July 31, 2003 by

Erik Braunn


Categories: Musicians

ebraunn.jpgErik Braunn, the former guitarist of Iron Butterfly, died of cardiac arrest on July 25. He was 52.

Braunn was a four-year-old violin savant when he got accepted into the prodigy program at The Boston Symphony. When he was 16, heavy metal band Iron Butterfly asked him to join the group. He played with Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle from 1967 to 1969 — the band’s most prosperous period.

In 1968, Iron Butterfly released the album, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which sold over 20 million copies, went platinum and stayed on the Billboard Magazines charts for over a year.

Braunn’s contribution to the 17-minute song by the same name is one of the most recognizable guitar licks in rock music. Although a three-minute version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was released, the longer one was favored by radio DJs who wanted to take an extra long break.

Braunn occasionally reunited Iron Butterfly for concerts, but he was putting together a solo album when he died.

Listen to a Clip From “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

Listen to “Stiletto (A Night in Morocco)” by Erik Braunn

127 Responses to Erik Braunn

  1. Bill Piekarski

    Brann/Braunn was underrecorgnized in his lifetime. As quickly as Iron Butterfly became “hip”, they became “unhip” in the fickle popular consciousness. When many rock guitarists were rewarming and accelerating blues licks in the guise of “rock guitar”, Brann was taking these same blues licks and blending them with baroque and jazz themes – to often-startling effect. Brann’s tasteful, intelligent use of effects-pedals was an influence on the style of his contemporaries, especially on the style of Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger.
    It should be noted that Brann’s departure from the Butterfly necessitated replacement by TWO guitarists – Mike Pinera and Larry Reinhardt!
    Erik’s death is a loss to rock music in general and especially to the world of rock guitar.
    His death is a

  2. Jim Lekas

    I knew Erik as “Rick Davis,” a sixten-year old kid who rehearsed in a garage across the street from where we would rehearse. He and two other kids around 15 had a small band together, while we were older and working steadily in bars and clubs.I was about 8 years older than Rick.
    He was just a bright, wide-eyed kid in those days.
    One night around 1967, he told me he was going to the Whiskey on Sunset Boulevard to try to get in and speak to Doug Ingle about landing the lead guitarist’s job for the Butterfly, as the Butterfly’s Danny Weiss was leaving the group. I remember being pessimistic with Rick, telling him he probably wouldn’t even get into the club.
    Well, he somehow did get the gig and was in the studio weeks later recording “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”
    Rick went on tour, achieved fame, bought a new, red, jag XKE, and lived the fantasy he had always wanted.
    I was so saddened to only recently learn of his passing last summer, many months later. I wish to learn where he rests so I can pay my respects.
    I knew Rick (Erik) when he was a great, cute, 16-year old kid. I only wish I could have known him as a mature man. Life is so fleeting.
    Jim Lekas
    Huntington Beach, California

  3. Barbara

    I too remember Erik in his early days and even the Jaguar! He was my best friend and remained so until his death. I spoke with him just a few days prior to his leaving us and will remember and love him forever. His ashes are on the East and West Coasts with those of us who loved him.
    His genius and talents will be missed by all and his spirit and love will be missed by me.

  4. Michael Warren

    Erik was a great, unique guitar player. He was one of the most psychedelic and expressive musicians I’ve ever heard; with a very cool tone and sound– totally different from any other Rock guitarist.
    So raise a glass to the six string-slinger of one of the best Acid Rock/Psychedelic bands of all time….. Iron Butterfly.

  5. Ray Hermes

    So sad to hear that Erik died at just the age of 52. In 1969 when In a gadda da vida came out, I every time was “out of the world” by listening to this LP. I still am every time again I hear him playing his part: the special themelick, the wah wah part and the distorted part. His wah wah technique was awesome: got me the shivers listening to it. Through him I started playing guitar and I still do.
    It’s a great loss.

  6. Jessica Davis

    Rick Davis was my uncle. my dad Geoffary Davis is his brother. I didn’t know him very well but i love him dearly. if i could go back in time i would get to know him better.
    Jessica Davis

  7. Steve Wood

    I grew up listening to Iron Butterfly and trying in vain to learn the solos to “Vida”. I’ve been a rock guitarist all my life and I still have no idea how to play the solos in that song! I listen to the song every couple months or so and still love to get lost in it. Put on the headphones and zone out for 20 minutes! Erik was one of my main influences. I’m almost 50 now and still play in a band. Some of the best times of my life are when I’m onstage! I wish Iron Butterfly had had more success and put out more material. Fate had other ideas! I heard of Eriks passing and it gave me great sadness. I wish I could have met him and jammed with him. It would have been a big moment in my life!

  8. David Martin

    I will remember Eric Braunn as the rock guitarist who made this young US Army soldier forget Vietnam for 17 minutes,In a Gadda Vida was played many many times,I don’t recall how many albums we wore out playing that song.Eric I will miss your talent,heaven has one more great guitarist.

  9. Marcia Silverman-Beamish

    I also know him as Rick Davis. I worked for the Band’s management firm just prior to his joining the band. (When they lived on Ridpath Drive in Laurel Canyon.) He was very young and at first, his age was going to be withheld and made to be older, but later management changed their minds and released his age. I just now learned of his death and am very saddened – a huge part of me just died. Ah yes – his Jag – I drove back to LA with him in that car from a gig in San Francisco. What memories…

  10. Burt Shaw

    I’ve been a butterfly fan since the late 60’s – always delighted in their soundscapes. Like a great painter or poet, Erik explored themes which touch us at the deepest levels – bringing us closer to that which demands meaning. His genius will be sorely missed.

  11. Rick Wilshe

    It’s April 2005 and I’m just now learning of Eric’s death. I’m so upset to learn this. I had no idea what happened to the former members of Butterfly. I know that Lee and Ron are still playing with other people I don’t know, never have heard of before, but I didn’t know where Doug and Eric were these days…and like all of you I was such a big fan of IB for so many many years, and I am so saddened to learn tonight that Eric has passed, at such a young age… Rest in peace, Eric. Is life just a Mirage, then, like they sang? It must be, as that song is playing in the backround on my CD player as I read about his death.

  12. Joe Mystery

    I did not know Eric except through his music. I started playing guitar in the late 60’s and was absolutely inspired by bands like Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Jefferson Airplane and Spirit. I always loved Eric’s style and thought of him as “the guitarist” of Iron Butterfly. That is saying alot since the other players like Danny Weis ((Rhinocerous), Mike Pinera (Blues Image) and Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (Captain Beyond, I believe) were also awesome. Eric’s style is unduplicated to this day, probably as a function of his classical violin background. Listen to the fingerpicking style motif in My Mirage or the psychedelic distorted lines in Da Vida and you know you are listening to a real artist. Anyway, losing people like this really is a downer. Reading the comments of those who knew him is sad but I do believe in the life after and hope they have concerts in heaven where guys can riff forever. Thanks for the music and the inspiration, Eric. Rock in peace. Joe Mystery

  13. Diane

    Small world. I too knew him as Rick Davis, and even took a few guitar lessons from him back in my teens. In fact, I knew the guys in that band across the street from him that Jim mentions.
    And, I had forgotten about that red Jag, but can remember seeing him driving through the ol’ neighborhood.
    Sorry to hear he is gone too soon.

  14. Jonathan Clarke

    I just listened to my In A Gadda Da Vida record again, and just realised what amazing musicians and artists these guys are. Erik was only my age when he played on that album, and as a guitarist I became pushed to finding out more about him. I just learned of his death and was greatly saddened and suprised. My thoughts go out to him and those who were close to him.

  15. Houston Galloway

    I was in 8th grade when I discovered In-A’ and it changed my life. I only quite recently picked up a copy of the CD and in reading the liner notes realized he was only 17 when he recorded this brillant piece. I am very sad to discover he is no longer with us. What a great player. He’ll be missed.

  16. antonio ponze

    I have just known his death, he was a great musician of the 60′. I ussually listen and enjoy his performed in Iron Butterfly band,he got a unique style of playing. I’m really so sorry about his death.

  17. Steve T.

    saw Iron-B at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds back
    on April 9 1968, some guy named Santana was also playing but that wasn’t the reason I went. I went to hear Eric and the band. I’ll always remember that night. Thanks Eric!

  18. Mario Caumartin

    I was 12 when In-a-gadda-da-vida came out and was instantly hooked when I first listened to it and I’m still is.
    One of The songs that touched me so much was Erik’s message song Termination…(Of life).
    We don’t know how or when our life will end.
    My deepest sympathy goes to his family and to everyone who loved him and his music.

  19. michael bourne

    1970 – First Car, First girl friend, First concert – Iron Butterfly. We HAD to stand right in front of the speakers. I wore out two 8-track tapes in that car (When I hear it now I almost miss the break in the middle of In-a-gadda-da-vida…) I’m listening right now. My best friend (a drummer) thought the drum solo made the song – wrong. It was Erik and will always be Erik. Erik… Rock On.

  20. Anjel

    I met up with Erik via music. He and I worked together to launch his first website and put music up on the site. A new cd was coming so he was trying to get everything together. He was sick then but kept going. He told me the story of his life and shared so many things with me and i will Love him always and forever. It was the saddest day of my life when he died. There was so much more to do. Part of me will be missing until the great spirit unites musicians in the sky and then we WILL finish the rest of the album.

