Black Death Drummer Phil Bullard Passes Away
BLACK DEATH drummer PHIL BULLARD passed away of colon cancer on February 6, 2008 at age 59. Bullard is survived by two daughters (Philicia and Earlicia), four grandchildren (Warren, Curstie, Curtis and Julian) and two sisters (Nicola Ammons and Roberta).
Black Death was a four piece heavy metal band from Cleveland, Ohio founded in 1977. The band consisted of lead vocalist/guitarist Siki Spacek, guitarist Greg Hicks, bassist Darrell Harris and Bullard on drums. They are considered to be the first all-black heavy metal band from the U.S. "A great guy who kept us all in line," comments guitarist Greg Hicks.
"There never would have been a Black Death without Phil. He had the fire. There was chemistry from the first time we played." Adds former Black Death manager Bob Surgent, "I am privileged to have known Phil as a friend and worked with him in Black Death. I know he's playing drums with HENDRIX. Tears run red."
Black Death had two songs featured on the 1983 Cleveland Metal compilation album and released one self-titled full length album and 7" on Auburn Records in 1984 before fading into obscurity in the late '80s. A double-CD reissue of their original album, with bonus tracks, is near completion and set to be released by Auburn Records this summer. "Phil and I worked very closely together back in the Black Death years," says Auburn Records president Bill Peters. "He was always a first class professional, a great drummer, hard worker and loyal friend. Phil was the person behind the scenes who kept the band together during both the good and bad times . He always looked at the bright side of things regardless of the challenges and circumstances we all faced. He never changed and had the same positive energy today with his new project. His smile and laugh will be missed."
Up until his illness forced him to stop playing late last year, Bullard was drumming for Cleveland metal band MANDRAKE, which features guitarist Mike Greene, former Black Death guitarist Greg Hicks on bass and guitarist/vocalist Tim Greene (ex-DESTINATION/NIGHTCRAWLER). The band plans on finding a new drummer and continuing in Bullard's honor. "I feel blessed to have played 3 years with such a great guy," says Mike Greene. "When Phil joined the band, it was all about the music. No drama. Just best friends and band mates."
Greene won a contest for a vacation to Montana last year and invited Bullard. "That trip really meant a lot to Phil," says Greene. "I am so glad I was able to do that for him before he left us. He told me he had not had a vacation away from home since his two war tours of 'Nam and that really did not count."
Greg Hicks adds, "Phil brought me on board in Mandrake to play bass with him towards the end. I had not played bass since the early 80s and was unsure at first but Phil felt strongly we would work good together. A straight shooter who did not want anyone to feel bad for him. Looking back I now know why he wanted me to play with him for the last time. I did not realize at the time. He covered up his illness from his closest friends and fought his battle courageously. He will definitely be missed".
Mandrake's 'Fires Of Hell' video (with Phil Bullard on drums) can be viewed below:
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