Little Feat co-founder and drummer Richie Hayward has passed away after contracting pneumonia as he battled liver cancer.
The drummer died on Thursday (August 12) at a hospital near Vancouver, Canada. He was 64. He was waiting for a liver transplant.
In the late 1960s, Richie Hayward played with original Little Feat frontman Lowell George in the band’s precursor The Factory.
George and Hayward co-founded Little Feat in 1969 along with Bill Payne and Roy Estrada. They established a distinctive style of improvisational southern rock that mixed elements of blues, rock boogie and funk. Little Feat went on hiatus in 1978 and officially parted ways a year later after George died of an accidental overdose.
Richie Hayward helped reform the band in 1987 and continued to play with the group until 2009 when health concerns prevented him touring.
Richie Hayward was also an accomplished sideman and played on recordings by such diverse artists as Eric Clapton, Warren Zevon, Travis Tritt, Robert Palmer, Tom Waits, Taj Mahal, Barbra Streisand, John Cale, Buddy Guy, Arlo Guthrie, Carly Simon, Bob Seger and many others.
Richie Hayward and Little Feat also collaborated with a new generation of jambands in the ’90s and ’00s, including Jimmy Herring, Bela Fleck, String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and Warren Haynes.
The band’s association with Phil Lesh & Friends and cover of Phish’s “Sample in a Jar” also brought an element of improvisation back into the group’s live sound. In addition, he played in the jamband all-star band Justice League with Herring, T. Lavitz and and Adam Nitty.
Many musicians, ranging from the members of Leftover Salmon to Little Feat, played benefit shows for Richie Hayward in the past year. He had no insurance at the time his condition was diagnosed.
Richie Hayward\'s last public performance was a sit in with Little Feat at the Vancouver Island MusicFest on July 11, 2010.