  21. krishna kotamraju

    Erik Braunn, I am really Sad about the News that He is not around…I am really Sad that I didnt know about him much for this long…Erik I thank you for giving me 17 min peace of mind every time……

  22. dave whiston

    I was hanging out at this tire shop with my friends when I was 12. We went there after school to hang out and smoke cigarettes. One of the owners, had an 8 track copy of “Inna Godda Da Vida” by this band Iron Butterfly. I heard it playing and I had to have it. I gave him 5 bucks for it, which was all the money I had in the world at the time. I appropriated my mom’s portable 8 track player and I used to put each speaker on one side of my head and pop in “Inna Godda Da Vida” and crank it. I was mesmerized by the sound of Erik’s guitar. I would listen to it every day like a religion, laying on the floor of my living room. I went on to find all of the records Erik played on. Erik was so far ahead of his time. Nobody to this day has come close to capturing his sound or style. His influence on me as a musician was profound. The power of his playing reached across time and space to influence a teenage kid in rural New Hampshire. To change my life. And provide me with inspiration that has lasted a lifetime. I will miss you. Dave

  23. Cliff Taylor

    Having bought the first Iron Butterfly album Heavy. It had a huge impact (on everybody) at the time with some great songs. As a 14 year old guitarist I though Danny Weiss was exceptional on lead guitar going up against Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, Page. When Eric replaced Danny as a 17 year old my impression was he had some big shoes to fill but My Mirage and Termination turned out to be my favourites, and Inna Godda Da Vida’s mix of Doug Ingle’s organ and Erics guitar playing was playing on every stereo (and early FM radio) in the land. Eric Bruann’s guitar on the song “Butterfly Bleu” is an impressive fore-runner to guitar-harmony bands like Wishbone Ash and others with the first ever instance of guitar harmony (over-lapped in the studio) in 4ths-5ths–the only exception being Eric Clapton’s “Outside Women Blues” in 1967 with Cream.

  24. Skip Bresler

    I had the great privilege of meeting Eric at Gazzari’s (on the Sunset Strip) back in ’83 or so. It was an Iron Butterfly reunion, with Lee Dorman, Ron Bushy and a few others who became members through replacements. I got there way early that night, with very few people around and no security at all. Someone pointed out Eric (and his girlfriend) to me, and I went right over and started talking to him. He was SO nice and friendly. I couldn’t believe it. He treated me like he knew me from his childhood or something. I asked him alot of questions, and he seemed to love anwering them. I offered to buy him a drink, and he took me up on it. The 3 of us (including his girlfriend) ended up at a table, drinking it up, with me gladly buying (although it wasn’t in my budget; I was still in college!). I’ll NEVER forget Eric asking me to hang out with his girlfriend (whose name I can’t remember, and she was as wholesome as the girl next door) just before he took the stage with his bandmates. He told me, “I don’t want some fool trying to pick her up”. It was flattering to have earned his trust like that. He and I really hit it off. I’m not one who likes to be around other guys too much, nor do I have a very long list of buddies. And I honestly can’t remember enjoying being with another dude as much as I did Eric. It was just a perfect night all around. I also got to talk to Ron Bushy for a while. He was every bit as approachable and friendly as Eric. I’ll never forget that evening at Gazzari’s. Thank you, Eric.

  25. Philippe

    Well, I was nineteen years old in 1968 : In A Gadda Da Vida was an hymn. The guitar of Erik was so … psychedelic … the true electric side of a very special music ; the other side was perhaps played by Sandy Bull… Erik was such a great guitarist… I’m sad.

  26. David Schweitzer

    My first album I bought was In A Gadda Da Vida in 1969, I wore it out and have since bought the CD. Erik’s playing inspired me to pick up a guitar and I still play to this day (2005). Thank you Erik, you will be missed.

  27. Neil

    I too remember Erik through his music, (specifically In-a-gadda-da-vida).
    I was seventeen and it was March 1970. I was sitting in my living room listening to my favorite song on parent’s old record player. (This record player still played the old 78’s).
    Of course, I was playing it as loud as it would go, as I waited for my mom and dad to come and pick me up to take me to Kansas City for my flight to San Diego, (for I had joined the Navy).
    I will always remember that day, where I was wondering where the hell I was going with my life, and I still listen to the In-a-gadda-da-vida album from time to time, for it is still one of my old favorites, especially Erik’s guitar.
    It’s too bad he’s gone.

  28. Mark Z

    I just read about Erik’s passing. Gadda’s vibe is still the best track of all time. He is one of the reasons I took up the guitar. What a sound!

  29. Bob B

    It has taken me approximately 2+ years to find out what ever happened to Eric. Like so many others that have posted on this blog, I cut my teeth on Iron Butterfly. I was in 8th grade when I first discovered them, and forming my first band when I heard the 17 minute anthem make its way on to my stereo (in fact the first song we learned was In A Gadda Da Vida).
    I wonder if Eric or the rest of the guys in IB have any idea what effect they had on other musicians? The guitarist in my band at the time was Monty Byrom, who went on to form some great national recording acts including Billy Satellite and Big House (and went on to write and produce with Eddie Money)… but it was Iron Butterfly’s influence that shaped how Monty and I played music back then. To this day, my now rusty bass licks are because of the ones I copied off of IB’s albums, especially “Ball”. But Eric always seemed to be under the radar after he left the band. I produced a show some years ago that included Mike Panera, but he couldn’t share any information with me as to what happened to Eric. I’m glad but saddened at the same time to finally know.
    What was more interesting was to read that they used Moserite Guitars! I grew up in the town that manufactured Moserites, and every once in a while I’d pop in to see Gene Moles at his shop who helped build those guitars in the beginning. If I had only known then what I know now!
    Does anyone know if Eric ever released a solo project?
    In the meantime, I’ll say a prayer for him, and raise a glass in his honor.

  30. Bob Pike

    I knew Erik for a short time. It was an intense time. I was iIntroduced to the band by then road manager, Duneya West (Lonely Boy), in 1967 I was honored and impressed to be back stage with the band during the Hollywood Bowl and Pasadena Rose Place gigs. I have some special pictures of Lee, Doug, Ron, Erik, and Duneya from those gigs laying around the house somewhere. After Erik left the Butterfly I worked with him as he filled in a couple of times with a group I was managing called the Young Stuff!
    In 1971 I dropped out of the music scene and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. After my discharge, I spent over twenty-five years in aerospace including over a decade at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California working on Deep Space Plantary Missions. I never saw Erik, Lee, Ron, Doug, or Duneya again.
    I was so sorry to hear of his passing. For the short time I knew him we had fun hanging out together.
    Oh, one other thing. Erik and I shared the same birthday. August 11, 1950.
    Rest in Peace!
    Bob Pike

  31. Tom Chambers

    I am just now finding out about Erik’s passing, and like everyone here, i am saddened. He was a big influence on me and my band, and we covered his work. Being 2 years younger, I looked up to him, in 1968 and 69, and bought all the albums, and a Mosrite. His tone was remarkable, and hard to copy. I think his masterpiece was one he also wrote, Belda Beast, from the Ball album. It’s a truly unique song, one I refer to as Psychedelic Jazz Rock. I’m sure it influenced the progressive rock to come. Like Glen Buxton whose tone style he shared, and Sonic Smith whose axe was the same, he passed away far too soon. Rest in Peace, Erik Brann.

  32. Jim Murray

    Whilst it’s fair to say that Doug Ingle was the mainstay, Erik was THE POWERHOUSE………
    An unassuming looking dude, he was certainly endowed with mega compensation in terms of innate musical prowess.
    No one could have LEARNT to play like that…
    Rest in peace, Erik; your short term legacy still amazes many….

  33. Sal Rodriguez

    Erick was not also a great guitar player but a great friend who believed in me to play on his solo projects till his departure. a 25 year friendship was too soon.Gale you are great friend as well and you were always there for Eric from day one God bless you. Hope all is well with you.
    Eric I miss you my dear brother.
    Say hi to my mother (Maria Salas Rodriguez)who just pass on two weeks ago.
    Sal Rodriguez drummer for the group WAR

  34. Harold Hogarth Ofallon MO

    On a trip from California driving to missouri , I played Inagodd… to an aspiring musician next door neighbor of mine. As i listened to the song I was pointing out the dynamics of the song as well as the guitar work. To this date I believe there has never been anything like it . this young man at the time was far ahead of his time.

  35. Bob Panger

    Just discovered that Erik passed away. My brother and I saw Iron Butterfly live in concert twice. We loved them and listened to their music for years. My brother has since passed away also from heart problems. My times with my brother talking about Erik and the group are some of my fondest moments of my youth which I will never forget. Thank you Erik for the memories and for what you have done for me.

  36. Mike In Connecticut

    I recall the day Erik died, it bummed me out and I have not been the same since… The band lives on and I believe many here would be interested. Ron and Lee are still present though Lee has some health problems of his own. Band info can be found at http://www.ironbutterfly.com/ of course. Go to http://www.ironbutterfly.com/board/ to talk to some great fans and perhaps post your thoughts and feelings. I’m sure many of you who have posted here could bring some pleasant thoughts and memories to Ron, Lee and everyone that passes your posts there as well. Erik, you will be for ever missed. Possibilities rendered impossible…

  37. Bob Baker

    I just recently heard of Eriks passing as I was exchanging emails with a friend of mine back east. I Had just seen Iron Butterfly in Tacoma Wa. I was wondering what had happened to Erik and Doug. Still don’t know what happened to Doug, but am saddened to learn about Erik.
    I was a budding drummer in the days of In-a godd da vida. Went to a concert in Seattle. I ran into Ron Bushy in of all places. The bathroom. I spoke with him for a few and he invited me and my two buddies to join them after the show. I was Psyced! Erik put so much effort into his performance that he passed out behind the stage right after the show. It took a few minuetes for himto come around. He was Ok. We hung out for about an hour or so. All the guys in the band where great. Especialy Ron and Erik. A memory I will carry to my grave. Thanx Erik!

  38. Steve Mech

    I can still remember the Christmas in 1968 when I received the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida LP as a gift. I could not get enough of this album, as the title track was simply mesmerizing, especially Erik’s guitar excursions. To this day, when I need to break away from the daily grinds of life, there is nothing like listening to Belda-Beast, written by Erik and featured on the Ball LP/CD. There is no better song to take you to some other plane of life. Erik, you will be missed. Peace brother.

