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August 11, 1950|
Pekin, Illinois, United States
July 25, 2003 (aged 52)|
Los Angeles, California
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, acid rock, hard rock, instrumental|
|Flintwhistle, Iron Butterfly, The Paper Fortress|
Erik Keith Brann (born Rick Davis; August 11, 1950 - July 25, 2003), also known as Erik Braunn, was an American guitarist with the 1960s acid rock band Iron Butterfly. He is featured on the band's greatest hit, the 17-minute In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), recorded when he was 17.
A Boston, Massachusetts native and a violinist, Brann was accepted as a child into the prodigy program at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but was soon lured away to become a rock guitarist, joining first Paper Fortress, then Iron Butterfly at 17. He played with Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle from late 1967 to December 1969. The first album from this lineup, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, sold over 30 million copies, was awarded the first platinum award and stayed on the Billboard magazine charts for nearly three years. With arrangement assistance from Dorman, Brann wrote the song "Termination", which was featured on the album. He also provided the lead vocal for the track.
The album's mini-bio, written when he was 17, tells of an acting ambition he once had, clothing and food preference and the ease with which rock 'n roll artists were able to arrange sexual encounters (usually with groupies). It reads: "Although music has always been his one great love, Erik studied drama and before joining the Butterfly, his acting ability had landed him the lead role in a local play. ...Erik hopes to, one day, continue in the acting field. Right now, however, his only concern is the Iron Butterfly, turtleneck sweaters, bananas and the fairer sex."
In 1970, Brann and former Iron Butterfly member Darryl DeLoach, formed Flintwhistle. This band performed live for about a year before breaking up. Between 1972 and 1973, Brann worked solely in the studio on various demos. In 1973, he recorded a couple demos with MCA Records which can be found on bootleg sites. Notable songs from these demos include early versions of "Hard Miseree", "Am I Down", and "Scorching Beauty". In 1974, he was contacted by a promoter about reforming Iron Butterfly, so he reunited with Ron Bushy to form a new version of the group, signing with MCA. The 1975 LP Scorching Beauty featured Brann on guitars and vocals, Bushy on drums, Philip Taylor Kramer (Bushy's friend) on bass and Erik's friend Howard Reitzes (who worked in a music store frequented by Brann) on keyboards. The band also released Sun and Steel in late 1975 with Bill DeMartines replacing Reitzes on keyboards. Neither album sold well, and the band disbanded shortly afterward (around summer 1977).
Between 1979 and 1990, Brann occasionally reunited with Iron Butterfly for concerts. He died in 2003 of a cardiac arrest related to a birth defect that he had struggled with for years.