death was heart failure. Whaley’s hard-hitting style was a big component to Blue Cheer’s heavy sound, which is generally regarded as planting the seeds for metal on classic albums Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside, both of which came out in 1968. From the Chronicle:

Playing against a stack of Marshall amplifiers in tight pants and shaggy hair, they often drove fans away with their unruly appearances at concerts like the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park — the living embodiment of the caveman rock band on “The Flintstones.”

“We were the redheaded stepchild,” Whaley said in an interview with Perfect Sound Forever in 2006. “We were getting slapped around by everybody, the press, other bands in San Francisco. But, we did what we like to do.”

When the group appeared on “American Bandstand” in 1968, Dick Clark warned audience members, “You can see from the wall of sound behind them that it’s going to sound like anything but a trio.” On Steve Allen’s television program the same year, the host simply introduced them by saying, “Blue Cheer — run for your lives!”

Rest in peace, Paul. Listen to Vincebus Eruptum below.

Blue Cheer’s bassist/vocalist Dickie Peterson died in 2009.

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