Tuesday, December 28, 2010

RIP Bill Maddox

Bill Maddox, former Eric Johnson drummer, shot to death
I was skimming through twitter yesterday and found this shocking news. It had a stunning effect. In fact, I can't sleep so I got back up to finish this post. From the news article:
A law enforcement source who wished to remain anonymous because he’s unauthorized to talk to reporters said a woman believed to be Rhonda Maddox called 911 at 7:27 a.m. and reported a burglary in progress at the couple’s home. “They’re in the house,” she told the 911 operator, “I’m gonna have to shoot them.” The phone was put down, then the operator heard a single shot, followed after a pause, by several more.
Later yesterday night, a close friend of his stated in a forum post:
Evidently a neighbor was off his medications and threw a rock through either a plate glass window or door. Bill and Rhonda thought it a burglary and called the police. The neighbor entered the house and there was a confrontation with a gun ending with Bill dead and the neighbor flown to the hospital with a gun shot wound.

That last account has not been presented in the news media yet.

A year before we moved here, in fact, a year before we were even considering moving anywhere, I flew down to Austin from St. Louis to attend 2 live taping concerts at Antone's with Alien Love Child (Eric Johnson, Chris Maresh, Bill Maddox). The tapings became this record. Actually there were 3 nights of tapings, but I held myself at only 2 (kind of like being offered a plate with 3 large cookies and leaving one there just so you won't appear to have lost all control). People came to those shows from all over the USA and at least a couple flew over from the UK. After the 3rd show, it had been arranged for us diehard fans to be able to meet Eric, and a small restaurant (Austin Java) was rented out after hours. It was my first EJ show and first time in Austin. That's how this place ended up on the short list when we were deciding where to live - because it was the kind of place that put up a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, it was nice weather in January, and the positives grew and grew.

After moving here, I ended up doing some website, graphic design & production, and flash animation for Eric. If you are a big music fan and in Austin, it's likely that you will have an opportunity to do get involved in helping out a favorite musician at some point even if it's just hanging posters. Anyway, it was because of that involvement that I got to meet Bill quite a number of times, either backstage or at casual social events. He was an extremely nice person, and always had a smile, onstage and off. He had been playing in bands with Eric since the early 1970s.

All I know about this tragedy are the accounts mentioned above, and am not sure if there will be any more information released. One of the most disturbing things is that it's possible that he may have been killed with his own gun. I hate guns, but out of respect for Bill and everyone who knew him, I am not going to turn this post (or the comments that get added) into my usual anti-gun rant. Those can be found elsewhere at the Oasis here, if you care to look.

Here are a couple of pics that I took the last time we saw Alien Love Child, which was in August of 2009. It was a long time ago... too long, and we didn't even hang around afterwards to say Hi to the band. Now I regret that.

[addendum Dec 28] Update: More about this not being a burglary.


Joe1964 said...

I too was at that 3rd show in Austin for "Alien Love Child" and went to Austin Java afterwards to hung out with everyone (and took a group picture). Just found out about this yesterday and was sick. Very great musician and even nicer man.

Lindsay said...

I have known Billy, Eric and Chris since I was about 4 years old (i'm now 22). My mom and Billy used to date when I was young, and have remained very good friends ever since. The entire band has remained family friends. We were around when Eric's beautiful wife Darcy was murdered, and now this has happened with Billy. It is so shocking and sad to see this happen to such a wonderful man. I just hope that his wife Rhonda and the rest of his family are going to be ok.

Blueberry said...

Joe and Lindsay: virtual hugs for you and thank you for your comments. Lindsay, I hope that there can be a measure of comfort and healing for your family and all of Bill's extended circle of family and friends, but it does not come easy when there is violence. Perhaps never.

Freida Bee said...

I hadn't heard this. Very sad, indeed.