Guitarist Phil Dürr, 1965-2019
January 19, 2019 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Phil Dürr, best known as the guitarist for '90s Detroit funk/riff rock band Big Chief and later for blues singer Thornetta Davis, died at 53 on January 11th. This obituary sums up his life and work in loving detail.

"One Born Every Minute" from Big Chief's Mack Avenue Skull Game.
"Cry" from Thornetta Davis' Sunday Morning Music.
From the linked obit:
That Dürr was a phenomenal guitarist — whose formative influences ranged from Daniel Ash to Jimmy Page to Eddie Hazel — was really the least of his gifts. More importantly, he was a cherished friend to basically everyone he ever crossed paths with, that rare man about whom there is nary a bad word to be said. His sweetness, generosity, humility, and good humor (usually self-deprecating) charmed anyone he encountered; I would bet that there are no less than 50 people spread across several continents who considered him their BFF at various points in their lives. He was that kind and priceless of a fellow.

But don't just take my word for it. Consider instead Jon Fine, the former guitarist of the Oberlin, Ohio, band Bitch Magnet, who shared a testimonial on Facebook about what happened in 1990 when that group's gear got ripped off in London after the initial gig of a six-week European tour. Desperate, Fine bought a crappy guitar to muddle through, but then met Dürr in Germany, who loaned him a gorgeous wine-red Gibson Les Paul Standard for the rest of the tour. Dürr "entrusts me," wrote Fine, "a more or less total stranger whose band he sort of knows, with a very nice instrument, and basically says, 'Here. Use it well. Do your thing. Just send it to me in Michigan when you're done with the tour.'"

Anyone acquainted with Dürr hearing this story would immediately reply: "That's so Phil."
posted by outfielder (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by evilDoug at 9:38 PM on January 19

This is so sad. I heard about Phil from my sis who was friends and roommates with some of the members of Big Chief in college (including Phil). He was a great guy full of an intense, inquisitive energy. RIP dude, you were one-of-a-kind.
posted by nikitabot at 10:11 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]

posted by Fizz at 9:05 AM on January 20

posted by filtergik at 4:05 AM on January 21

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