Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Passings: Leonard Haze, Original Drummer For Y&T

by VVN Music

Leonard Haze, the original drummer for the band Y&T, died on Sunday evening at his home in Hayward, CA after a lengthy battle with COPD. He was 61.

Y&T member Dave Meniketti wrote:

It is with shock and sadness that I type this. Leonard Haze, the legendary drummer, and a guy I spent decades with creating great music together, has passed away at 61. This, just a few days after his birthday. I just woke up to this news, as I'm in Germany, and immediately called his wife, Kelly. She confirmed that Leonard had passed away in his sleep, a few hours ago, sometime between noon and 7:30pm on Sunday, September 11.

Leonard has been struggling with COPD for years, but Kelly said that although his health had recently declined, they felt he had a few years left, so this is unexpected.

My deepest condolences to Leonard's family and friends. His impact on the rock scene was well documented.

Rest in peace, my friend.

-Dave Meniketti
Haze, Bob Gardner and Wayne Stitzer were playing in a covers band in the Hayward area in 1972 when they put out a call for a guitarist. Meniketti answered the ad and successfully auditioned, forming the initial lineup for the band now known as Y&T (Yesterday & Tomorrow).

Y&T released their first, self-titled, album in 1976 and followed with Struck Down in 1978 and Earthshaker in 1981 but success eluded them until their fourth set, 1982's Black Tiger which charted in the U.K.

The band finally hit it big in their native U.S. with their next three albums, Mean Streak (1983 / #103), In Rock We Trust (1984 / #46) and Down For the Count (1985 / #91). The latter included their biggest hit, Summertime Girls, which only went to 55 on the Hot 100 but made the top twenty on Mainstream Rock.

In 1986, Haze left the band and, in the early-90's, became part of Ian Gillan's solo band. Leonard rejoined Y&T in 2001 and played with them until 2006 although there were no albums made during this time. Since that time, he has played with a number of Bay Area bands and formed his own group, HazeXperience, in 2014. In recent years, he could often be seen wearing oxygen in his nose during shows as he fought COPD. He reportedly played his last show just a couple of weeks ago.

Haze is survived by his wife, Kelly, and a stepdaughter.