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Bruce Hampton (1947 - 2017)

Getty / Steve Eichner

Bruce Hampton (1947 - 2017)

Bruce Hampton, a surrealist musician who co-founded the Atlanta-based Hampton Grease Band during the late 1960s, died Tuesday, May 2, 2017, after collapsing onstage Monday night during his own birthday concert. He was 70.

Multiple news sources confirmed that Hampton collapsed during the encore at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. The concert, titled "Hampton 70," included members of Widespread Panic, Phish, Leftover Salmon, and many others.

In a Facebook post, former bandmate Jeff Mosier, who had been at the concert, said Hampton died at Atlanta's Crawford Long Hospital.

"I feel so blessed to have been there tonight and be a part of the greatest gathering of friends and loved ones," Mosier wrote. "I've never seen Bruce happier. I've never been sadder. I've dreaded this day for years, but could have never imagined a more joyful departure. I feel so lost."


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Hampton was born Gustav Berglund III April 30, 1947, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In the late '60s, he co-founded the avant-garde Hampton Grease Band, which released the 1971 album "Music To Eat" on the Columbia Records label. Supposedly, the album was the second worst-selling album in Columbia's history, selling slightly better than a yoga album on the label.

Guitarist Hampton, who by that time had begun to call himself Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret., was known for playing a mini version of the instrument called the "chazoid."

Hampton went on to form several other bands including the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Codetalkers, the Quark Alliance, and the Fiji Mariners.

In addition to his music career, he provided the voice for a talking potted plant named Warren in a 1998 episode of the reboot version of the animated series "Space Ghost Coast to Coast."

He appeared in a 1996 film, too, his friend Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade," playing Morris, the songwriting band manager. Thornton also had attended Monday night's concert.

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