  39. Jim Lekas

    I posted my sadness last year on this site, and later read a blog by “Diane,” whom I’m sure is the same Diane who lived on Bessemer in Reseda across from Butch Sennneville.
    We all knew Eric as Rick Davis when he played with Russ Deck and Gary in their first band, a trio. Russ is still around, and we reminisce about my driving the three at-the-time 15-year olds to their small gigs. They were too young to drive.
    Rick was quite the neat and special kid, and though I was seven years older with much more working experience, young Rick astounded me with his creativity. What a talent.
    Anyway, should Diane be reading this, please contact me!
    We both knew and loved Rick, a classy young kid at the time in 1965 through 1968 before he decided to go down to the strip one night to meet Doug Ingle because Danny was leaving the Butterfly.
    As previously mentioned, Rick was too young to get into the club that night, but somehow he did get in and convinced Ingle to give him a shot.
    It will always amaze me that our young friend took it upon himself to try to meet Ingle, and he did, and the rest was history…20 million copies worth! In The Garden Of Eden…(slurred).
    He had a wild ride in the late 60s, and came back to our Reseda neighborhood one 1968 day to tell us tales of unimagined dreams for a young and successful rock star. Rick had made it!
    Jim Lekas
    Quatrain 1965-1970
    Huntington Beach, California

  40. damian roy charles

    i am 27 going on 28 i grew up knowing of music past and present i love all those great groups and musc from that era and thought i knew it all until one day in 1998 a friend brought over his uncles lp copy of inagadda i was hooked mostly because of eric my dad was teaching me the guitar around this time so because of his age at the time i felt conected to eric i live in stlucia just knowing of his death i am almost in tears i admire and envy this youth i wish i could of meet him i since kowing of him model my photos after his with the butterfly i look at his pictures then and i think he embody’s youth i think the surviving members should organise a television tribute his timing in the band is worth it and for his fans green and golden i love you eric.

  41. Jim Cooper

    I also will miss Erik and his amazing guitar work. ‘Vida’ was the first record I every bought at 13yrs old and I listened to it with my (very hip) Grand-mother on her Hi-Fi. I used to read ‘tiger beat’ just to find out more about him. Try listening to Vida, relaxed in a dark room and you’ll truely understand what Great poet Erik was. He made his guitar sing !!!! RIP

  42. David Allison

    In the summer of 1968, I saw Iron Butterfly perform live at a small club in St. Charles, IL called the Jaguar. The band mingled with the crowd before the show. They were very cool and nonchalant. Doug Ingle stood next to me. I saw Lee Dorman walking on the sidewalk. As Iron Butterfly took the stage and played In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida the atmosphere became truely electric. Eric Brann’s guitar solos were heavenly psychedelic! I extend my sympathy to his family and friends.

  43. hugo

    i’m hugo, from mexico, my english is not good as i wish, but butterfly is not an own of united states, i can say that this band was one of my favorites, and of course, erik’s guitar was amazing, he passes, and the rock world will miss him, but not heaven, he’s playing there.

  44. Jon

    I saw Iron Butterfly at the Filmore East Spring ’68…the opening band playing their first ever U.S. gig was none other than Led Zepellin…that In-a-gadda-da-vida
    stood up to Page Plant Bonham et al is a tribute to psychedelic rock…oh yeah the first act was Porter’s Popular Preachers, and the Joshua Lightshow rocked.

  45. Johnny Mack Souder

    Wow… the world has lost a great guitarist. I was a young man, about 18 years old in 1969, with a local Band of my own in the little town of Morehead, Kentucky. Iron Butterfly came to play at our College and I was on the front row with my other band members. I was glued to Eric’s guitar work. As a lead player myself, I was trying to determine how he got that growl sound from his THREE Vox Super Beatle amps. I never did master that sound but my Band did every song on the Vida album except two songs… I can still play some of them today!
    The end of their show was so cool… it ended with a wall of flames in front of the stage and the guitars where propped up against the amps and feeding back…. when the flames died down… the stage was empty… what a show… I can remember it almost like it was yesterday. Iron Butterfly was a big influence on my playing and still is today… God’s Speed Erik Brann!!

  46. Nico Elders

    I’ve the original L.p. from Iron Buterfly . I bought it in 1969 , Eric was a great player . Now I have the c.d from In a gadda da Vida . I bought it in 1998. The music is so great. I’ll miss you Eric.
    I hope we shall seen us in a next life. I love youre stile of playing your guitar

  47. dominic smith

    Hello guys…
    Just listening to the Iron….and remembered my old times droping acid in the 60’s in Sao Paulo -Brazil, great time and the Iron was part of that, sad to hear that Erik is no longer with us..but hey he left something very special behind, great.

  48. Paul Dragoo

    Hello all,
    At 13 years old, the first song I ever learned on bass guitar was In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Never have I ever heard anyone play guitar as sweetly as Erik Braunn. No one even comes close to his unique style and talent. Wanting to fill the void of hearing more of his guitar work and seeing him play, I’ve pondered his whereabouts for decades, searching everywhere in vain for clues, but always coming up empty handed. He was such an extraordinary creature in both looks and talent, it saddens me to no end to learn of his demise. Can any of you connect me with other material he’s recorded? is there a website? Thank you all for sharing your experiences with Erik/Rick, and thanks for this site. Peace and happiness to you all.

  49. Neil Nance

    The late 1960’s spanned a host “Bands” that pressed forward to break all barriers down and bring rock through the evolutionary stages necessary for the formulations of the music that we hear today, although it is my opinion that each generation requires a sense of direction, a map, if you will, where pioneers blaze trails to find “The New Country”
    Iron Butterfly was a pinnacle turning point within this specific generation of redefining music’s directional compass.
    Erik Braunn was “The Guitarist” that most identify with in terms of sound, technique and prowess that gave ‘The Butterfly” such a distinctive edge, although I cannot dismiss the prowess of Dorman, Bushy and Ingle, who brought this wonderful, exciting, fresh, musical kaleidascope within the reach of all of us.
    “Iron Butterfly” was everything that most bands of the “era” aspired to be: inventive, tight, perceptive and consumate professionals, whose ideas help span a generation of innovation within the music industry.
    As a recording professional, I still listen to the musical integrity that Erik brought to the table, as a missing link that could be replaced, but never duplicated, as he was a prodigy of talent, understanding discipline within chaos and equating his talents within a specific genre’ of his peers.
    I shall miss him sorely and the world has lost an artist, who cannot be replaced, as through this life we often lose “The Ones” who bring us pleasure that we come to appreciate for a lifetime! God go with you Erik! Amen

  50. Noble Gas

    Some of our old friends were hanging out the other night listening to Ultimate Spinach, The Aerovons, Lothar and The Hand People, Meat Beat Manifesto (yes, current..we still like psych music), and of course Iron Butterfly. I mentioned that Erik had passed away, and the reaction was profound. Erik was incredibly respected, and along with Hendrix, Randy California, Robby Krieger, and David Gilmour, the most “Spacey” of all of the 60s guitarists. Being a Soundscape Designer was as important as being a good musician, and Erik had them both.
    I saw Butterfly at the Fillmore East in January 1969, with Led Zeppelin opening. The crowd, New York, always had this competition with the California sound. Velvet Underground (Ugh!! Sorry, over-rated), Blues Project (Liked them), Dylan (Incredible poet-mediocre musician), and some others constituted the East Coast sound. No one was a Soundscape Designer, and frankly the drugs of choice that centered around many of the bands were booze and heroin, and NOT psychedelics. Thus the Fillmore crowd did not like Iron Butterfly, and raved over this new Zeppelin band. Mind you, Zep was great, but Butterfly still blew them away.
    I have to say Erik Brann influenced my Keyboard playing to this day, and I thank him for that.

  51. Rachel LaMar

    Erik was my father, although I was adopted at birth and only really got to know about him after his death (I was born when he was 17 and just starting to tour with Iron Butterfly). I am saddened that I did not choose to get to know him when he tried to find me about 15 years ago (I was not ready). I went to the memorial service and have become friends with his wife, Gail. We are trying to get his most recently recorded music produced into an album. If ANYONE knows who to contact so they could help us, please let me know. We have tried several people in the music industry but to no avail.
    Also, anyone related to Erik: please contact me. We are related and I would love to learn more about him. I have old photos and memorabilia to share too! If anyone ever heard the song “Gitta,” Erik wrote that about me. I have the music but I would LOVE to hear a live recording (Erik plays guitar and sings) if there is someone out there who may have one, as Gail can’t find hers.
    Rest in peace Erik…although I never knew you when you were with us you are a part of me and will live on in my heart. You inspired so many people and had such great talent. I owe you so much and I love you.
    Rachel LaMar

  52. Gail Braunn

    Wow. I’m blown away by the tributes I’ve read today. I’m Gail, Erik’s widow. This is the first time since his death in 2003 I’ve been to any website. Too emotional. As I read each contribution, I kept thinking, “He would have loved this.” I hope he’s up there catching it. All he ever wanted was for people to hear and appreciate his music.
    To Skip Bresler – I remember sitting with you at Grazzari’s in 198… Thank you again for the company and the drinks. Do I owe you anything? I thought they were keeping a tab for the band.
    If you read Rachel’s message, you know we’re trying to get more of his unheard music out there. Most of the tributes are about his guitar playing, which was incredible. But his love was writing. In the 21 years we were together, he wrote and played every day. He could write a song at the drop of a hat. I recall one agent in the 80’s telling him to write something more commercial. It pissed him off. He grabbed a card from the restaraunt table that asked people to clean their table in 3 languages. The song he presented the very next day was ” Limpi La Mesa,” a snappy latin number about a waitress. Still one of my irreverent favorites. The agent was not amused. Huh. Some people have no sense of humor.
    I have many tapes of his efforts, some rough and some finished, from 2″ master reel to reel, to CD. I’m slowly but surely listening to them again (a box of triple-soft kleenex at my side). Rachel has talked to me about setting up a website with some of his songs, as well as the possibility of a CD. Any help or contacts would be appreciated.
    Thank you all for your thoughts and kind words. He was my baby, he was my love.
    Gail Braunn

    • Stuart

      Dear Gail,
      It’s been several years since a few brief emails between us, hope all is well with you.
      Yesterday I read this : http://ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit

      Shortly after I had the remnants of a song going round my head 🙂 it was a variation of one of Erik’s songs on “Scorching Beauty” — People of the World.
      But in my head i was hearing Childen, Children of the World…..
      These kids are inheriting the world we pass on to them, polluted, poisoned, overpopulated, seas being
      decimated, melting ice caps , wildlife being pushed to extinction through less and less natural habitat, …

      Then an idea came… Could they use an anthem to bring them all together , take the cause to the next level, and spread it world wide…..
      Wonder if you know anyone who could sing similar to Erik ,rewrite / reword “people of the world”, as required, and release it for these children of the next generation – who will face immense problems, reversing the
      damage to this, our only habitat, this is the only home we have! There is no known other anywhere!

