Roy Loney, a founding member of the great Flamin’ Groovies, passed away at the age of 73. According to his girlfriend, Viavian Altmann, the cause of death was severe organ failure. Loney died on Friday, Dec. 13, at the CPMC Davies Campus.
The band expresses their suddenness in a post on Facebook Page and San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX 5. “We are all deeply saddened and stunned to learn that our dearest friend and bandmate, Roy Loney, passed away this morning,” the group wrote.
“Roy was one of a kind. He was unique as a vocalist and a tremendous songwriter,” said former guitarist James Ferrell, who joined the subsequent band Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers. “His songs always rocked. The man knew his way around three chords.”
“The Groovies were the most ferocious rock band to come out of San Francisco in the psychedelic era,” another member from the Phantom Movers, Maurice Tani said. “Roy had this sense of purity about his musical vision that I found illuminating at the time. He didn’t look like a rock star, but he acted like a rock star.”
Led by Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan, Flamin’ Groovies was founded in San Francisco in 1965. During the time when psychedelic music was all the rage in Bay Area, the band first rose to fame because of their distinctive style of rock & roll and vintage R&B.
In 1967, Flamin’ Groovies self-released their first recording, a 10-inch EP called Sneakers. After two years of polishing, the band released their sophomore album in 1969, Supersnazz, which enjoyed a large amount of positive reviews at that time. By the end of 1971, Loney had quit the band because he and Jordan were at odds over the band’s musical ideas. Since then, Loney started to pursue his solo career. His solo album didn’t release until 1979, seven years after he left Flamin’ Groovies. The Flamin’ Groovies in Person, a collection of the band’s live performances, captures Loney’s last shows with Flamin’ Groovies at the peak of their form. Loney’s most recent album was 2009’s Got Me A Hot One! with Señor No.