The thumping bass line of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida will likely rock a Dana Point bar Thursday night, when surviving members of Iron Butterfly salute their late bassist, Lee Dorman.
Martin "Martino" Gerschwitz, a surviving member of the 1960s group, is hosting the tribute at Hennessey's Tavern, an Iron Butterfly hangout in recent years. The memorial gig is scheduled to run between 8 p.m. and midnight.
Dorman, who joined the band in 1967, died Friday morning in Laguna Niguel. He was 70.
Gerschwitz, a former guitarist for The Animals, joined Iron Butterfly in 2005 as lead singer and guitarist. The group toured Europe last spring. In late '67, the psychedelic band turned an artistic corner and pioneered a new sound, later called heavy metal. Its debut album included -- as its entire "B side'' -- the 17-minute-long "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.''
AM rock stations ignored it at first, as the opus did not fit tight formats that had three-minute maximums.
But less-popular FM stations played "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'' in its full 17-minute version, launching the song -- and Dorman's bass beat -- into rock immortality. It spent 81 weeks on the Billboard charts. The top-40 AM stations reacted by playing a 2-minute, 53-second version of the song, which cut out drum solos and psychedelic chanting that sounded to many like an LSD trip gone wrong, or maybe right.
Dorman died in his car, according to the Orange County coroner's office. Dorman had a doctor's appointment and may have died en route, the agency said. No autopsy was planned, no foul play was suspected, and the cause of death was officially listed as natural causes.
As for Gerschwitz, he said he still lives in Laguna Niguel and plays regularly at Hennessey's. However, when he plays his regular gig tonight, it will be bittersweet. He told Laguna Niguel Patch he will be honoring and remembering his longtime friend Dorman.
"It will be my regular jam night, but since Lee Dorman's death last Friday, I'll dedicate it to his memory. We'll have plenty of special guests show up, many people who knew and loved him, and even played or at least jammed with him ... Lee deserves this, and waaaaay more."
There will be a private memorial later on sometime in January, but he doesn't have details yet, he added.
"Both of us are (or were) longtime Laguna Niguel or area residents. He had been down here for about 20 years or so, and I've been in the general area since 1993, so about the same amount of time," he said.
"I have plenty of fond memories of him, he was simply a wonderful guy, very supportive of people, and also everything I did - and in general a pleasure to be around."
Hennessey's is at 34111 La Plaza in Dana Point.
--City News Service contributed to this report