      It would also be a legacy to Erik, brilliant singer and guitarist as he was, imagine one of his songs, from – what was it… 1975.? Scorching Beauty was released…. I should go check the LP… Check the release date.
      . Idea and best wishes best regards to you, and…. I forgot your daughters name, … My regards to you both. Cool if this idea takes flight

  53. Carol

    February 17,2007 – I discovered “Youtube” just only 2 weeks ago. One of the first things I had to do was to see any clip of Iron Butterfly. When I watched one of the clips, the camera seemed to show a lot of the other members. I kept thinking “Show Erik” he was that cute 17 year old. I remember thinking that was so cool to be that young in a national band. When I was a teen, my brother and I always listened to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on his 8 track in his Volkswagen Beetle while he was taking me somewhere. It was a blast! But getting back to the clip on Youtube, when you finally saw Erik, he was this doe eyed beautiful young man. So handsome and what would be thought of as so attractive to a teenage girl. He had shiny straight hair that bounced as he played. I loved watching the clip. Then when I googled him, I found out that he had died in 2003. My heart sank. I don’t remember hearing that. What a shame to die so young! It would be great if he could be recognized posthumously. I don’t like the Grammies etc., so I probably wouldn’t know it if any committees would give Gail something in honor of him. May he rest in peace. I hope too for his daughter that she will find her biological family. I hope that some of his music can be published.

  54. José Vallés

    Excusas por mi desconocimento del inglés. El año 1969 fué crucial para mi grupo de adolescentes de 14 años de Melilla (una ciudad de 70.000 habitantes, española pero situada en Marruecos). El hombre llegó a la Luna, Carolina de Mónaco era la novia de todos y había aparecido una canción que duraba 17 minutos: “In a gadda da vida”. Me regalaron en Navidades la versión corta que desgasté de tanto oirla. En los 80 me hice con otro vinilo de L.P. que guardo como una reliquia. Esta mañana lo he vuelto a oir y se me ocurrió saber más de aquellos magníficos músicos. Me he llevado una triste sorpresa al enterarme que Erik Brann falleció hace unos años. Me alegro saber que Lee Dorman y Ron Bushy todavía mantienen el grupo y que están de gira. Pero ¿que paso con Doug Ingle?

  55. Jeff

    Though I listened intensely to Erik while he was with the Iron Butterfly, it was not until several years post In A Gadda da Vida that former Butterfly road manager Duneya “Lou” West introduced myself and the band I was playing with (Patch) to Erik. Erik was trying to get himself restarted as a solo artist and needed a backup band. He was living in Encino, CA, up in the hills, in a house he bought from Neil Diamond. We played local L.A. clubs and some high end parites in Pasadena with Erik. It was a great time with a truly down to earth guy. I remeber the Jag being Brown as we tooled around town. I am a physician now and remember Erik as a true gentelman. Duneya, Looch, and Patch members, look me up in Encino. Jeff S.

  56. Skip Bresler

    Hello, Gail! This is Skip Bresler, the college kid back in ’83(?) who bought you and Eric a few rounds at Gazzari’s. I was SHOCKED to see your
    posting at this site. Thank you for the acknowledgement! And thank you for remembering! That was a GREAT evening, and I’ll never forget it. Thank you for being a part of it. Gail, I’m so sorry about the loss you’ve endured. Your husband touched many people’s lives and he’ll forever have his place in Rock ‘n’ Roll history. As for the bar tab, that was some of the most memorable money I’ve ever spent! So of course you don’t owe me anything! I’ve been paid back many times over from the great memories of that wonderful evening. Best wishes, Gail!

  57. Barry

    There are many elements of Erik’s guitar style and sound which to this day have never been duplicated. My favorite is the one where he plays two strings at once, bends one string up to match the pitch of the other, then releases the bend just enough to make the “bent” note just slightly out of tune with the unbent string, creating this incredibly haunting, warbling “beat frequency”. Erik does this at several points in the “Vida” solo, and as easy as it is to do, I haven’t heard it on any records since.

  58. kevin

    I was almost twelve and playing drums in a neighborhood band in Florida (that would be 1969).
    A friend of the kbd player told me about the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album and the drum solo- so I bought it… My very, VERY first album.
    We used to all sit around and listen to it and try to figure it out … to no avail…. for HOURS.
    It’s very sad to hear when a very integral part of your past passes away-

  59. Greg Fake

    I first heard IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA in ’68 at age 14 thanks to my brother.Just the short version. Probably a year or so later when I heard the Album version, it was instantly my own “Life Anthem”. My last request is to have it play at my funeral. I think I can honestly say that I have probably listened to Iron Butterfly more than anyone else on the face of the earth, especially IGDV. It is my song for all times, be they up, down or whatever. It is the FIRST thing I do when I recieve bad news and need help to cope,………I put on my song. Saw them in Phoenix in late ’81-Not original-then in about ’87 close to Baltimore, and in ’88 or ’89 At a little club called the Metron in Harrisburg, PA and they actually took me back into their dressing room and signed my old “Live” Album cover. I will remember that night as long as I live!!!!!!!! I have NEVER been without a copy of IGDV in all these years. Even when I got shipped overseas I always had my little “pink” IGDV cassette in the little black slideout case with me. Didn’t matter wether or not I remembered to pack anything else……As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go put on my song right now. I’m feeling nostalgic after all this……..time to meditate for 17 minutes and 5 seconds and flip that little switch that turns off the rest of the world.

  60. Greg Fake

    I forgot to add at the end of my other post that I can still visualize Erik on stage in Harrisburg. He played some of his “own” material and it was awesome. My buddy John remarked later on Erik’s solo stuff and we talked about how someday we would like to hear more. God bless you Erik, you left too soon……………..

  61. matthew chisholm

    I was an extremley devoted fan and part of my daily routine was listening to the lp in a gadda da vida erik inspired me in my music and influenced my guitar tequniqe i had just reacently seen ‘in a gadda da vida’ on you tube and it just about made my heart drop out of my chest i did not think i’d ever find any footage of the band playing that song but it will linger in my mind for ever erik’s guitar work was an absoloute spin out and continues to spin me out everytime i listen to the IB albums, I am saddend to find out about erik’s passing and would be very intrested in any information about eriks life, career, photos and the music he had written so if anyone can help me please E-mail me at: matthewchisholm@hotmail.com

  62. Jeff Ganz

    People are just beginning to figure out how important Erik and Iron Butterfly was and is. Even though it was always fashionable for the “elitist” rock and roll musicians I knew in high school to ridicule them, the music still amazes and delights me to this day. I just revisited “Soul Experience”; “Ball” is a very overlooked and very underated recording. I feel proud that their body of work was an essential component to my own development as a musican.

  63. nielsen werlinger

    simplemente la mejor banda de rock sicodelico de la decada de los 60, soy de chile y le agradesco a erick por su aporte en el rock . me influencia mucho su forma de tocar guitarra. y espero saber o tener algo mas de ellos tengo todos sus discos desde el album heavy hasta el sun & steal y algunos videos por ahi . si alguien ve este mensaje y tiene algo de los iron butterfly. por favor haganmelo saber mi correo el nwerlinger@hotmail.com. Gracias por la musica Erick y descansa en paz. Bye Bye.

  64. Chris Bunselmeyer

    i thought that he was a great guitarist yes like on man said i got hooked with iron butterfly when i was about 6 or seven and the reason that i play guitar and do it so well is because of him i think we owe a great thanks to erik brann

  65. Patrick Renau

    April 4, 1970, I was 15, my first concert…Iron Butterfly with opening act “James Gang” with Joe Walsh. I will always remember Erik’s contribution to music history. My sorry goes out to his family and friends.

  66. Minky

    I was an ardent fan of the Butterfly back in the late 60s. I lived in Connecticut at the time and one summer they were appearing in Wallingford at a typical “summer shed” in the round.
    It was a great show. I brought my little Brownie camera in hopes of getting some good pictures but my friend and I were just too far from the stage.
    After the show we walked around outside waiting for my Dad to arrive and pick us up. While sitting on a stone wall, who should walk out from a side door but our heart’s desire himself, Erik.
    Here’s the best part. A fan had come to see him and she was unable to walk. Erik was carrying her in his arms. She was probably 13-14 years old so she had to have weighed 100+ pounds.
    I was so ecstatic to see him that I ran up with my camera. The photo of his startled face has been lost over the years but not my memory of his kind gesture.
    There are things that rock stars do for their fans but this generous act has stayed with me.
    Imagine that you feel “not so attractive” because you have a handicap. And yet, your hero picks you up in his arms and carries you to your car. It must have changed her forever and it says SO MUCH about him.
    That was 1969, its now 2007, and the experience is as clear as a bell in my mind.
    Although I had no luck getting some good shots that night, I am now a photographer.
    I am sorry he is gone.

  67. Steve Farrell

    I have been listening to Iron Butterfly’s Ball album thru the iPod with headphones. The more I listen closely to his guiar work and tones the more blown away I am. Of course there were many great guitarists born out of the 60s and 70s but this man was way under rated IMHO. The songs on Ball are incredible due in large part to his guitar work. I am so sad to hear of his passing. God Bless you Erik…Look forward to getting to see you play live somewhere…sometime..

