Iron Butterfly is an American psychedelic rock band best known for the 1968 hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", providing a dramatic sound that led the way towards the development of hard rock music. Formed in San Diego, California among band members that used to be "arch enemies", their heyday was the late 1960s, but the band has been reincarnated with various members with varying levels of success, with no new recordings since 1975. The band's seminal 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is among the world's 40 best-selling albums, selling more than 30 million copies. Iron Butterfly is also notable for being the first group to receive an RIAA platinum award.
Ron Bushy, Iron Butterfly performing "In a Gadda da Vida", Germany, May 2005
The band formed in 1966 in San Diego, California. The original members were Doug Ingle (vocals, organ), Jack Pinney (drums), Greg Willis (bass), and Danny Weis (guitar). They were soon joined by tambourine player and vocalist Darryl DeLoach. DeLoach's parents' garage on Luna Avenue served as the site for their almost nightly rehearsals.
Jerry Penrod and Bruce Morse replaced Willis and Pinney after the band relocated to Los Angeles in 1966 and Ron Bushy then came aboard when Morse left due to a critical family tragedy[vague]. All but Ingle and Bushy left the band after recording their first album in late 1967; the remaining musicians, faced with the possibility of the record not being released, quickly found replacements in bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Erik Brann (also known as "Erik Braunn" and "Erik Braun") and resumed touring. In early 1968, their debut album Heavy was released after signing a deal with ATCO, an Atlantic Records subsidiary.
DeLoach subsequently recorded with Two Guitars, Piano, Drum and Darryl, while Weis and Penrod went on to form the group Rhinoceros. In 1970 DeLoach formed Flintwhistle along with Erik Brann; the band performed live for about a year before breaking up.
Success with In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and first breakup (1968–1973)
The 17-minute "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", the title track of Iron Butterfly's second album, became a Top 30 hit in the US and made the number 9 spot on the Dutch Top 40. The members when In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was recorded were Doug Ingle (organ and vocals), Lee Dorman (bass guitar), Ron Bushy (drums), and 17-year-old Erik Brann (guitar). The album was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in December 1968  and had sold over three million copies by the end of 1970. It ultimately sold over 20 million copies, went platinum, and stayed on the Billboard magazine charts for over a year.
The band had been booked to play at Woodstock but got stuck at an airport. When their manager called the promoters of the concert they explained the situation and asked for patience. However, the manager demanded that the Butterfly be flown in by helicopter, whereupon they would "immediately" take the stage. After their set they would be paid and flown back to the airport. The manager was told that this would be taken into consideration and he would be called back. According to drummer Bushy, "We went down to the Port Authority three times and waited for the helicopter, but it never showed up".
The next album, Ball, reached No. 3 on the charts, but more lineup changes followed. In 1970, with Erik Brann gone, Iron Butterfly released their fourth studio album, Metamorphosis with two new members, guitarist/vocalist Mike Pinera (whose Blues Image had opened for the Butterfly's Vida tour) and guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt. The album managed to get into the top 20, but Doug Ingle quit the group shortly after its release. Without an organist for the first time in their history, the remaining four members cut a single, "Silly Sally". It failed to chart and proved to be their last recording. The band broke up after playing a final show on May 23, 1971. Dorman and Reinhardt would subsequently found Captain Beyond.
The band reformed in 1974 with Ron Bushy and Erik Brann joined by bassist Philip Taylor Kramer and keyboardist Howard Reitzes. (Kramer later made news with his 1995 disappearance and the discovery of his remains and minivan at the bottom of Decker Canyon in 1999). Brann, who had done occasional lead vocals during Iron Butterfly's original run, served as the band's main lead vocalist. The album Scorching Beauty was released in January 1975 with Reitzes and Sun and Steel in October 1975 with Bill DeMartines replacing Reitzes. Both albums were criticized for bearing little resemblance to the original tone of the group, and sold poorly compared to their earlier releases.
In December 1978, the band's bassist, Keith Ellis, died in Germany. A similar loss occurred in 1985 when incumbent bassist Kurtis Teal died as a result of a heart murmur. Teal's death led the band to dissolve.
Bobby Hasbrook, from Hawaii, joined the band as lead guitarist and lead vocals with Lee Dorman, Erik Braun, Bobby Caldwell, and John leimseider, soon after Keith Ellis's death in 1978. Bobby Hasbrook played in various Iron Butterfly lineups with Mike Pinera and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt. Bobby Hasbrook continued to play and tour with Iron Butterfly until 1982.
Doug Ingle rejoined the band on vocals and keyboards from 1994 to 1999. In 1997, the band did a tour of Europe with original members Ingle, Bushy, and Dorman, along with keyboardist Derek Hilland and new guitarist Erik Barnett. A DVD of live performances from the tour was released in 2008. Larry Rust became keyboardist from 1999-2005.
Guitarist/vocalist Charlie Marinkovich joined the band in 2002. Originally from Seattle, Marinkovich had played with Randy Hansen and others.
Germanviolinist, keyboardist and composer Martin Gerschwitz, formerly of "Lita Ford", "Meat Loaf", "Walter Trout", and most recently of "Eric Burdon & The Animals"  joined the band in 2005, replacing Larry Rust.
On October 3, 2002, original tambourine player/vocalist Darryl DeLoach died of liver cancer at the age of 55. On July 25, 2003, Erik Brann died of heart failure at the age of 52.
In early 2010, an announcement was made that Iron Butterfly would receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Annual San Diego Music Awards, which took place on September 12, 2010. The award was presented by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. Later the same year, Ray Weston (formerly of Wishbone Ash) came in to substitute on drums for Ron Bushy after he was sidelined by health issues. In early 2012, Phil Parlapiano substituted for Martin Gerschwitz for a couple of shows, when Gerschwitz was unable to play due to his earlier arranged own solo-tour schedule 
Deaths of former members and inactivity (2012–2013)
Former guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt died on January 2, 2012, at the age of 63, due to cirrhosis of the liver. Bassist Lee Dorman, who had a history of heart trouble, died on December 21, 2012, at the age of 70. Both Reinhardt and Dorman were also founding members of Captain Beyond, along with former Deep Purple vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Bobby Caldwell.
Following Dorman's death, Iron Butterfly became inactive again. Charlie Marinkovich revealed in 2013 that he had departed the band and that Ron Bushy was very ill, shrouding the band's future in doubt.
At times during Bushy's recovery in 2014, he entertained the idea of putting a new Iron Butterfly band together, possibly with Martin Gerschwitz returning on keyboards and lead vocals.
In 2015, it was revealed via the band's official website that Iron Butterfly's lineup now consists of Bushy, Dave Meros (bass and vocals), returning guitarist Eric Barnett and returning keyboardist Martin Gerschwitz along with new members Ray Weston on drums and Mike Green on percussion and vocals. Both Meros and Weston had previously played with Iron Butterfly as substitute musicians; Meros for Dorman (in 2006) and Weston for Bushy (in 2010), respectively. At present, Ron Bushy remains a member of Iron Butterfly but is not performing due to his health concerns, leaving Weston as sole drummer for the band at current appearances.
^Buckley 2003, p. 523 "It is widely believed that the term 'heavy metal' was coined to describe the less than delicate sound of Iron Butterfly, a band vilified when they first emerged and still not accorded the respect they deserve."