Sam Houston Andrew III
December 18, 1941-February 12, 2015
Sam Andrew, guitarist for Big Brother and the Holding Company, passed away yesterday from complications from open-heart surgery. Andrew was having the surgery done after he had suffered from a heart attack. Andrew was 73.
Andrew was one of the founding members of psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. The band formed in 1965, with Andrew, guitarist James Gurley, bassist Peter Ablin, and drummer Dave Goetz. The band also consisted of singer Chuck Jones, who was in the band briefly before being fired. The band found a new singer in Texas born singer Janis Joplin. With Joplin, the band soon took off. During his time in the band, Andrew was a interesting guitarist, as he had a background in playing classical and jazz music before becoming a rock guitarist. Big Brother were among the many bands that made up the West Coast psychedelic rock scene, along with other bands such as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Moby Grape. When Joplin left the band in late 1968, Andrew went along with her. With Joplin, they were able to form the Kozmic Blues Band- a group that would act as Janis' solo backing band. The group recorded 1969's I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again, Mama! before breaking up shortly afterwards. Andrew would rejoin Big Brother at various times during the next couple of decades, with the core of himself, Gurley, Ablin and Goetz in tact. Of the "classic" line-up of Big Brother, Andrew is the third to pass away- following Joplin in 1970 and Gurley in 2009.
I'm sad to hear of Sam Andrew's passing. I can't say I'm too surprised though: Big Brother's Facebook page had uploaded a picture of Sam in the hospital. Something like that stands out on one's news feed and it did have me a little concerned. The man was a great musician and it's just sad to hear.