Monday 24 October 2016

Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin dies at 67

Published 18/01/2016 | 19:21

Dale Griffin performed with the band during their encores when they reformed in 2009
Dale Griffin performed with the band during their encores when they reformed in 2009

Dale Griffin, t he drummer and founder member of rock group Mott the Hoople, has died aged 67.

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He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease almost 10 years ago.

He performed with the band d uring their encores when they reformed in 2009 for a five-night sell-out at the Hammersmith Apollo, but his main part during the gigs was played by Pretenders drummer Martin Chambers.

Mott the Hoople's heyday in the 1970s saw them score top 10 hits including All The Young Dudes and Roll Away the Stone.

The former was written by David Bowie, who died just over a week ago from cancer aged 69, and gave the band their biggest hit, reaching number three in the UK chart.

Known by the nickname Buffin, Griffin was also a producer and worked for the BBC on a number of John Peel sessions on Radio One including Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and Pulp.

Griffin leaves behind his long-term partner Jean Smith, Angel Air records said.

Speaking in 2010 about his diagnosis, Griffin said the disease had had a huge effect on his life.

Supporting an Alzheimer's Society campaign, he said: " I used to be fearless, but Alzheimer's has stopped me in my tracks. It is my dreadful little bug and I have to fight to keep it from controlling me.

"Alzheimer's has prevented me from doing a lot of the things I love - like reading and writing - but I try to keep as relaxed and easygoing as possible."

He told how people began to avoid him because they felt awkward.

He added: "It is really important for people to 'remember the person' and look beyond someone's diagnosis of dementia. Many old friends now avoid me as they do not know what to say, which is really hurtful.

"I just wish they would realise that inside, I am still the same old 'Buffin' I always was."

Paying tribute to the drummer, s inger-songwriter Billy Bragg recalled being "made up" to find that Griffin was to produce a session he was doing for the BBC in 1984.

Writing on Facebook, Bragg said: " I always had a soft spot for Mott the Hoople. Theirs was the only band I ever really wanted to be a member of, along with Earth, Wind and Fire."

He described Griffin as a "lovely guy to be in the studio with".

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