|Erik Keith Brann|
August 11, 1950|
Pekin, Illinois, United States
|Died||July 25, 2003
Los Angeles, California
The Paper Fortress
Erik Keith Brann (August 11, 1950 – July 25, 2003), born Rick Davis and also known as Erik Braunn, was an American guitarist with the 1960s acid rock band Iron Butterfly. He is featured on the band's greatest hit, the 17-minute In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), recorded when he was 17.
A Boston, Massachusetts native and a violinist, Brann was accepted as a child into the prodigy program at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but was soon lured away to become a rock guitarist, joining Iron Butterfly at 16. He played with Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle from 1968 to 1969. The first album from this lineup, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, sold over 30 million copies, was awarded the first platinum award and stayed on the Billboard magazine charts for nearly three years. With arrangement assistance from Dorman, Brann wrote the song "Termination," which was featured on the album.
The album's mini-bio, written when he was 17, tells of an acting ambition he once had, clothing and food preference and the ease with which rock 'n roll artists were able to arrange sexual encounters (usually with groupies). It reads: "Although music has always been his one great love, Erik studied drama and before joining the Butterfly, his acting ability had landed him the lead role in a local play. ...Erik hopes to, one day, continue in the acting field. Right now, however, his only concern is the Iron Butterfly, turtleneck sweaters, bananas and the fairer sex."
In 1970, Brann and former Iron Butterfly member Darryl DeLoach, formed Flintwhistle. This band performed live for about a year before breaking up. Between 1972 and 1973, Brann worked solely in the studio on various demos. In 1973, he recorded a couple demos with MCA Records which can be found on bootleg sites. Notable songs from these demos include early versions of "Hard Miseree", "Am I Down", and "Scorching Beauty". In 1974, he reunited with Ron Bushy to form a new version of Iron Butterfly. The 1975 LP Scorching Beauty featured Brann on guitars and vocals, Bushy on drums, Philip Taylor Kramer on bass and Howard Reitzes on keyboards. The band released Sun and Steel in late 1975 with Bill DeMartines replacing Reitzes on keyboards. Neither album sold well, and the band disbanded shortly afterward (around summer 1977).
Brann occasionally reunited with Iron Butterfly for concerts, and was working on his solo debut when he died of a heart attack in 2003. This followed an ongoing struggle with complications from a birth defect that Brann had battled for years.
Iron Butterfly (1967-1969, 1974-1977)
- In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)
- Ball (1969)
- Live (1970)
- Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly (1971)
- Star Collection (1973)
- Scorching Beauty (1975)
- Sun and Steel (1976)
- Rare Flight (1988)
- Light & Heavy: The Best of Iron Butterfly (1993)