Punk rock musician
Zoogz Rift, 57, a punk rock musician whose experimental style garnered comparisons with Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, died March 22 at Encino Hospital of complications from diabetes, said his partner, Laura Rift.
Rift's music "both challenges and irritates, insults and amuses," Jeff Spurrier wrote in The Times in 1985. "His songs are musical mud pies lobbed at the mainstream market, fragmentation earbombs set in often bizarre meters with arrangements that both soothe and sear."
Rift was born Robert Pawlikowski on July 10, 1953, in Paterson, N.J., but grew up in Parsippany, N.J. He moved to Los Angeles in 1977 after starting his career in the early 1970s. He played in New York punk rock clubs such as CBGB before moving to California.
His first album was 1979's "Idiots on the Miniature Golf Course." Rift recorded steadily through the 1980s.
He also was a painter and a pro wrestling personality with the Universal Wrestling Federation beginning in the 1990s. Rift had several health problems in recent years and started oil painting about 2002 after finding it increasingly difficult to play guitar, Laura Rift said.
Laura and Zoogz Rift were divorced but had reconciled years ago, she said.
Drummer for Buddy Holly
Carl Bunch, 71, a drummer for Buddy Holly and the Crickets who was in the hospital with frostbite when Holly and other members of the Winter Dance Party Tour were killed in a 1959 plane crash, died Saturday at Antelope Valley Hospital. The cause was complications from diabetes, his family said.
Bunch, then 19, thought of the tour as an audition for a permanent position with the band, he told The Times in 1993. He joined the tour weeks before the tour bus broke down Feb. 1, 1959, in a Wisconsin snowstorm, and he ended up with frostbitten feet. Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "the Big Bopper" Richardson died two days later in a plane crash.
"I couldn't believe it," Bunch said in The Times interview. "I couldn't see Ritchie dead. We had become close."
Bunch rejoined the tour for its final days and then joined the Army. He later played for a time with Roy Orbison and Hank Williams Jr.
Born Nov. 24, 1939, in Big Springs, Texas, Bunch took up the drums as a teenager to help recover from leg surgery.
In the 1980s, he earned degrees in theology, biblical counseling and psychotheology from Friends International Christian University in Merced. He ran a Christian ministry and was a substance-abuse counselor before poor health led him to retire in the early 1990s.
A father of three, he was married to his wife, Dorothy, for 44 years.
In 2000, Bunch played drums in a re-creation of the 1959 tour and signed autographs as "the Frostbitten Cricket."
David E. Davis Jr.
PASSINGS: Zoogz Rift, Carl Bunch, David E. Davis Jr., James Pritchett, James M. Roberts, Pat Rowe
Zoogz Rift, punk rocker, dies at 57; Carl Bunch, drummer, dies at 71; David E. Davis Jr., car critic, dies at 80; James Pritchett, actor, dies at 88; James M. Roberts, Oscars executive, dies at 87; Pat Rowe, weather service spokeswoman, dies at 82
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