Cancer claims original Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack at 65

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Original Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack, off the road fighting cancer since 2010, has succumbed to the disease. He was 65.

The band said Hossack died at home on Monday. “His family was by his side,” the Doobies said in a statement on their Web site. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and loved ones. We will miss him greatly.”

Hossack initially played with the Doobie Brothers from 1971-73, appearing many of their seminal early hits — including “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water” and “China Grove.” He then joined the reunited group in 1987 and continued at the drums for the next two decades. Initially, it appeared that physical ailments had temporarily sidelined Hossack. In a 2010 message on the Doobie Brothers’ official Web site, Hossack said he “had some problems relating to injuries I received in an auto accident a couple of years ago.” Later, it was revealed that the Dubois, Wyoming resident was dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

The Doobie Brothers issued the well-received World Gone Wrong album in 2010, and have continued a rigorous touring schedule. They are set to join Chicago for a co-headlining tour through North America this summer. (Previously announced concert dates are attached below.)

“Mike has always been a part of my musical life and the life of the Doobie Brothers,” said band co-founder Tom Johnson. “He was an incredible musician.”

A New Jersey native, Hossack served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and initially considered a career in law enforcement. After encouragement from a friend, he auditioned for and won a spot drumming for the California group Mourning Reign. After that group’s 1971 split, he joined the Doobie Brothers, where he was paired with fellow drummer John Hartman.

“People always ask me if it’s hard to play with another drummer,” Hossack once said in his biography. “I tell them that after playing along with up to 12 other drummers at once in the drum corps, this is a snap!”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Doobie Brothers. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: THE DOOBIE BROTHERS: News that the rejuvenated Doobie Brothers would be joining Chicago on a summer tour sent us scurrying back to the stacks. And not just the Tom Johnston stuff, though his reunion with the band has sparked a third-act resurgence for the Doobies — one that included a return-to-form studio project back in 2010. We also gave a tip of the hat to second vocalist Michael McDonald, who moved the band into a smooth-as-glass hitmaking period by the end of the 1970s.

ONE TRACK MIND: THE DOOBIE BROTHERS, “NOBODY” (2010): “Nobody” is a direct link to their past on 2010’s World Gone Crazy, because it was the very first cut from their first album 39 years ago. Producer Ted Templeman wasn’t happy with the way the recording came out the first time around (actually, the whole record suffered from subpar production), so he persuaded the group to take another crack at Tom Johnston’s song. A great suggestion, as this time Templeman got the mixing right. The rich blend of acoustic and electric guitars, the strutting rhythm and those sumptuous backing vocals are there just like the hitmaking days. Johnston, as before, takes the lead vocal and all the years and health issues hadn’t worn down his R&B pipes one iota.

ONE TRACK MIND: THE DOOBIE BROTHERS, “MINUTE BY MINUTE (1978): The intro of departed Doobie Michael McDonald playing chords up and down and up again on a Rhodes at the offbeat intervals is sweet soulful stuff. Then the song settles into a mid-tempo shuffle and McDonald’s brawny baritone kicks in. There’s a little synth interlude that sounds a little cheesy today, but that’s not enough to disturb this groove; right after that the bridge takes the song to a higher key and McDonald’s voice just soars in response.

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Here are the announced dates for Chicago and the Doobie Brothers:

July 11: Tucson, AZ, Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre
July 13: Lake Tahoe, CA, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
July 14: Concord, CA, Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
July 15: Los Angeles, CA, Gibson Amphitheatre
July 17: Denver, CO, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
July 20: Kansas City, MO, Starlight Theatre
July 21: Dallas, TX, Gexa Energy Pavilion
July 22: Houston, TX, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
July 24: Atlanta, GA, Chastain Park Amphitheatre
July 26: Raleigh, NC, Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
July 29: Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
August 1: Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
August 2: Pittsburgh, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
August 4: Atlantic City, NJ, Borgata Resort Spa & Casino
August 16: Boston, MA, Comcast Center
August 18: Wantagh, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
August 19: Holmdel, NJ, P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
August 21: Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
August 23: Virginia Beach, VA, Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
August 24: Scranton, PA, Toyota Pavilion

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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