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Buddy Holly Appreciation Society of Ontario

Carl Bunch

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Buddy's Drummer on The Winter Dance Party. (One of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet)

Carl Bunch 2002 at The Surf Ballroom,Clear Lake

LANCASTER, Calif. - Carl Bunch, 71, a drummer for Buddy Holly and the Crickets, died March 26 at Antelope Valley Hospital, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He died of complications from diabetes, his family said.

Bunch was in the hospital with frostbite when Holly and other members of the Winter Dance Party Tour were killed in a 1959 plane crash near Clear Lake.

Bunch, then 19, thought of the tour as an audition for a permanent position with the band, he told The Times in 1993.

He joined the tour weeks before the tour bus broke down Feb. 1, 1959, in a Wisconsin snowstorm, and he ended up with frostbitten feet.

Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "the Big Bopper" Richardson died two days later in a plane crash following their appearance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. Pilot Roger Peterson also died in the crash.

Bunch, along with Waylon Jennings and Tommy Alsup, were enlisted by Holly to join him on the tour when the original Crickets broke with Holly.

Bunch said he was still in the hospital when his mother called to find out if he was returning to the tour, when he talked to the Globe Gazette in 2009, one of several appearances he made during visits to the Surf Ballroom in later years.

"I said ‘I'm thawed out, I'm going back,' " Bunch said. "She said, ‘You haven't heard?' And then she told me."

"They rolled me back to my room, and I just laid there," he said.

Bunch rejoined the tour for its final days and then joined the Army. He later played for a time with Roy Orbison and Hank Williams Jr.

He was born Nov. 24, 1939, in Big Springs, Texas.

He and his wife, Dorothy, were the parents of three children.

Services will be held Sunday in Lancaster, Calif.

Brian Wilson
7 Brimley Rd S.
Toronto   (647) 500-3982