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Subject: 9th anniversary of Carl Bunch passing away

Randy Steele
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Date Posted: Thu March 26, 2020 14:03:42

It was nine years ago today that Carl Bunch passed away, Carl had played drums for Buddy Holly on his final tour. At the time of his death, Carl was 71 years old.

In November of 1958, Buddy Holly split with his band mates,The Crickets. Sometime in December, Holly accepted an offer to headline the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour. He then asked his trusted friend and fellow musician Tommy Allsup to help him assemble a band and Tommy contacted Carl. He had been playing with Richard L. Porter and The Poorboys and soon he became Buddy's drummer.

The 1959 Winter Dance Party was a tour from hell. The artists, which included Buddy Holly and his new band (Tommy Allsup, Carl Busch, and Waylon Jennings), Dion and The Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, Frankie Sardo, and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson, traveled in subzero temperatures across the frozen Midwest in converted school buses. As a result, the buses were constantly breaking down. The boys were forced to change bases seven times in just eleven days.

After the January 31, 1959 show in Duluth, MN., Carl Bunch was hospitalized with frostbitten feet. He didn’t know it at the time, but that hospitalization saved his life. The WDP continued without Carl with artists trading off on drumming duties. Buddy Holly and Richie Valens even played drums. Fed up with the horrendous conditions, the artists were tired and restless. After a performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 2, 1959, Buddy Holly chartered a small plane to take his band to the next stop on the tour.

Sometime during the show at the Surf, the Big Bopper convinced Waylon Jennings to give up his seat on the plane and just before they headed to the airport, Tommy Allsup and Richie Valens flipped a coin for his seat and 17 year old Richie won the toss and the seat. The plane took off from the Mason City Airport around 12:55 a.m. and crashed around 1:03 a.m., killing Holly, Valens, Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson. Carl Bunch rejoined the tour two days after the crash.

Carl continued to play music throughout his life. He married, had a family, and became a strong follower of Christian faith. He was gentle and kind, and a pure delight to be around and was a favored artist of music fans. He shared great stories of his time around the WDP artists and many others.

All who knew Carl were deeply honored to call him a friend.

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Subject Author Date
Re: 9th anniversary of Carl Bunch passing awayRoddy JordanThu March 26, 2020 22:10:45
Re: 9th anniversary of Carl Bunch passing awayMulliganFri March 27, 2020 06:15:11

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