Friday, December 25, 2009

Westcoastobit: James Gurley

Big Brother And The Holding Company bassist James Gurley died Monday.

Although legendary as part of the late 60s San Francisco scene in its own right, Big Brother's main appearance in rock history comes as the band which gave Janis Joplin her big break. The band shared a single house at one point, Monkees style.

The band crumbled after Joplin quit to go solo; Gurley spent two years caught in a legal nightmare after he injected his wife, Nancy, with heroin. She died of an overdose; murder charges were laid which resulted in Gurley eventually receiving probation.

He remarried in 1972, and spent the next two decades working with various acts, most notably the new wave outfit Red Robin and The Worms. Big Brother And The Holding Company were reactivated in 1987; Gurley remained with the band for a decade, before stepping down to concentrate on his solo projects.

James Gurley was 69; he died from a heart attack.