Col. Bruce Hampton, a Georgia music legend and an inspiration for generations of Athens artists, passed away suddenly last night, May 1.
Hampton was performing at the event "Hampton 70: A Celebration Of Col. Bruce Hampton," a sold-out show at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre in celebration of his 70th birthday. Featured guests included Dave Schools, Duane Trucks, Jimmy Herring, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, John Bell, Billy Bob Thornton, T. Hardy Morris, Chuck Leavell, John Popper and many more.
Reports from the scene indicate that after a nearly four-hour show—and near the end of closer “Turn On Your Love Light,” featuring nearly all participants—Hampton passed out on stage. He died later that night.
This is a huge loss for both the Georgia music scene and the larger jam-band scene, for which Hampton was something of a godfather. After first making his indelible mark on the world via the Hampton Grease Band in the late 1960s, Hampton became known best for his band Aquarium Rescue Unit, who we most recently wrote about in 2015.
From all at Flagpole: Rest in peace, Colonel.