Staind founding drummer Jon Wysocki dies at 56

Jon Wysocki sits behind a drum kit, holding a drumstick to his chin.
Jon Wysocki, most recently with the band Lydia’s Castle, has died.
(Tonya LeeAnne)

The founding drummer of rock band Staind, Jon Wysocki, has died at age 56.

Wysocki died Saturday night, according to his band, Lydia’s Castle, which posted on Instagram that the drummer “passed away surrounded by family and friends that loved him dearly.” The post included an earlier photo of the bandmates in a group hug, with Wysocki’s trademark silver mullet shining in the light.

Lydia’s Castle’s guitarist and co-founder Cody Denton told The Times on Monday that Wysocki suffered “complications with his liver and other organs.” A friend of Wysocki posted Saturday morning on Facebook that the musician was in the ICU, but friends and family were hopeful he would still recover. But his health declined rapidly.


Fans and former colleagues posted tributes to the drummer online. “He was my friend. He was our brother. My heart is broken. My world has changed,” wrote Aaron Lewis, lead vocalist of Staind, as he reminisced about Wysocki on the social media platform X. “The battles we fought together. The battles we fought against each other.”

Dickey Betts, a founding member and guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, died Thursday of cancer and COPD, his family announced. The musician was 80.

April 18, 2024

Staind was founded by core members Lewis, Wysocki, Mike Mushok and Johnny April in 1995 in the New England area. The band reached its peak in the early 2000s. Staind’s third album, “Break the Cycle,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s top 200 in 2001.

Subsequent albums “14 Shades of Grey” and “Chapter V” also would top American music charts and receive platinum certification from the Recording Industry Assn. of America. According to the Music Museum of New England, the band sold nearly 15 million copies of its seven albums altogether, making Staind one of the most commercially successful hard rock bands in recent history.

In 2011, after 17 years with the band, Wysocki left, citing creative differences with his colleagues. He continued his musical career, touring and recording with bands including Soil and Save the World before he found his most recent creative partners in another independent rock band, Lydia’s Castle, based in Nashville, Tenn.

Tonya LeeAnne, frontwoman and co-founder for Lydia’s Castle, recalled in an interview with The Times that it was “love at first sight” when she and Denton met Wysocki at a rehearsal after the band put out a call for a drummer in 2021. “[The] chemistry was just so immediate and natural,” LeeAnne said. “It takes years to have chemistry like that with people.” Wysocki’s rhythm became the heartbeat of their new band.

Known as a giant of punk and experimental rock music from the 1980s to the present day, Albini produced and engineered records for Nirvana, the Pixies, PJ Harvey and others.

May 8, 2024

They were at first surprised a musician of Wysocki’s caliber was willing to commit to a fledgling group. Denton said Wysocki had a regal presence while still being humble.


He said the first time he saw Wysocki behind his drum kit, “He looked like a king sitting on a throne.” He seemed to ooze wisdom, Denton said. It wasn’t just Wysocki’s drumming and songwriting abilities but also his patience when it came to managing the inevitable clash of personalities in their four-person band.

And whether it was meeting a fan or offering advice to other musicians, Denton said, Wysocki showed kindness and patience. “He gave all of himself to everyone around him, and his support was unwavering,” Denton added.

Lee suffered a brain aneurysm followed by cardiac arrest on March 17 at his home in Paramount; he died in the hospital.

March 20, 2024

Wysocki was so committed to Lydia’s Castle that he had the band’s crown logo tattooed prominently on his chest, said LeeAnne. “And we were like, ‘Oh, man, I guess he really isn’t leaving.’”

Like that ink, the mark Wysocki left on his friends in Lydia’s Castle is lasting, Denton said.

“Without him, I’m sure that we would still be trying to figure out what we’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “He legitimized Lydia’s Castle from the very beginning.”

For the record:

12:18 p.m. May 21, 2024An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Wysocki had never been married.

Wysocki is survived by his fiancée, Shannon Fox; his parents; his son; and a sister, according to Denton, who declined to provide further details.