  68. Lloyd Landman

    i met Rick twice i believe in Don Sennevilles house where the fourth shadow played. i was a friend of Bill Marcot and Bruce Epstein. i remember him coming in and saying he was trying out for the iron butterfly i remember Jim Lekas kind of rolling his eyes like right. well he made it big time i would say. Rick may god bless you and rest your soul though i didn’t know you well the impression you made i will never forget. what i nice guy you were. also Jim Lekas where ever you are at i must have said something you didn’t like as you never got back to me sorry if i offended you as it was never my intention godspeed to all Lloyd Landman

  69. Greg Matthews

    I first met Rick at Sequoia Jr. High in the 8th grade and as a result started playing the guitar. We both took lessons at Komer’s Reseda House of Music and started our first band “The Mod’s”. Gary Toft on Drums / Russ Deck Ryhthm. great memories, and the beginning of Rick’s career. We became the best of friends and shared many very close feelings and values. We rehearsed in my garage or at Gary’s for hours and began to play at the schools dances. Remembering the summner of 64 when we hiked to the top of a mountain while camping is as clear now as then. We lived the Beatle’s & Rick loved the London Fog in the A.M. in Reseda as we walked to school. Yes many great memories. I moved to Simi Valley in 65, and didn’t see Rick again until he purchased Neil Diamond’ house on Caratina Drive in Tarzana. After that life became a blur.I will always cherish the great times we all shared. May God bless You & Yours.

    • Denny Penrose

      Hi Greg..I’m Denny Penrose. I Lived in Reseda back when You and Rick And Gary Rehearsed in your Garage.We first lived on Vanowen St. I think you also lived on Vanowen.I remember your Brother Mark and i think a younger one also.I used to take Drum Lessons from Gary.I remember watching you Guys in your Garage.I still have one of your cards The Phog(spelling) .I always really liked Rick… God Bless Him

  70. Margaret Andrews

    Hello Rachel and Gail.
    First of all I send you my condolences. I found out today,July, 23,2007; and I am feeling a loss even though I was 6 years old when the album became popular. Music is a universal connection and if I remember correctly, I met Eric (or it could have been the bass player, Lee Dorman) when I was 6 years old in 1969 when ‘Vida’ first came out. Which leads me to the second reason why I am contacting you.
    My question is did Eric have a child with a woman who was related to a Hermoine Huff? If not would you happen to know who the band member was?
    Please bare with me as I briefly describe the scenario that led me to this question.
    My mother, Bonnie, had Hermoine (spell?) Huff baby sit me. Hermoine had, if I remember correctly, a daughter or sister who had a child by one of the band members. I met the band member who was sitting on the couch with her and their new born baby. I mentioned, at the time, that I liked the drums and he replied that he played the guitar and that the guitar is pretty cool too (or something to that effect). I am 44 years old now and hurting my brain to try and remember that far back. I do not recall his girlfriend’s name but she briefly let me hold her baby.
    Forgive me if my perception of this story is distorted after 38 years.
    I appreciate you taking time to read and answer this.
    I have good memories and have enjoyed listening to Iron Butterfly through out my lifetime.
    If you are not able to answer this question, I still feel honored to have made contact with you.
    Margaret Andrews

  71. Kevin Doyle

    I set up my old turntable this week after not listening to records for 18 years. I have six crates of LP’s and in 4 days I have already listened to the first six Iron Butterfly albums several times. I remembered almost every song just like no time had passed at all.
    When my sister left for college around 1970, she gave me her old stereo and a vinyl disc of Heavy (without the cover)and In A Gadda Da Vida when I was around 6-7 years old. I put the stereo in my bedroom closet along with sofa cushions on the floor and a psychedelic light box that had flashing colored lights inside of it. Lying in the dark closet with the flashing lights and listening to Heavy during early childhood is one of my favorite childhood memories (I had forgotten all about that for 35 years). I bought a used copy of Ball when I was a teenager and Heavy (with the cover).
    I have lost interest in most of my old records but I can appreciate Iron Butterfly’s arrangements, musicianship, sounds, and songs even more now than I did then.
    I listened closely to every song on Heavy and I am almost 100% sure that Erik and Lee Dorman played on most of the tracks on Heavy. I can hear Erik’s distinct style along with Danny Weis and Darryl Deloach on some tracks, them without him on some tracks, and Erik without them on other tracks apparently when they were going through the personnel transition. But how would I know that? I was only 2 years old when that album was recorded! Anyway, that motivated me to go online and learn more about Iron Butterfly. Since I found out about Erik’s death, I listen to those records over and over and cry.
    Although I play in many other styles of music as a professional keyboardist/vocalist, listening to the musical chemistry between Erik and the other musicians on those first three recordings expands my mind to what is possible to do with rock music. It’s too bad the psychedelic period of their career was so brief because those 3 albums are just bursting with creative, innovative musical arrangements, writing, and playing. As innovative as Iron Butterfly was, Erik’s song Belda Beast from Ball was truly a unique contribution. I have never heard a song like that anywhere else. I wish he could have written and recorded more songs like that during that period.
    I also have the very hard-to-find Scorching Beauty and Sun and Steel LP’s from 1975 when Erik Braunn, Ron Bushy, and Phil Kramer revived Iron Butterfly. Many people don’t even know these albums exist and that Erik was the driving force behind the band who sang and wrote most of those songs.

  72. Rich Nowak

    I first heard IGDV when I returned home from Viet Nam in Dec 68. What a great song and what fantastic guitar work by Eric. Bought my first copy of the album tehn next and listened to for 8 straight hours. I had a over a year left in the Army and took the album with me which I played every night and would wake up in the morning with it still playing. Years have gone by and I cut a CD with the original and the live version which I keep in my card and listen to about 5 times a week if not more. Just found out about Eric today and I am saddened that he is gone. God bless him for what he gave us, His music lives on. Truly he is the greatest in my heart.
    Rich Nowak

  73. Hollywood Joe

    Hello to all,I met the marvelous guitar playing Erik Braunn many years ago in New York City….he was an older guy to me….I can still see him getting that sunburst shaded Mosrite Mark 4 model guitar out of its brown rectangular case in the back stage room one night as they were going on stage……There he stood with his long sides and bangs of his sort of 1100 A.D. Prince Valiant hair-do which sort of hid his face a bit…….His sounds were as great as….dare I say it…ok I will….Jimi Hendrix….And I thought that Erik may have influenced Jimi….but it was actually Jimi that was the beginning of that whole Mosrite Fuzz-Rite pedal and Dallas Arbiter thing… And in fact as legend goes at one point in their relationship Jimi gave one of his fabled silver Mosrite Fuzz-rite pedals to Erik as a gift….It was all a dream….a dream that I am still in…..Hollywood Joe

  74. Slidin' Steve

    I just found out about Erik Braunn’s death this afternoon. It is such a sad loss. It is a sad and thought-provoking thing to learn how young he died, and a poignant reminder of how fleeting life is. I am sorry to learn that his song has left this world. It was a truly unique song.
    In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was the first album I ever owned. I saw Iron Butterfly in the fall of ’68 in Jacksonville, FL. I was a 13-year-old kid, and it was my first concert. I remember being blown away. I was an aspiring drummer back then, not to pick up the guitar for several more years. So of course I was there to hear the drum solo. But Erik’s virtuoso playing stuck with me long afterward. I was so surprised that here was this accomplished musician, only a few years older than I was, playing with this big-time rock band.
    I long since lost track of most of my early rock influences and what the early bands were up to, having gone to Christian rock as a young man (no regrets, as I sorely needed to be away from the influences around me at the time). But I occasionally will search on line when I remember this or that band or influential musician. As a guitarist now, I had often wondered whatever became of Erik, since he had such amazing talent, but he seemed to drop out of sight after IB. I never knew back then what he went on to do. I am glad to know he continued to play and write. I hope that you are able to get some body of work released. I pray the pain of losing him has passed enough that you are now able to take joy in listening to his works, and celebrate the amazing gifts God gave him.

  75. J Vincent

    Whoa! I just learned of Eric’s death. He was way too young. We were born the same year. Kind of hits a little close, so to speak. My condolences to his wife and family.
    I saw the band twice. Both times at the Baltimore Civic Center. Eric was with the band the first time. Best ‘hard rock’ concert I ever saw. The second time I saw the band, he had left, there were five guys where once there four and they weren’t as good. I did enjoy Spirit opening for them, though. Eric’s work on IGDV was nothing short of spectacular. To think he was only seventeen! That quartet was tight!

  76. Joyse Huber

    An amazing guitar player. I am listening to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as I write this. Everytime I listen to it I remember what a great song it is. Best wishes to his family.

  77. Lynn Newman

    In 1969, the Iron Butterfly played at a club in Philadelphia and Eric’s talents were showcased during their session. I sat there, stunned over his command of the instrument and his ability to mesmerize the audience with his unique, compelling sounds. He was extraordinarily gifted, and a marvel to watch. My sincere condolences to his family.

  78. Steve Newman

    I was the fourth member of the group that Erik (Rick)played in. We used to rehearse in Russ Deck’s garage. A classic valley garage band. I was the old guy. Rick, Russ and Gary were graduating Jr. High and I was starting college. We played gigs all over the valley and tried to sell songs Rick and Russ wrote. I played the bass. I always remember Rick as the most intensly dedicated to his instrument and you can tell that from watching him play with the Butterfly. I was sad when I heard of Rick’s passing. I hope the remembrances from people help ease the sadness of those close to him.

