Drummer Spencer Dryden Dies in Poverty, Yet Still Loved
Edgewise voices what I was thinking when I read about Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden's death January 11....he shouldn't have died this way.
Reading through the fan tributes in the Guestbook at SpencerDryden.com, I found this comment from Dryden's fellow musician Norton Buffalo: "What a sad display of how this 'great' nation 'takes care' of it's people."
He's referring, of course, to the miserable material circumstances of Dryden's death at 66: impoverished, uninsured, living alone in a rented or borrowed cabin on a friend's property. No one should end up that way, but more of us will as our nation explicitly abandons any notion of shared responsibility in favor of "ownership."
From the official press release on Spencer's death:
Spencer had been besieged by bad luck in recent years. A hip replacement that didn't take well left him permanently disabled. In September 2003, fire destroyed his home and all of his possessions and memorabilia. Three weeks after the fire, he suffered a heart attack and was told that he needed cardiac surgery. Friends and family worked tirelessly throughout 2004, including hosting a benefit concert in Dryden's honor, to raise the funds needed for the procedure. A week before he was set to have it performed, he was diagnosed with cancer. His battle with the disease lasted only three months.
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