Keith Knudsen, 56; Drummer Played for Doobie Brothers, Southern Pacific

From Associated Press

Keith Knudsen, a drummer for the Doobie Brothers since 1974, died of pneumonia Tuesday. He was 56.

Knudsen, who lived in Sonoma County’s wine country, had been hospitalized for more than a month.

He died at Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital in Kentfield, Calif., according to Bruce Cohn, the Doobie Brothers’ longtime manager.

Knudsen, who reportedly had been battling cancer since 1995, joined the classic rock band in 1974 after he met Cohn, who told him the Doobies needed a drummer.


“After a week’s rehearsal, I went on the road with the band,” Knudsen said in his biography on the band’s website.

The Doobies, who had a string of hits including “Black Water,” “Minute by Minute,” “What a Fool Believes” and “Taking It to the Streets,” were known for incorporating gospel and jazz stylings into popular songs.

Knudsen played with the Doobies until the band’s 1982 farewell tour.

During the band’s hiatus, Knudsen and bandmate John McFee formed the country rock group Southern Pacific, which released four albums and had several hits.


Knudsen rejoined the Doobie Brothers full time in 1993.

He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Kate, and their daughter, Dayna Keyes.