  79. Reno

    Tonight I plugged “Iron Butterfly” into YouTube on a laptop that is sitting next to my desktop machine. While the forever great IGDV was playing on that laptop, I started surfing via this desktop computer to see what happened to the band, and came upon this wonderful tribute, where I just now learned of Erik’s passing 4 years ago. It is very surreal — to my immediate right I am watching this brilliant 17 year old guitarist play one of the most influential solos in the history of 1960’s rock, and in front of me I am reading of his death 30+ years later. It seems unreal. He’s there, he’s not here. The gift of great musicians is to leave us pieces of themselves, pieces that we can hold when we need to touch their reality. We are very lucky — Erik Braunn left us much to hold.
    Like the posting above from J Vincent, I too was in the Baltimore Civic Center for both the IB concerts. The first concert I ever saw as a 19 year old in ’69 was the Iron Butterfly opening for Steppenwolf. It was an otherworldly experience. I say without exaggeration that when I left that concert I was not the same person as when I arrived. In Zen literature there are the stories of the master striking a younger monk between his eyes with his cane, and at that instance, the younger monk reaches awareness. That is what the Iron Butterfly did that night. If you can imagine a dark auditorium with maybe 10,000 people — many of whom pretty ripped — mesmerized by “In A Gadda Da Vidda”, with the band in black lights, the music rising to a crescendo, then after the drum solo when each band member enters one by one, two huge devices — one at each end of the stage — shoots real fire into the air at the very moment when Doug Ingle hits his organ chord. That instant was a cane to the forehead, and if I didn’t know better I’d have to think that the building levitated into another zone of existence.
    I don’t mean to disrespect Steppenwolf, as they did some fine music too, but really, I felt bad for them having to follow the performance that Iron Butterfly gave. The crowd was in a frenzy for IB and at one point John Kay (lead singer for SW) literally had to say to the crowd “give us a chance”. At that moment, no one could have followed Iron Butterfly.
    And so, for anyone who wants to know why so many people are lamenting the loss of this fine musician, go to YouTube to query “Iron Butterfly” and remember that there was a time when dreams were still real. I wish I could have known Erik Braunn — he and I were born 2 weeks apart on opposite sides of the country — but we’ll always have his music, and really, what could be better than that.

  80. Len Fagan

    I played drums with Erik in 1970, along with 2 other members from the Butterfly’s first album (without Eric on it); Darryl DeLoach and Jerry Penrod. Spent a lot of time rehearsing with the band up at Eric’s newly purchased home in the Encino Hills. Also have good memories of playing quite a few shows with Eric. It was he whyo named the band FLINTWHISTLE. I was also with him at a niteclub in the Valley when he met his first wife (cant remember her name), who was rathy tiny and very cute. She actually looked a lot like him! Same haircut, too. The year he died, I was a booker at a club on Ventura Blvd in Studio City, and I guess Eric saw my name in the ad in the local paper, and he surprised me one nite with a visit. He looked very much the same as he did in
    the old days. We listened to the bands together, and during breaks, we talked about the good old days. It was there that Eric told me about his illness, and said that every nite when he goes to sleep, he doesn’t know if he’ll be alive the next morning. Unfortunately, I thought that he probabkly wasn’t THAT ill, since he was at a niteclub that nite. He came back to visit several more times, until I learned of his death.
    I have same great pictures of FLINTWHISTLE (with Eric) playing live shows, and some nice ones of us
    up in the Angeles forest, each with our rifles, target shooting. He was a true music lover and in particular, was always writing songs. Ahhh, the
    enthusiasm of youth! We thought we could do anything. If any of his family wish to get in touch with me to relive past memories, you can message me at: myspace.com/faganlen
    May Erics contributions to music live on. My best to his loved ones. LEN FAGAN

  81. Jo Anne Kurman Montana

    After reading these wonderful tributes I felt compelled to write one of my own. I sang back up vocals for Iron Butterfly in the 20 Years Later concert in 1989 at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The concert was 20 years after Woodstock. IB very unfortunately never made it to that infamous Woodstock stage in the 60’s as Erik told me the helicopter scheduled to pick up the band never made it to the helicopter pad where they were waiting.
    It was so thrilling to sing InnaGadaDaVida with the band. Being inside of that song was like being inside a Van Gogh painting. It was only then that I realized the song was like a classical piece with movements in it. It was a truly divine experience. Erik told me that the song title was originally In the Garden of Eden, but mispronounced and they let it be. Also fascinating, he said the song was written about the beginning of mankind with Adam and Eve and then introduced the animals. He described that in his solo he tried to create the sound of elephants blaring. What genious.
    I had never played in a rock and roll concert let alone played with Marshall speakers stacked up two stories high on each side of the stage playing for thousands of people. After the first song, I thought I was going to faint I was so amped up. But then I saw the back of Erik standing in front so calm and collected and I got it. Just relax and enjoy the ride, he seemed to say with his eyes closed totally lost in his music. And what it ride it was. Thank you Erik. You left this world a more beautiful place. ~ JoAnneKurman.com

  82. Brenda

    Dearest Gail and Rachel,
    I sat last night holding a rather large batch of letters that Erik had written to me over the years. You see……..sadly, I just found out last night of his passing. I had talked with him not long before his passing, and that was the last time we communicated. As my heart ached,and the tears flowed last night, I clutched my letters and albums and very personal tapes that Erik sent me through the years. I have several rough cut tapes……….new songs, just Erik and his guitar, that he sent me with the utmost confidence that I would keep them private. I did, and have all these years. Through the hours of tears, I read his letters, and how he would talk about you Rachel. We have known each other since the late 70’s, and always kept in touch. I lived in Florida, and moved to Tennessee in 1995. Gail, you and I have talked on the phone, but you probably don’t remember me. Last night was one of the hardest nights of my life to get through. I am so sorry that I let time pass without keeping in touch with you.I regretfully learned a very hard lesson last night…….don’t let life fly by, and always keep those you love close to you. I loved Erik with all my heart……..he taught me so much about myself and my life. My 19 1/2 year old son loves his music. There are no words to express my sadness, and emptiness that I feel. I would very much like to talk with you, Gail and Rachel. I have alot of letters and written lyrics and several tapes that you may want to hear about. Erik was one of the greatest loves of my life, and the best friend anyone could ask for. I would like to say, I feel your pain, and would like to start healing with communication from the two of you. I know Erik is at peace, and he was so loved in this world. I can’t wait till the day I see him again ! Peace and blessings to you both.
    Brenda….contact me at brenz@comcast.net

  83. Brenda

    Dear Gail,
    I neglected to tell you that my phone number has changed…….I only have a cell phone now. You may have it. Email me and I will give it to you. Peace,

  84. Barbara Pitsenberger

    Today I was feeling down and decided to look up my “first love” Rick Davis. Just to see if he was happy and well. I was shocked to read that he had died. You always remember your first crush and I can still see him sitting in class when we both were in the 10th grade. He was involved with a band that went by the name of “The Phogg”. I am surprised no one has mentioned it. I went with him to UCLA Frat parties where he played and the strip at Pandoras Box. After he left school the next time I saw him was in the parking lot of Ralphs Grocery where the Butterfly was signing autographs from a van. He pulled me in the van when I sent up a picture of him from high school.That week I attended a Butterfly Concert and was totally blown away. He also gave me lessons on the guitar when we were in school. I have never forgotten him or his talent. It sounds like he found a wonderful wife to spend his life with and am so happy to hear that he had been married for over 20 years. My thoughts are with his family. I too got to ride in the red jag that he told me he paid cash for and I don’t mean a check. To this day I dream of owning a 68 xke candy apple red jag with cream leather interior. A wonderful part of my childhood is gone and I will miss him greatly for every now and then I wondered where he was and if he was happy.

  85. john mudgett

    Erik was a truly amazing guitarist. I remember
    at 9 years old listening to the album on the
    record player I got for Christmas along with
    Fresh Cream and Hendrix are you Experienced.
    His sound effects and phrasing were incredible.
    He totally changed this Ohio boys ear for music.

  86. ken mcbride

    amazing guitarist he was and butterflies are free..i saw a reunion of the dudes at some cow-palace in phoenix in ’97 i don’t think eric was there with the crowd being sparse in all..once you tuned-in it’s cool to drop-out&lay-back&lay-low,especially when you cash-in, although it could’ve been highly marketable, i know it wasn’t the butterfly way it pretty much morphed into ‘mothman prophecy’ the show did touch me that way..after all this is thee band that played ‘in the time of our lives’..what a haunting song, just great,..thank you very much eric

  87. mark ridgway

    The other night I was having a debate with my 13 year old son on the topic of classic rock music (1960’s) because he’s now playing a selection of Beatles and Zeppelin tunes in his guitar lessons. I mentioned one tune from my youth that I never forgot – ‘da Vida – and hadn’t heard for 30 years! A web search and some selections produced the classic piece for him. He was amazed.
    Yesterday, at my parents house, I dug out my original album from Iron Butterfly and showed it to him…. Erik, you reached across time to show another teenager what a great guitar can produce. And that a guy over 50 can be soooo cool to his son. So sad to learn of your passing after so many years…

  88. wes

    Eric will be here as long as we are, because forgetting that sound would be impossible. I’m a better player because of Eric, and that means everything to someone like me.Thanks for the music. We all miss you.

  89. Rick Trobridge

    Eric Braunn is the most outstanding player of the six strings I have ever heard. The Iron Butterfly is my muse. The death of such a hero to music lovers is the saddest moments we know. The song for which he will be most remembered is forever on my mind and on my skin in the artwork of a fine ink master. Though Eric is sadly gone we have his music. LONG LIVE…In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

  90. Rebecca

    I was barely 2 when Iron Butterfly got their start. I remember listening to my sister’s IB Live Album and thinking how weird it was at the time, but the more I listened (4 years old) the more addictive it became. I still enjoy their music to this day. Only recently have I really paid attention the the contribution of Erik and the others. What talent he had. So unique. So ahead of his time. A biography of his life would be great. If someone reads this and if you have some connections, see if you can get someone to make a movie or something. RM

  91. Erik Brann

    I first encountered IGDV in my teens, and loved it.
    It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and I was spending time at my father-in-law’s house that I learned I shared a name with the virtuoso.
    My father-in-law had dug out his reel-to-reel player, and was playing IGDV when he showed me the box.
    There it was – Erik Brann, Lead Guitar.
    I felt a chill because that really is my name.
    I am no relation, since I was born in Maine in 1971.
    I was deeply saddened by his death.
    Thank you,
    Erik Brann

  92. Sarita Zambrana C.

    Debido a multiples dolencias dejé de trabajar y ahora estoy en casa y me dediqué a buscar este año la musica de mi época, pues ahora tengo 51 años, y encontré en you tube ese video tan bonito que yo bailaba con mis amiguitos cuando yo tenia 12 años (antes del terremoro de Managua en 1972) y pude conocer al fin a este grupo tan fenomenal y me llamó la atención el chico de la guitarra pues casualmente le encontré parecido con un adolescente colombiano que conozco y me dije: vaya que este chico es igualito al joven colombiano como dos gotas de agua y quise averiguar más sobre él y pude dar con su nombre: Eric Braunn, casualmente hoy, pero muy a mi pesar me entero que el ya murió hace casi cinco años… wow… ustedes no saben como me siento ahorita… tengo una tristeza profunda en mi alma… si.. me siento triste de saberlo…Eric nunca te conocí… pero en minutos despertaste amor en mi.. y ahora te pierdo… Besos a donde estés Eric y esperame alli pues padeci cancer y ando mal de nuevo.. esperame Eric… que yo me reuniré contigo… Te amo…..

