Hiram Bullock dead
July 29, 2008 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Hiram Bullock, original guitarist for Paul Shaffer's "Worlds Most Dangerous Band" died on July 25th. He was a fixture in the early days of David Letterman's show. The cause of death was not disclosed but Bullock had been undergoing treatment for cancer and was known to have had drug problems. Bullock was 52.

Apologies in advance for the obit post. I feel just a bit older after hearing this news. He was an awesome guitar player.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Aw, man. I'm glad you posted this, KS. And very, very sorry to hear the news.
posted by LinnTate at 9:36 AM on July 29, 2008

I always was a big fan of Hiram. I started watching Letterman the first day he was on the air.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2008

Beginning in 1976, Bullock was an in-demand session guitarist, appearing on albums by Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Sting, Hank Crawford, Bob James, Carla Bley, Gil Evans, Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, Pete Townshend, Art Farmer, Kenny Loggins, Mike Stern, Eric Clapton, Burt Bacharach and many others. He also performed live with Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, James Brown, Al Green, the Brecker Brothers, Chaka Khan, James Taylor and others, and released more than a dozen records under his own name, beginning in 1982 with First Class Vagabond.

Hope all of that fits on his gravestone.
posted by three blind mice at 9:49 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

He was an awesome musician.

posted by fleetmouse at 10:00 AM on July 29, 2008

posted by SNACKeR at 10:20 AM on July 29, 2008

Just FYI, even though they call themselves "The CBS Orchestra", they are still "The World's Most Dangerous Band".

posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:38 AM on July 29, 2008

If I'm not mistaken, Hiram played that great solo on Sting's version of the Hendrix classic "Little Wing". Man, that stayed in my ears for a very long time.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:24 AM on July 29, 2008

Seekerofsplendor, he did.

I don't know whether it's on YouTube, but David Sanborn used to host a late-late show called Sunday Night that was like crank for music fans. The house band was Omar Hakim, Marcus Miller, Philippe Saisse, Hiram Bullock, and Jools Holland -- a veritable Super Friends of late-'80s A-list talent, and at the end of the show they'd jam with that week's guests, who might include anyone from Toots Thielemans to the Residents. Just impossibly great. RIP.
posted by futility closet at 11:38 AM on July 29, 2008

What's Anton Fier, the drummer, up to these days? Is he still in the band?
posted by Flashman at 11:47 AM on July 29, 2008

There ARE plenty of "Night Music" (the show's name) clips on YouTube, all good....

HB's thing on Letterman was going barefoot...and lo and behold, when one evening he sat in with my band, he slid out of his sandals and hit the stage sans soles...but not without a whole lotta soul.

posted by bonefish at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2008

If Rickles picked on him, he must have been an awesome dude.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:21 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Have to go dust off that album of his I have.

posted by fuse theorem at 12:34 PM on July 29, 2008

Re: World's Most Dangerous Band -- See Will Lee's Fab Faux project if you get a chance. A Beatles tribute band in the most literal, non-cheez sense of the word, this is a group of extremely talented session players who just love playing Beatles songs (in regular 2008 clothes) and play them as you would have heard them at the time, had the Beatles a) toured b) had much better sound equipment and c) been much better musicians.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:52 PM on July 29, 2008

posted by fixedgear at 1:02 PM on July 29, 2008

Flashman, Anton FIG is still in the band, as is Will Lee. Both of 'em play around town alot, too.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 2:05 PM on July 29, 2008

stupidsexyFlanders at the risk of a derail, no one would take more offense at your slag of the Beatles' musicianship than Will Lee himself. As a veteran of some 15 Fab Faux shows going back to 1998, I can attest to such facts as a) Will Lee picks all his notes UP in order to more thoroughly and accurately mimic the musicianship of the bass player in the Beatles (what was his name again?) and, more generally b) why else would these estimable musicians, all of whom have very well-established careers in their own rights, devote their time to performing virtually note-for-note the Beatles' catalog? It just doesn't make any sense.

Put more simply - can Jimmy Vivino play a better 12-bar blues solo than George Harrison? Perhaps. Can all the collective members of the Fab Faux (some 20 musicians, when you take in to consideration horns, strings, etc - some of whom I know and work with) come anywhere close to matching the musical vision of the Beatles?

Not by a long shot.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 2:11 PM on July 29, 2008

Finally, .
posted by fingers_of_fire at 2:11 PM on July 29, 2008

As a 50yo black rock guitarist, this saddens me just a tinge more. Although I am aggressively ambivalent about Letterman, the WMDB was crunching, even more so that the CBS Orchestra. I often heard about Hiram's troubles, rest in peace and rock on.
posted by djrock3k at 3:46 PM on July 29, 2008

Rest in peace, Hiram.
posted by Wolof at 5:15 PM on July 29, 2008

He was a wonderful guitarist and I'm sad to see him go so young. Plus, he had the greatest name in the world. RIP, dear sir.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:44 PM on July 29, 2008

He started out on bass:
I played bass in my high school rock band (like a million other teenage boys). One day our guitarist, who was slightly older and looked like Eric Clapton, passed out while in the middle of the solo on “Mississippi Queen" (he said later that he was “tired"). Immediately, ten girls jumped up onto the stage, stroking, consoling, and otherwise “reviving him". At that precise moment I decided to switch to guitar.
posted by pracowity at 10:23 PM on July 29, 2008

Hiram Bullock was born in 1955 in Osaka, Japan to parents serving in the US military. When he was two the family returned to the United States, where they settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Hiram studied piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in the city, playing his first recital at the age of six. He also became a fluid saxophone player.
posted by Wolof at 11:13 PM on July 29, 2008

A great guitar play, may he R.I.P.
posted by dbiedny at 3:58 AM on July 30, 2008

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