ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 18, 2011
Chuck Ruff–the guy with the coolest name ever who also played drums with the Edgar Winter Group during its mid-’70s heyday–passed away in San Francisco last Friday (October 14) after a long illness. He was 60 years old.
Ruff is best known for his shit-hot drumming on the 1973 EWG instrumental “Frankenstein”, a monster hit if ever there was one. He also played on the chart-topping single “Free Ride”, another track off the monumental They Only Come Out at Night album of ’72.
Before hooking up with Winter, Ruff was in the group Sawbuck with guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who also played on They Only Come Out at Night. I remember seeing them all on stage at the Pacific Coliseum back in ’73 or so, although what I recall most vividly about that gig was getting there late and only seeing opener UFO end its set with “Rock Bottom”. A pox on that one-hour road trip from Chilliwack!
Here’s a video of Ruff churning up the skins with Winter, guitar hero Rick Derringer, and bassist Dan Hartman, who went on to solo fame himself in the ’80s with the pop hit “I Can Dream About You”. It’s only nine minutes long or so. (We had plenty of time back then.)