  93. John V

    I was very sad to hear of Erik Brann’s passing IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA was my first album in 1973 at the age of 7 years old i had 2 older brothers who listened to Rock & Roll so i was brought up on Classic Rock i just loved that tune to this day i still play it and i still have that same LP i got when i was 7 but that one doesn’t sound as good anymore so i upgraded to a MFSL Gold CD and it is Awesome!!! Thank You Erik for the wonderful music.To his family: I’m very,very,sorry for your loss and to the rest of us we all lost a wonderful musician!!! “REST IN PEACE” ~ JV

  94. Jessica Davis

    Hi, everyone its me Jessica Davis… I just wanted to come back on here and say that I want to know Geoffrey Davis has told me alot about him through the years…. I have been thinking about this alot lately but I just need whoever it is permission to redo his songs in female verison
    please get back to me…
    My new email is:
    thank you so mush
    you will always be miss
    and we love you dearly
    your memories and music will live on as long we keep it going
    Jessica Cox Davis

  95. dan

    i feel bad for erik and iron butterfly. even in death they were an opening act! i remember hearing on the news that erik died when i woke up to my local news radio. within an hour his story had been replaced because bob hope also died the same day! rather ironic, i’d say.

  96. Tim Mungenast

    What a sad thing, not only for us fans but especially for those who knew and loved him (my heart goes out to you). I was 7 going on 8 when I first heard ‘Vida in 1968. It blew me away then and it still does. In spite of my 40-year Hendrix obsession, it quickly became obvious to me that Erik Braunn’s work with the Butterfly had its own unique vibe… it stood proudly on its own. The deliberately jagged vibrato, the equally jagged tone (just try to imitate it!), and the glorious neoclassical note choices will always keep me coming back. Belated condolences to his family and friends.

  97. Jim Thomas

    Hi everyone. I learned of Erik’s death awhile back, but only now saw this great site dedicated to him. It’s amazing that the tributes start in 2004 and are still going strong in 2008. I am 57 and was in high school during Iron Butterfly’s best years. I saw them in person four times and the best came at the Shrine in Los Angeles when they played with Credence Clearwater Revival and B.B. King. It was standing room only and I made it to the stage, where I remember being awestruck seeing Erik play his psychedelic riffs up close. He was a good actor, too, pretending to be stoned during Doug Engle’s church organ solo. What memories. I always sensed in his music that Erik was a sentimental, loving, good soul. I am sorry for the world’s loss. He was unique.

  98. garry

    I saw iron butterfly at the mississippi river festival at siu in either the summer of 70 or 71. I think it was 71. blues image i think opened for them. I was amazed at how good ib was in concert. does anyone here know if erik was the lead guitarist on that tour? for some reason it was my impression that he was especially as it would be amazing to me if someone could have imitated his style so perfectly. shocked to hear of his passing.

  99. Alfred

    Now at 55, and recently acquiring the vinyl In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida at a Goodwill store, I’ve listened intently to the famous tracks several times. And it’s a permanent part of my music library now. I was a conservative-minded 8th grader when it was released, and I never really LISTENED. I’m proud to have the vinyl…nearly mint condition. I digitized it to help make sure it lasts me through old age! I like Erik’s biographical sketch in the album’s liner notes. What a guy. “Heavy.”

  100. Rand Kelly

    I have loved Erik’s playing since I was first played In A Godda da Vida by my next door neighbor back in 1968,up north of most of you.
    The place was Eureka,Ca, I was born there and learned guitar there. I remember hearing these incredible sounds coming from the speakers and at times I thought I could almost make out words in the scraping of the pick on the strings. I wanted to play like this so bad,but I was just starting out on electric at that time and had to get a fuzz box yet.
    I fell in love with that and Ball,but I never really knew he wasn’t on Heavy…’cause I thought he played at least on Iron Butterfly Theme. That meldoy line is one of my all-time faves and I hear that as Erik,despite what everyone says…crazy huh?
    I guess this could be a reason they didn’t add it on the Live album maybe?
    Anyway, I was shocked when I heard he had passed away. I’m 56 now, so he was only 2 years older than me and that of course makes me appreciate how fragile life is and how we need to savor every breath the universe offers us.
    I only saw the band one time,and that was around 1994 in San Ramon,Ca where we got to meet Doug,Ron, Lee(I had him sign my Captain Beyond cd booklet-and he didn’t even have one or know it had been released in Japan.) and I did try and ask about Erik, but that subject sort of got lost and things had to keep moving in that meet and greet setting.
    I have been on an Iron Butterfly binge recently due to a thread at my favorite online music BB, http://www.progressiveears.com
    Erik Braunn is well spoken of there and many,many members just loved his playing. It would seem that Ball is the most talked about and Belda Beast and In The Time Of Our Lives have left an awesome impression.
    I just bought In-A Godda-Da Vida remaster tonight at FYE, here in Redding,Ca in fact.
    If I would have seen Ball I would have gotten that one too. As it is already on order, I am forced to wait for Amazon to ship it.
    I wish I could have seen the Braunn era band and thank God for You Tube.
    I think he influenced my playing mainly through his ability to break down barriers without worrying what the “straight folk” would think. I never really tried to copy his style. I decided long ago that his was a one-of-a-kind sound and I would be better as a listener than a copier. I am glad because when I hear what he was doing then in the present day,it moves my heart and soul beyond words.
    I love playing along with IAGDV,but more as an organist.
    Scorching Beauty/Sun And Steel(2-fer) are up next and I haven’t heard a note of either of those. To Gail, Hello, I did see that a member of my fave band of all time,YES,Jon Anderson wrote a song for Scorching Beauty, and I was wondering if you knew how that collaboration came about?
    I can’t wait much longer to finish my collection of IB.
    To all who knew him and loved him, I just read everything here and I am moved to tears.
    Thank you all for your words about one of my favorite guitarists of all time.
    Peace-Love-Understanding-to you all,
    Rand Kelly
    n.p.Termination in Dolby Pro Logic II on 6 speakers.Great song!

  101. howard white

    I remember the Butterfly back in the days of a small club in Northridge,called Goose Creek. I was employed there. I’m just finding out now, about the passing of my friend whom I lost track of after, so many years. I still listen to you in the latest of media,via Itunes. The sound is as clear and crisp today as it was back then. One thing ,I don’t understand is why Itunes doesn’t let us have the first album. Anyone knowing why, can reach me at Windbags@netzero.net

  102. Riley Wilson

    In 1975, I was 20 years old and performing with a band from North Carolina named the Men of Distinction. We did a couple weeks at Myrtle Beach, SC and Iron Butterfly performed two nights during our run after we played a set. This was upstairs at the Carousel Club. Eric and Ron Bushy were the only original members there. I spoke with Eric briefly before the show, who told me he bought his Les Paul Custom (probably a late-50’s model with three PAF humbuckers) from someone in Topanga Canyon. He used a Traynor tube amp head through a couple Marshall 412 cabinets and that splat from “In A Gadda” was a Mosrite fuzz tone pedal. Very distinctive sound- I had a friend years earlier in Michigan that owned one, too.
    Eric also had a Gibson SG Doubleneck, probably in black, that he used on one or two songs. I remember him cautioning one of his roadies to “be careful and don’t knock the tuners,” causing the guitar to go out of tune. The band played their songs, including a tune from a record called “Scorching Beauty,” with a tune the band had written with Jon Anderson of Yes, circa 1970.
    I recall being surprised the replacement keyboard player using a Hammond B-3 and a Leslie instead of a Vox Continental organ. The Voxes have an incredible bite you can’t achieve with anything else. The band played well and it was interesting watching Eric lose himself in his solos, with feedback, drones, etc. I also recall him getting upset just before the show that the band wasn’t allowed sufficient time to ring out the monitors. The members of our group weren’t impressed, since they weren’t fans of heavy rock. I thought Eric was a solid player with a creative approach.
    The unison bends technique was a mainstay in “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. Perhaps this is where Page got the idea for that one…

  103. d.hitchcock

    Erik Brann and Iron Butterfly hit me at the same point as Jimi and Steppenwolf and lots of other ’60s music. I was a bit too young to understand fully what it was about, being in sixth grade, but …
    I definitely understood that Iron Butterfly’s guitarist made shivers run up and down my spine — the howling, splintering feedback and unearthly effects blew my mind.
    At this time, I was learning drums and I faithfully coped every Ron Bushy lick off Inna-Gadda-da-Vida, Ball and their debut LP.
    I remember in seventh grade reading “The Dunwich Horror” while listening nonstop to “Ball.” Those two sources created a weird, scary, and oddly exhilarating atmosphere that I still crave.
    Now when I listen to the band, it immediately conjures up the gestalt of the late 60s, and it’s the power of Erik’s guitar, his Sound and his creativity, that really tie the music together for me.
    R.I.P. Erik.
    d.hitchcock, drummer

  104. Mossy

    Iron Butterfly was my first taste of psychedelic Mosrite guitar art. Bless Erik (Rick Davis) and his contributions to the band and to the genre of acid rock.

