Keith Knudsen was born in LeMars, Iowa on February 18, 1948. The first music that he became interested in was Elvis, Johnny Burnett and the Everly Brothers. He began drumming in the 8th grade and joined the marching band in Jr. High School. After that, Keith's musical progress led to his playing with groups doing instrumental Ventures-style music. Then in 1963 he discovered the Beatles and was changed forever!
"Some of my first appearences were at games, sock hops and teen clubs. I remember my first real paying gig at a country bar at age 14. During my last year of High School I played in Blues bands and really fell in love with the music of BB King, Otis Rush, Eric Clapton and Big Joe Williams."
Keith then decided upon a change of scenery - "In 1969 I moved to San Francisco and played in the house band of a club called the Matrix for about six months, and then performed with the Blind Joe Mendlebaum Blues Band." During this time he ran into his future band mates. "I actually met the Doobies in the studio while we were recording demos for Warner Brothers."
Keith joined up with the popular and talented Lee Michaels for a period of 2 1/2 years and did three albums with Lee. You should check these records out, as one of the things that made Lee unique was that his entire band consisted of himself and Keith.
Then "In 1973 I met the Doobie Brothers' manager, Bruce Cohn. He told me that the band was in need of a drummer and after a weeks' rehersal, I went on the road with the band."
Keith continued playing with the Doobies until the band's 1982 Farewell Tour. During the band's hiatus, Keith and fellow Doob John McFee formed the country rock group Southern Pacific, which went on to have numerous number one and top ten records. They released four albums for Warner Brothers, and a subsequent Greatest Hits has been released.
During this time, "In 1987, I helped organize a reunion benefiting the national vets foundation...", which was the event that led to the reforming of the Doobies. Keith rejoined the Doobie Brothers full time in 1993.
Besides playing with the Doobies, Keith was also working on a solo album and John McFee and Keith were recording and performing with Eikichi Yazawa.
On Tuesday 8 February, 2005 Keith Knudsen died of pneumonia. He was 56.
Knudsen, who lived in Sonoma County's wine country, had been hospitalized for more than a month. He died at Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital at about 12:30 p.m., according to the band's longtime manager Bruce Cohn.