Dale “Buffin” Griffin, drummer and founding member of ’70s glam rock band Mott the Hoople, died in his sleep Sunday following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 67 years old. Band manager Peter Purnell confirmed Griffin’s death to the BBC, adding that the drummer was “one of the nicest, friendliest and most talented men I have ever known”. Griffin’s death comes just a week after the passing of David Bowie, who wrote and produced Mott the Hoople’s biggest hit, “All the Young Dudes.”
After performing in a series of bands in his native Herefordshire, Griffin along with bassist Pete Overend Watts, organist Verden Allen, singer / guitarist Ian Hunter and guitarist Mick Ralphs officially formed Mott the Hoople – named after a novel by Willard Manus – in 1969. After a series of albums that were modestly received both commercially and critically, Mott the Hoople was on the verge of breaking up when Bowie, a fan of the band, offered them a pair of songs. to save. After rejecting his “Suffragette City,” Mott the Hoople opted to record “All the Young Dudes,” which became the title track on the LP produced by Bowie in 1972. The hit single was named one of 500 Rolling Stone’s greatest songs of all time.
Mott the Hoople continued for a few years before Allen, Hunter, and Ralphs left the group. Augmented by replacements like Spiders of Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, Griffin and Watts continued under the Mott moniker. After releasing two albums under this name, following another round of composition changes, Griffin and Watts recorded music under the name British Lions. However, in 1980, Mott the Hoople and its offshoots were officially dissolved.
Almost 30 years later, in 2009, Hunter announced that the five founding members of Mott the Hoople would meet for a series of performances in the UK; Sadly, Griffin, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, was unable to attend the reunion concerts, although he did attend the recalls portion. “All he ever wanted was for his beloved Mott The Hoople to reform and it was his determination that achieved this feat in 2009, but unfortunately at that point he was too sick. to perform on all five sold-out dates – although he joined the group for recalls, ”Purnell told the BBC.
“Before, I was fearless, but Alzheimer’s disease stopped me dead. It’s my ugly little bug and I have to fight to keep it from controlling me, ”Griffin said during a 2010 Alzheimer Society campaign (via The Telegraph). “Alzheimer’s disease has kept me from doing a lot of the things I love – like reading and writing – but I try to stay as relaxed and laid back as possible. It is really important that people “remember the person” and look beyond a person’s diagnosis of dementia. A lot of old friends are avoiding me now because they don’t know what to say, which is really hurtful. I just wish they would realize that inside I’m still the same old ‘Buffin’ I’ve always been.
Throughout the ’80s and’ 90s Griffin was also a producer on some of John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 sessions; one of these sessions, an October 1990 studio visit to Nirvana, led to Incesticide tracks “Molly’s Lips” and “Son of a Gun” (originally by Vaselines) as well as a cover of “Turnaround” by Devo.