Richie Hayward, RIP. Gone Home To Play With Lowell.

For those people following me on Facebook–you may be wondering why I’m clogging up your News Feed with quotes from Little Feat songs.

This week, one of the founding members of Little Feat, drummer Richie Hayward, died while awaiting a liver transplant. Little Feat is one of my all-time favorite bands and the death really struck a nerve with me. The band is still playing, in fact is out on tour in Great Britain as we speak. A new drummer has been sitting in for over a year. So what am I actually mourning?

What everyone mourns about Little Feat is the incredibly early death of Lowell George: founding member, guitarist and chief songwriter of the band from 1969 to 1979. Weight, stress and cocaine killed him at the age of 34. It’s hard to believe that Lowell has been gone for over 30 years. One of the great tragedies in the early death/rock star canon. His amazing guitar work evoking the best of blues, rock, country and New Orleans jazz, coupled with amazingly well written lyrics that are novelistic–filled with rich imagery and a twisted world view–made him one of America’s most important musicians.

So, even though we mourn Richie Hayward today, his death just brings up a flood of unprocessed feelings about Lowell George, the incredible music of Little Feat–and yes, the nagging Baby Boomer fear that our best years are behind us. (OK–I’ll be more honest here: my fears that my best years are behind me.)

I’ll just have to cue up the Feat’s 1978 live album “Waiting For Columbus” and bust out the chorus of Dixie Chicken one more time. We’ll always have the music.

2 thoughts on “Richie Hayward, RIP. Gone Home To Play With Lowell.

    1. Thanks mamkitt. I’m not sure why his death hit me so hard–I’m starting to get to the age where these events will be more frequent and I need to be more upfront about why these deaths shake me up so. I’m beginning to understand what the Michael Jackson fans went through. Fans invest a lot of emotion and the rock star’s death does take something from you.

      For me, it is the deaths of rockers whose music shone the brightest when I was still young and cool that hurt the most: Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone, Danny Federici. Richie Hayward’s death was more about Lowell George and the band than anything. As a callow 19 year old, what did I know about life and death? I’ve lived enough life now to be able to relate to the sadness of an early death. Even, seemingly, by proxy.


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