Bryan Gregory

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Bryan Gregory
Birth name Gregory Beckerleg
Born (1951-02-20)February 20, 1951
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died January 10, 2001(2001-01-10) (aged 49)
Anaheim, California, United States
Genres Psychobilly, garage punk, punk rock
Occupation(s) Guitarist, Songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1976–2001
Associated acts The Cramps, Beast, The Dials

Bryan Gregory (Gregory Beckerleg, February 20, 1951 – January 10, 2001) was an American rock musician, and founding member of and guitarist for The Cramps.

Gregory took the name Bryan after Brian Jones from The Rolling Stones whom he was a big fan of. He met Cramps member Lux Interior at a mutual job they shared at a record store in NYC. He shared his birthday with fellow member Poison Ivy. Bryan took up second guitar in April 1976 and was a distinctive sight in the early incarnation of the Cramps, along with his sister Pam Balaam (Pam Beckerleg) on drums. He was known for his oozing guitar sound, wild stage antics, and long black and white striped hair. He appeared on The Cramps first two albums Gravest Hits and Songs The Lord Taught Us. He abruptly left the band in 1980, with a van full of most of the band's equipment; no police report or proof was established. He was later replaced by Kid Congo Powers from the Gun Club. A rumor circulated that he had left to pursue an interest in Satanism, but Poison Ivy maintained that it was more likely due to his addiction to heroin.

After the Cramps, Gregory went on to play in Beast from 1980-1983. Bryan collaborated with producer Robyn Hunt an Australian whom he married in Cleveland, Ohio. March 6, 1984, it also included film volunteers to make "Frezzer", an alien horror host, with writer Char Rao, a former Cramps associate who played in the video, it never took off after they moved to Florida. He played a zombie in George Romero's Day of the Dead with fellow zombie fans Mike Metoff (Pagans guitarist and, at the time, temporary guitarist with The Cramps) and Char Rao in Pittsburgh. After moving to Florida he successfully managed an adult book store in Sarasota Fla. where he settled for several years and joined his sister Pam Beckerleg in Osprey, Fla., after his amicable divorce.

Gregory had a social reunion with Lux, Ivy & Nick backstage at a Cramps show in St. Petersburg, Florida in the early 1990s. Lux dedicated the last song of the night to Bryan. Gregory moved to Los Angeles forming The Dials from 1992–1995 joining Shiver with former musicians James Christ and Andrella (former band members of Beast and The Veil).

At the time of his death Gregory had been losing interest in his music goals. He reported he was feeling "exhausted and run down", according to his ex-wife Hunt (with whom he remained close friends), having put it down to working nights and taking care of a sick friend full-time. Gregory drove himself to the emergency room for a check up at 4 a.m. Once there, he was transferred to another hospital, Anaheim Memorial Medical Center, Anaheim, California, where suddenly and unexpectedly he was felled by a multiple systems failure.

His brother Rick Beckerleg, a Vietnam veteran and fireman from Detroit, Michigan, was by his side at his death. He was also close to his sister Pam Beckerleg, whom he referred to as "Little Wing" (a tattoo he wore in her honor).

Gregory was an avid science fiction and horror film fan, and especially fond of characters such as Frankenstein's Monster. In addition to his love of music he also designed jewellery, did charcoal drawings, clothing art design, theater makeup and horror costume design in Cleveland, Ohio and Florida.

Gregory supported Native American causes and was reported by his mother (now deceased) to be a descendant of Civil War general William Sherman. Although his religious background was Catholic in his youth, he experimented in several religious cults and found them unsatisfactory.

Gregory's ashes are buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

Legacy and influence[edit]

His noisy style of guitar playing was an inspiration to people like Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3, as well as numerous other artists who would go on to make up the British shoegaze scene of the mid-to-late '80s.