Saturday, October 16, 2021

October 16 - Ronnie Tutt Died

Ronnie Tutt, the steady drummer behind Elvis for most of the seventies, died. He was 83. 

Thank you for the music Ronnie, it rocked! Rest in peace. 

Ronnie Tutt's wife, Donna, told TMZ, he died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Franklin, TN. She said Ronnie had a longtime heart condition and there was nothing more doctors could do.

"On the Drums from Dallas, Texas, is hard-working Ronnie Tutt" - Elvis Presley. 

"Here on earth, his drums are now silent. But from now on when you hear the thunder from above it’s going to have a distinct sound and rhythm." - Elvis Fan on Ronnie Tutt Facebook fan page.

Ronnie Tutt's daughter remembered her father on Facebook: "Humble, loving, talented, god loving, loving father and husband are all words that come to mind when describing my dad. He will live on through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We will hear him in music forever. He lived a great life and is is now released from his suffering. Rock n roll in heaven dad, miss you already! Love you always!".

Tutt was a member of the TCB Band, the core rhythm section of the late King of Rock and Roll's band, from August 1969 until the 'Hound Dog' hitmaker's death in 1977. Beginning the mid-Seventies — while still in the employ of Presley — Tutt became an in-demand touring and session drummer, spending two years in the first incarnation of the Jerry Garcia Band. After the TCB Band disbanded upon Elvis' death,at the age of 42 from a heart attack, Ronnie was invited by Neil Diamond to become his permanent concert and recording session drummer.

Ronnie said, "The two greatest music influences on my life were Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond. Elvis for the flashy, explosive, slightly out of control, style of playing that he needed and Neil for wanting the opposite and a very disciplined drummer."

In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone magazine Tutt talked about the differences between performing alongside Presley and Garcia, often in the same weekend.
“I’d always laugh because one night I’d be in Vegas playing with rhinestone two-piece outfits and the next night I’d be out with Garcia with the tie-dye and a pair of jeans. Socially speaking it was really different,” Tutt said

“Elvis’ music was a lot more in your face; you could never play enough. But with Jerry we never talked about it, but I just knew my role with that band, no matter what configuration it was, was to help keep it together.”

Tutt also reflected on his career - that spanned over 60 years - in the interview: “I just remember the good things, that’s for sure. You got to,” he said. “I just remember laughing a lot and having a good time musically, so I have nothing but good memories.”

Singer Neil Diamond wrote: Our dear friend and bandmate, the legendary Ron Tutt has passed away. It’s been my privilege to share the stage with Ronnie for more than 40 years. He was truly one of the all-time greats in Rock and Roll.  God bless you, Ronnie.  Your wonderful talent will live on as the backbeat to the music of our lives. Give my regards to Elvis, I’m sure he’s glad to get the band back together. We love you, Ronnie.  -Neil Diamond

Priscilla Presley wrote: "Rest In Peace my friend. Your sweet soul and great talent captured us all. Elvis always bragged how you intuitively could keep up with his stage moves. Even when he tried to trick you. :) My heart goes out to you Donna for your loss. And to the TCB band members, James and Glenn." - Priscilla Presley.

Guitarist James Burton wrote: We are in shock. Top of the list drummer, amazing work with any top recording artists and live shows.  

The James Burton and Friends show in Nashville, to our knowledge, was the last show that Ronnie played and it was truly an honor to have him give of his talents to the James Burton Foundation to give guitars to kids and vets.  His playing on this show was incredible! TCB.

Playing together over the years was so much fun, it was like a hand in a glove. We knew exactly how to play off each other.  

You bet I will always miss him!!!

The wonderful thing is that we know for sure Ronnie is in heaven with God and his family, Elvis and friends.  

What a joy for his family to have this knowledge and we love all of them so much.

The James Burton Family.

Bass-player Jerry Scheff posted: "Rest In Peace, Ronnie". 

Drummer Jerome Stump Monroe wrote: "Ronnie’s passing is devastating news. He was a mentor and friend. I will always miss him."

Graceland posted: "All of us were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ronnie Tutt. In addition to being a legendary drummer, he was a good friend to many of us here at Graceland. We enjoyed each time he joined us here to celebrate Elvis Week, Elvis’ Birthday and many other special occasions. Ronnie was an amazing ambassador to Elvis’ legacy – sharing his memories of working with Elvis with fans – as well as bringing Elvis’ music to arenas around the globe through later Elvis in Concert shows and performances. 

Ronnie Tutt played drums for Elvis as part of the TCB Band from 1969 until 1977. He was part of the original band put together by James Burton for Elvis’ 1969 Las Vegas opening – and stayed with Elvis until his death in 1977. Ronnie later toured with Neil Diamond's band. He also recorded and performed with the likes of Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Elvis Costello, Stevie Nicks, Michael McDonald, among others. 

Our hearts go out to Donna, his family, his fellow TCB Band members – and to his fans around the world. He will be deeply missed by all of us."

Singer Terry Blackwood wrote: "Ronnie Tutt passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family today around noon. He had a profound influence on every drummer who ever picked up sticks.  Not only was he an amazing drummer, he was a devoted husband to Donna, and a wonderful role model ufor his children. 
Please pray for Donna and the family as they process the loss of this beloved man. 
His was a life well lived by a man who I don’t think had an enemy in the world.
He’s resting now, at peace forever in the arms of God."

Linda Thompson wrote: "I have the fondest memories of one of the world’s greatest drummers EVER - and one of the nicest human beings, Ronnie Tutt! Ronnie was Elvis‘s drummer & friend for all the years I was with Elvis. Yesterday morning, in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by his loving family, the final beat of his heart joined the echo of Ronnie‘s drum beats that were heard around the world. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the beautiful Donna Tutt who was Ronnie’s loving wife & devoted life partner for 49 years!"

Larry Geller wrote: "Ronnie was a masterful drummer and a great guy. The world of music and the Elvis world have lost another iconic musician.  Once again, he's rocking with Elvis. May his memory be forever a blessing."

Paiste Cymbals posted: The Paiste family is saddened to hear the news of Ronnie Tutt's passing. A long time member of the Paiste family and a humble legend, Ron generously shared his stories and talent whenever he was around. Touring and recording with Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, Neil Diamond and many others, Ronnie was more than a support player, he was a feature. His dynamic playing influenced countless drummers and powered other musicians.  

We are honored to have known him.

(Source: Graceland / TMZ / Facebook / Rolling Stone / Wikipedia / Various other sources)