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Quicksilver Messenger Service Guitarist Gary Duncan Dies

Quicksilver Messenger Service Guitarist Gary Duncan Dies

Stephen Holder at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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WOODLAND, Calif. (CelebrityAccess) Gary Duncan, 72, guitarist for Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Brogues, suffered a seizure and fell into a coma before dying in Woodland, Calif., June 29.

Ducan, born Gary Grubb, began his career in the Merced-based band The Brogues, known for the garage band tune “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker,” alongside Greg Elmore. The band broke up when the two men were recruited by John Cipollina and Dino Valenti to join Quicksilver Messenger Service.

The band quickly became part of the San Francisco scene alongside Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. They played the famed Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 with acts Jimi Hendrix Experience, Big Brother & The Holding Company and Canned Heat.

“In Quicksilver we played a lot of old blues and folk tunes and improvised,” Duncan told Craig Morrison in 2001. “We had our own arrangements and had open places where we would just wail. ‘Cause we were so stoned all the time anyway, on acid and everything else, that sitting down and just playing one tune for three or four hours was nothin’.

“That was no big deal whatsoever. At rehearsals we’d sit there and play for seven, eight hours straight, ten hours. We’d play ‘til we’d just fall over and the hands were bleeding. I’d go in the rehearsal place and take a bunch of amphetamine and some LSD and just play for like a day and a half. And end up in the weirdest fucking places, not knowing whether or not if it was actually any good or not, but being there.”

“It is with sadness that I share the passing of one of San Francisco’s fine guitarists and notable musicians that go back to the beginnings….. Gary Duncan,” announced San Francisco rock aficionado Professor Poster. “Once guitarist with The Brogues, then most notably with Quicksilver Messenger Service, where the complex interplay between himself and fellow-guitarist John Cipollina did much to define the unique contributions that made up the San Francisco Sound and based band. Rest in Peace you old Guitar Slinger…. You will be remembered with fondness by ALL of us that saw and heard you play over the many years.”

Cause of death was undetermined at press time.

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