Philip Taylor Kramer
Philip Taylor Kramer
|Born||July 12, 1952|
|Died||ca. February 12, 1995 (aged 42)|
Decker Canyon near Malibu, California
|Associated acts||Iron Butterfly|
|Disappeared||February 12, 1995 (aged 42)|
Los Angeles County/Ventura County, California
|Cause of death||Probable suicide|
|Body discovered||May 29, 1999|
Philip Taylor Kramer (July 12, 1952 – ca. February 12, 1995) was an American bass guitar player for the rock group Iron Butterfly and associated groups between 1974 and 1980. He later became a computer engineering executive and inventor. He disappeared in February 1995 and was found dead in May 1999, his death ruled a probable suicide.
Early life and music career
Philip Taylor Kramer was born in 1952 in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1974, he joined Iron Butterfly as its bass player, playing on two of the group's albums, Scorching Beauty and Sun and Steel, both released in 1975. After the breakup of Iron Butterfly, Kramer continued to play with founding member Ron Bushy in the groups Magic and Gold between 1977 and 1980.
Kramer later obtained a night school degree in aerospace engineering, he worked on the MX missile guidance system for a contractor of the US Department of Defense and later in the computer industry on fractal compression, facial recognition systems, and advanced communications.
Kramer, the son of a professor of electrical engineering, had a lifelong interest in science and mathematical theorems. In 1964, at the age of 12, he won the science fair at Liberty School in Youngstown, Ohio, by building a laser with a beam strong enough to pop a balloon. In 1990, at the age of 38, Kramer co-founded Total Multimedia Inc. with Randy Jackson (brother of Michael Jackson) to develop data compression techniques for CD-ROMs. The firm claims it developed the first video compression capable of producing full motion video from a single speed CD-ROM in 1992. In 1994 the company was reorganized under bankruptcy and hired new leadership. Kramer continued working there until his disappearance, though he was profoundly affected by the bankruptcy and reorganization. Kramer co-developed SoftVideo based on fractal compression and he also claimed to work on a transmission project that would result in faster-than-light speed communications. The latter related to his father Ray's long-running family effort to discredit Albert Einstein's theories.
Death and investigation
On February 12, 1995, Kramer drove to Los Angeles International Airport to pick up a business associate and his wife. The business associate had been a principal investor in Total Multimedia and also a principal instigator of its bankruptcy reorganization. On his way to the airport, Kramer telephoned his wife to advise that plans had changed, and that the business associate and his wife should go directly from the airport to a hotel, where Kramer and his wife would meet them later. Kramer nonetheless appears to have spent forty-five minutes at the airport, for unexplained reasons. During his travel to and from the airport, Kramer made a flurry of cell phone calls, including calls to his wife, Ron Bushy and finally to the police. In the latter call, Kramer said, "I’m going to kill myself ... And I want everyone to know: O.J. Simpson is innocent. They did it. This is supposedly in reference to video evidence in which Taylor was hired just before his disappearance to analyze the authenticity of a video tape that the FBI and the DEA had on the O.J. Simpson murder trial."
Kramer was never heard from again. His disappearance led to a massive search, many news reports, and talk show segments including an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, America's Most Wanted, The Unexplained ("Strange Disappearances," first aired June 7, 2000) and Unsolved Mysteries. An article in Skeptic reported numerous conspiracy theories about his death.
On May 29, 1999, Kramer's Ford Aerostar minivan and skeletal remains were found by photographers looking for old car wrecks to shoot at the bottom of Decker Canyon near Malibu, California. Based on forensic evidence and Kramer's emergency call to the police, authorities ruled his death as a probable suicide committed on the day he was last heard from. However, there are implications of foul play such as his autopsy showing he died from blunt force trauma and the disappearance and murder of his secretary 48 hours after his last known call. His father never believed he killed himself and is quoted as saying "Taylor had told me a long time before there were people bothering him. They wanted what he was doing and some of them threatened him. He once told me that if I ever say I'm gonna kill myself, don't you believe it one bit. I'll be needing help" 
- Swanson, David The mysterious death of Iron Butterfly bassist Philip Taylor Kramer. Ultimate Classic Rock, February 12, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- Reed, Leonard Missing: Philip (Taylor) Kramer. Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1995. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- Leiby, Richard ""Far out Taylor Kramer, rock musician, rocket scientist, entrepreneur, has vanished into thin air."". Archived from the original on August 7, 2004. Retrieved August 26, 2013., Washington Post, October 6, 1996; also archived
- Uncredited (October 1999). "The Vanishing". Maxim. Archived from the original on February 4, 2002. Retrieved March 10, 2018; also archived
- Rice, Fredric, "Iron Butterfly Member Disappears After Allegedly Working on Faster-Than-Light Communication - Is He In A Godda Da Vida?", Skeptic (U.S. magazine), 1996.
- Rosen, Craig (June 1, 1999). "Iron Butterfly Fans Come To Terms With Apparent Discovery Of Missing Rocker's Remains". Archived from the original on March 7, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2013.