Anniversary Of A Heartbreakers Death

02/23/2011
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On this day in 2003, Howie Epstein, bassist with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, died of a suspected drug overdose in New Mexico. He had replaced The Heartbreakers' original bassist Ron Blair. Epstein also worked with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Linda Ronstadt and Del Shannon. Gibson takes a look back:

Although Howie Epstein wasn't one of the founding members of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, he quickly became an integral part of the band after joining in the early '80s. The bassist was present for Petty's most commercially successful period, playing both on full band releases and on the singer's "solo" records. Keyboardist Benmont Tench called Howie "the coolest guy in the band."

Epstein was born on July 21, 1955 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He began playing musical instruments at a young age, growing up under the influence of his father Sam, who was a record producer. Sam produced some of the Midwest's top rock and soul groups in the '50s and '60s. As a result, Howie became entrenched in Milwaukee's music community, getting to know the local acts and going with his dad to shows. As he got older, Howie convinced Sam to let some of those groups serve as backing bands on his own recordings. more on this story

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