Lee Dorman, 70, the bassist for the psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly, was found dead last Friday morning, 21st December, in a vehicle, said Gail Krause, an Orange County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. A coroner's investigation is under way, but foul play is not suspected.
Iron Butterfly was formed in San Diego in 1966 and recorded an album before Dorman joined a revised line up that included guitarist Erik Braunn, keyboardist and singer Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy.
In 1968, the group recorded 'In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida' (In A Garden Of Eden), the album that featured a 17-minute title track. The album stayed on the national sales chart for two-and-a-half-years and a three-minute version was a top 40 hit. The 'In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida' LP peaked at number four on the Billboard charts and was given the distinction of being the first album to be awarded platinum status when the RIAA began that achievement level in 1976.
Today it is a 4x platinum album with sales of over 30 million copies. It was also Atlantic Records' biggest selling album until it was surpassed by Led Zeppelin IV. It remains one of the all time 50 biggest selling rock albums in history.
The band was invited to play at the Woodstock Festival but got stuck at an airport waiting for a helicopter that never arrived. Although Iron Butterfly did get invited to play at one of the biggest rock concerts ever held when the classic line up reformed for a special show to celebrate 40 years of Atlantic Records with a show at New York's Madison Square Gardens in May 1988 in a show that also featured big selling acts such as Foreigner, Yes and a reformed Led Zeppelin.
With Iron Butterfly Dorman would also record the albums 'Ball' (1969), 'Live' (1970), 'Metamorphosis' (1970), by which time another guitarist, Larry Reinhardt had joined Iron Butterfly.
When the band broke up, Dorman and Reinhardt formed Captain Beyond with Rod Evans, the original singer from Deep Purple. Captain Beyond recorded three albums that reflected rock, Heavy Metal and jazz influences, with 'Captain Beyond' (72), 'Sufficiently Breathless' (73) and 'Dawn Explosion (77) and scored something of an FM hit with the song 'Sufficiently Breathless'.
Without Dorman, a new version of Iron Butterfly formed in 1974 and recorded albums without commercial success, although Dorman returned to Iron Butterfly in 1977 to play in various incarnations of the band on the live circuit. Although suffering from a history of heart problems Dorman was still performing right into 2012 along with Ron Bushy on the drums even if that meant he had to sit on a stool to fulfil his live duties.
As of 1988, he was living in Laguna Beach, leading boat cruises off Southern California and working as a bar manager.
He was born Douglas Lee Dorman in 1942 in St.Louis, Mo. and passed away 21st December 2012 in Laguna Niguel.