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DIFFERENT DRUMMER: Dennis Dragon (1947 – 2017)

DIFFERENT DRUMMER: Dennis Dragon (1947 – 2017)

Chemtrail conspiracist, Gump-class ping pong talent, waterman, dedicated Frisbista, long-time Malibu resident, raconteur, hair farmer, dude dresser and drummer/writer/producer, Grammy Award-winning founder of The Surf Punks – Dennis Dragon’s talent carved the widest of arcs – from the 1950s to the 21st Century: creative, funny, kind, prolific, eccentric, a lover and a giver.

So why would someone shoot him? Why would someone want to kill Dennis Dragon, which is apparently what happened on the night of Monday, September 25 near a pond outside of Pacifica Studio in Williams, Oregon – out in the middle of a dark autumn night, in an obscure part of southern Oregon, far from Malibu and a lot of friends and loved ones.

The news of Dennis Dragon’s death first appeared on Facebook. Three days later, details were sketchy and mostly based on local rumor around Williams and on the Internet. But the truth is, Dennis Dragon died of a gunshot wound near a pond outside of Steve Miller’s former recording studio in Williams, Oregon and no one knew why.

Judging by the reactions on Facebook – before all the details were known – Dragon’s sudden departure was abrupt but in character:

Tay Uhler posted: Spoke to Denny 3 days ago. We always kept in touch since 1961. Malibu, surfing, music, surf punks, recording and most of all laughing our asses off. Unexpected but he left a lot of joy for lots of people. RIP

Jeff Hronek posted: total bummer. dennis was a great. i remember many times he and brit would paddle out at dume, dennis with no wetsuit on his boogie and in the middle of winter, classic style !!! RIP homeslice

Vince Herman posted: Well said brother, he was a unique interpretation of what it means to be a human. I treasure our time together also

Keith Goldsmith posted: Played guitar for some of the Dragon’s projects with the three Ds; Dennis, Doug and Daryl, including Dennis’ soundtracks for Hal Jepsen and some other band demo tapes. We always recorded up at one of his studios in Malibu, with better-than-Hollywood equipment. I am on “A Sea For Yourself,” a couple songs. There was no better drummer, engineer etc. ever. RIP DD My sympathies to the Dragon family.

Charles Button posted: I leased his current studio with him for a year recently and we did a lot of work together. Shocked saddened and he will be missed he was a very unique individual highly talented. And a great drummer.

Dennis Dragon was born January of 1947 into a musical family of five children, all of them inheriting prolific musical talent from their father Carmen Dragon, a Hollywood symphony conductor/orchestrator and mother Eloise, a soprano singer.

Carmen Dragon has a long list of credits as a composer on IMDB, covering 20 years from 1941 to 1961. Carmen Dragon conducted the Hollywood Bowl for 10 years and the Capitol Symphony Orchestra. Carmen conducted the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, and several British television series, and he was a guest conductor for a number of American symphony orchestras.

Music was a thing in the Dragon family: Brother Doug (1939 – ) is a pianist now living on Maui; sister Kathy (1951 – 2013) was a flutist and founder of the Carmen Dragon Music Library; sister Carmen (1948 – 2010) was a harpist and brother Daryl (1942 – ) is a keyboard wizard and the Captain in the Captain and Tennille – one of the most popular acts of the 1970s, selling millions of records with a long string of hits: Love Will Keep Us Together, Muskrat Love, Shop Around, The Way I Want to Touch You, Do That To Me One More Time.

In 1975, Dennis Dragon engineered The Captain and Tennille’s first album, which won Record of the Year for Love Will Keep Us Together. And it was Dennis twirling knobs and pushing sliders for most of the Captain and Tennille’s recordings – and many others from the 1960s in Malibu, all the way into the 21st Century in Williams.

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1 Comment

  1. I really liked Dennis. He always had a good, happy vibe. I’m sad and confused by his death. The Malibu Times is reporting that he committed suicide. But this blog reports that he was murdered. Tragic either way.


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