Brett Tuggle, keyboardist of Fleetwood Mac and David Lee Roth Band, dead at 70

Brett Tuggle, a fellow keyboardist who spent two decades at Fleetwood Mac during the reunion era and was also a founding member of the David Lee Roth Band in the ’80s, died on June 19 from complications related to cancer. He was 70 years old.

Tuggle’s son Matt confirmed his death to rolling stone. “He was so loved by his family,” Matt says. “His family supported him throughout his illness. He was a lovely father. He gave me music in my life.

During his long career, Tuggle has also played with Jimmy Page, Rick Springfield, David Coverdale, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Tommy Shaw of Styx and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. During his tenure with David Lee Roth, he co-wrote the 1988 hit “Just Like Paradise.”

“Our sweet Brett Tuggle came home tonight,” Rick Springfield wrote on Twitter. “God bless her beautiful mind.”

Tuggle entered the world of Fleetwood Mac in 1992 when he landed a gig with Mick Fleetwood’s side project The Zoo, and remained in the band’s orbit during Lindsey Buckingham’s solo tour at the end of Last year. He played keyboards on every Fleetwood Mac tour from 1997 to 2017, and also played extensively with Stevie Nicks, Buckingham and Buckingham McVie.

“This guy is just a master,” Buckingham said of Tuggle during his band’s presentation at the Warner Theater in Washington DC on Sept. 14, 2021. “He’s a superb keyboardist, bassist, guitarist, vocalist. And he also brings so much clarity and integrity. There’s no way in the world we can do that [show] without him. We could never do it without him, and we couldn’t in the future either. We love him to death.

Tuggle grew up in Denver, Colorado and loved rock music from an early age. “Like everyone in the country, we got sucked into the surf scene,” he said. rolling stone in 2020 when it was featured in our Unknown Legends series of interviews. “The Beach Boys had a huge influence in middle school. I was sucked into harmony with them. And like pretty much everyone else, I saw the Beatles on TV and things were never the same.

Inspired by Steve Winwood’s work in the Spencer Davis Band, Tuggle began playing keyboards as a teenager. He landed his first professional gig in 1970 when he was hired by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels to tour and work on their LP. Detroit. He only stayed with the band for a year and a half, struggling to find steady work in the following years. But in 1981, he was recruited by John Kay and Steppenwolf to play keyboards on their world tour. In 1982, he teamed up with Springfield right after “Jessie’s Girl” broke up.

“I’ll never forget stepping on stage in this auditorium in Sacramento [for our first show]“said Tuggle rolling stone. “The noise was like a jet engine. It was amazing. It was kinda scary, it was so loud. It was such hysteria. I was looking at the audience and these little girls were going ape on this guy, completely losing him.

Tuggle spent three years on the road with Springfield, then toured briefly with Tommy Shaw and Belinda Carlisle. In 1986, David Lee Roth hired him to play on his Eat ’em and smile tour – his first tour since leaving Van Halen – alongside guitarist Steve Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Gregg Bissonette. “There was a lot of bad humor in the press between the two camps and it got on fire,” Tuggle recalled. “We had security guards when we went places.”

At the end of the tour, Tuggle sat down at his personal keyboard and came up with the music that Roth eventually fleshed out in his 1988 hit “Just Like Paradise.” It peaked at number six on the Hot 100. The only time Roth had a more successful solo single was in 1985 with his cover of “California Girls”.

Tuggle continued to perform with Roth until 1994, although he took a break in 1993 to accompany David Coverdale and Jimmy Page on their Japanese tour that year. Shortly before that, he recorded an album with Mick Fleetwood’s side project The Zoo. And when the Rumors re-formed Fleetwood Mac band in 1997, he was asked to be part of their world tour. He shared keyboard work with Christine McVie. “Basically we shared them because Christine had to sing,” he said. rolling stone. “She played her main part on the keyboard either on the piano or on the organ. I did all the colors and the synthesizers and stuff. There were so many parts to things so it was really easy.

His role grew when McVie left the band after the tour, and he also began joining Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on their solo outings. This arrangement, however, inevitably led to scheduling conflicts. “It got to a point where Stevie said, ‘You’re going to have to decide,'” Tuggle recalled. “I said, ‘You know, Stevie, I love playing with you. I encourage you. But Lindsey doesn’t have a band. She said, ‘I know he needs good people.’ She seemed to be okay with it when I left to do Lindsey’s thing, but think about the end, she kinda looked at me as ditching her and going to Lindsey’s camp.

Buckingham has kept Tuggle busy for the past 15 years with solo work and Buckingham spin-off band McVie. But when Fleetwood Mac parted ways with Buckingham in 2018, Tuggle didn’t last more than one rehearsal with the new lineup in Hawaii.

“I was really shocked when I got the call that they weren’t going to use me,” Tuggle said. rolling stone. “I also realized that I was in the middle of the politics of Lindsey and Stevie and this band and that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything about it. I had become Lindsey’s guy and that was it and I had to accept it. There was nothing else I could do.

Tuggle toured with Buckingham in 2021, but was absent when touring resumed in April. “I want to mention the gentleman who’s noticeably absent from the stage tonight,” Buckingham told the crowd as the tour opened in San Francisco on April 5. “Mr. Brett Tuggle has a little health issue. Hopefully he’ll be back for the next show no matter what. We missed him tonight.


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