  105. Rick Wilkins

    I am very saddened to hear of Eric’s death. I grew up on Bessemer Street in the 60’s. I lived accross the street from Butch Senneville and down the street from Russ Deck (Erik Braunn’s first band). At the time, I knew Eric as (Rick Davis) and he went to Reseda High School. Butch Senneville and Rick Pease were mentors of Eric Braunn (Rick Davis),while eveyone was in garage bands. My next door neighbor, Phil Rush even sat in with Eric and Russ on the drums when they needed someone to practice with them. I read a post from Jim Lekas that he would like to contact Diane who lived accross the street from Don Senneville. Diane is my older sister. Erik and Russ,Butch and his band, and the rest of the teenagers would all shoot hoops at the Senniville house after the band practices and on the band breaks. Lots of great memories. I remember that at the time Eric’s girlfriend was a girl named Candy and they went to Sequoia Junior High and also Reseda High School. I also remember Eric coming by the old neighborhood in his brand new Jag. The old neighborhood was pretty impressed that one of the kids made it to the big time. He was a young prodigy and extremely talented individual. I even remember him without the long hair that he had in the photo with the Iron Butterfly. He will be missed but he gave the world some fantastic music and great memories that will live on forever. Eric you are in all of our hearts.
    Rick Wilkins
    Reno, Nevada 89509

  106. Connie Davis

    Hello, I’m Rick’s first cousin. His dad James Davis was my Dad Eugene’s older brother. Jim his dad has one sibling still alive, in Green Bay, WI, William. His dad was brilliant also. He was a fighter pilot in the second WW that flew P59’s and stayed in the service after the war as a test pilot. Then ended up working as head engineer for Howard Hughes. That’s how Rick ended up in LA. Jim traveled around the world for Howard Hughes setting up early computer systems for airports in asia and Italy etc. He also died young at 59 from a stroke as he had high blood pressure which runs in the family. If his daughter Rachel or his wife are interested in some of our family history I can to tell you more. He has lot’s of cousins. His great, great, grandfather faught with Sherman out of WI in the civil war. Our Davis ancestors were puritans that came from the same village that Jane Austens ancestors did in Horsmunden Kent. They came to the Boston area in 1634. Dad and Jim’s mother was Walloon or french speaking Belgian, the Vandevelds and Cravillions. We are also Irish and French Huganot. Rick’s mother was June Braunn whose name he took I believe after his Dad and Mom broke up. Though Rick and his Dad may not have gotten along that well I know they stayed in contact as I saw his Dad on a visit to California I made just before his Dad died and he spoke with affection for his son. I’m sorry I never really knew Rick except for a brief time when we were children and he was visiting Green Bay with his parents, but we have always been proud that he was related and followed his music when we could. Always heard that he played and recorded with Neil Diamond and played on some of his recordings. Is this true? Connie Davis conjd429@gmail.com



  108. Kit Slitor

    I remember first hearing In-A-Gada-Da-Vida when I was in 11th grade, Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, MD. I believe some girl brought in the album and was playing it during a holiday party in typing class. I was floored by the sound of Erik’s guitar solo and Ron Bushy’s drum solo and Doug Ingle’s amazing organ solo. Since this blog is dedicated to the memory of Erik I will give him top billing. God rest his soul. He was truly a creative genius. I’ll love his guitar-istry forever. I shall try and check out other tunes on which he played.

  109. Mike Tanigawa

    In mid-1969 my next door neighbor would play IAGDV all day long. I liked it at first but hearing it so many times (up to 25 times per day) was really starting to get on my nerves. On several occasions I politely asked her to turn it down. I think that neighbor is a piano teacher today.

    I thought IAGDV was sung by Eric Burdon or Arthur Lee (just like I thought Eric or Arthur Lee sung Arthur Brown’s “Fire”). A year or so later I started hanging out with some other kids who set me straight. Iron Butterfly and Sgt Pepper were my first excursions into progressive rock.

  110. Lyman

    Ran across this review of Erik’s Touch My Heart, Lift My Soul release at cdbaby.com


    Album Notes
    Erik’s first band, “The Paper Fortress”, was recorded by Lenny Waronker, then Staff A&R Producer for Warner Bros. Records. At the age of fourteen this was Braunn’s second recording. He had already logged over 300 hours of studio time in and around the Los Angeles area.

    Erik joined Iron Butterfly at the age of sixteen. He was the last of over forty guitarists to audition and was accepted on the spot. In his tenure with Iron Butterfly they created a language for the title song. Originally only a minute and fifty seconds long, it was stretched to seventeen minutes plus, greatly due to an African Mass, Missa Lubba, Braunn had been listening to, as well as the influence garnered during excursions to The Whiskey A-Go-Go, taking in the likes of “Cream” and “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. Due to the lack of enough original material for the album, the song was picked to cover set time by extending the tune. “In-A-Gadda-D-Vida” went on to become the only hit song to cover the entire side of an album.

    The sales of “Vida” were so unheard of that Ahmet Ertegun, President of Atlantic Records, created the coveted Platinum Award, Erik’s first album with the band. The album went on to be the biggest selling record in the history of Atlantic records, firmly planted in the Top Ten of the Billboard Magazines charts for over a year. The album, purported to sell over 20 million copies worldwide, went on to outsell the Beatles and Elvis – all this without a hit single. Erik’s guitar line for that song become one of the Top Three Greatest Rock N’ Roll guitar licks of all time sharing company with The Beatles “Day Tripper” and The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Billboard and Rolling Stone Magazines).
    “Vida” was in the Top Ten of the Charts (Billboard Magazine and Cashbox) when the second album Braunn recorded with Iron Butterfly, “Ball” was released. It leapfrogged “Vida” to the number one spot on the charts. Thus “Vida”(#3) and “Ball”(#1) were the only albums that made the Top Ten without a hit single, and made Iron Butterfly the only act to ever have two albums in the Top Five at the same time. Given the fact that this was done in the age of the vinyl album it is a feat unlikely to ever be duplicated.

    Accomplishing all of this by the age of nineteen should have been enough for any dreamer. However, this was the cherry on top of other accolades. Braunn studied on violin at the age of four with the Head Chairperson of The Boston Symphony. At six Braunn was accepted into the Prodigy program with the Symphony.

    In high school, Erik studied acting from the now renowned Robert Carelli and won several awards for Elizabethan Comedy, Shakespeare, and a First Place Award for his lead role in “Dino” at the USC Dramatic Acting Festival. This was followed by another first place in the Elizabethan Comedy “A Shoemakers Holiday” at UCLA.

    Starting on the guitar in 1963 Erik studied with local L.A. legends Milt Norman and Duke Miller. The later noted that every time he gave the precocious Braunn a lesson, Erik would come back with a song he had written around the lesson. Not one to interfere with a budding George Gershwin, Miller encouraged the habit.

    Erik went on to study with Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Jimmy Wyble, and Ted Green. Always reaching for new heights, Braunn sought out Dr. John Schneider for additional technical training on Classical Guitar, concluding twenty years of self-teaching wasn’t enough. All along the way he continued in the same fashion, using his studies to supplement his songwriting.

    While a member of Iron Butterfly, several top artists took the young Erik under their wing, so to speak. Mike Bloomfield showed up at many of the early gigs to give Erik moral support and encouragement. Freddie King had an ongoing pact with friend and roadie, Portland Jim, to always have a guitar handy when Braunn was in Freddie’s immediate arena. Jimi Hendrix hired Erik to play guitar on a session he produced that included Keith Emerson (just over from England), Harvey Brooks (bass player on many of Dylan’s recordings and Bloomfields ‘Electric Flag’) and Mitch Mitchell on drums (Hendrix’ long time cadre with ‘The Experience’). Sadly, these tapes have apparently disappeared. Hendrix commented after a jam at New York’s, The Scene, run by Steve Paul that Braunn would someday grow to be one of the finest guitarists in music. Erik’s opinion was that one day there would be an over-abundance of fine guitarist, and what he really wanted to do was be one of music’s best songwriters.

    Since the 1960’s Erik survived three Iron Butterfly restorations. Erik reformed the band for Atlantic Record 40th Anniversary at Madison Square Garden in 1988, and acting as manager, spoke with Phil Carson, manager of the band “Yes”, VP of Atlantic Europe. They discussed getting “The Butterfly” a recording contract and opening a world tour for “Yes”. It was a return favor as “Yes” had opened at one time for “Iron Butterfly”. Carson came back with a seven-figure deal, a tour, and proposed management of the band. This was not to be. That was the last time all of the original members were together.

    Erik did not waste his time crying about lost opportunities, however, but amassed a catalogue of at least three hundred songs and recorded several albums – unreleased until now.

    In 2000 Erik was stricken with a debilitating physical ailment. Despite his illness Erik continued to record and planned a promotional tour. It was not to be. His health deteriorated and he died on July 25th 2003 of cardiac arrest.

    Erik quotes, “Our most glorious experiences are a kind of regret. Our regret is so sublime that we mistake it for triumph. It is the painful, plaintively sad surprise of our genius remembering our past and contemplating what is possible”

    • Connie Davis

      Thanks for the info on Erick or as I knew him Rick Davis my cousin. When I visited his Dad, Jim Davis my dad’s. brother in the early 1980s he told me that Rick had made 30,000,000 but had lost it all. He had bought his mom Niel Diamonds house though an I had wondered if he had maybe played on some of Noel Diamonds albums. I wondered if he had also played with other musicians and worked as a studio musician. My uncle said he had lost most of his money through his manager implying he was screwed by him.

    • Connie Davis

      I recently visited Poland and heard of a Jimmy Hendricks festival where they would try to break a Guinness world record with 7000 guitarists playing Hey Joe at once. This was in early May. We met some young women on the train who were heading for the fest. They had never heard of Eric Braun and Inagadavida so we told them about him and the band and they checked him out on their iPhones.

  111. Paul Gower

    Erik Brann was an awesome guitar player and I first heard him on the Ball album and loved the guitar work. I still love to catch the video on the web.

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