"Taylor" Kramer, bassist
The mysterious disappearance of one-time Iron Butterfly bassist
Philip "Taylor" Kramer, 42, has come to a tragic conclusion with
the May 29, 1999, discovery by hikers of his 1993 Ford Aerostar
van at the bottom of a Malibu, Calif., ravine. Skeletal remains
found inside and near the vehicle were confirmed through dental
records to be those of Kramer.
Kramer's Feb. 12, 1995, disappearance has been the subject of
numerous TV shows due both to his connection with Iron Butterfly
and his involvement with government projects, lending X-Files–like
conspiracy overtones to his vanishing. Unfortunately, most reports
have given the mistaken impression that he was with Iron Butterfly
during the band's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" days when in fact he
was only with the band during a mid-70s re-formation. Most
glaring (and high profile) of these shows is a segment on VH-1's
Where Are They Now? which, while purporting to be on the band
as a whole, devoted more than three and a half minutes out of the
five-minute segment to the Kramer mystery, never once mentioning
that Lee Dorman was the main Butterfly bassist during their classic
years. This was done in spite of Dorman being both interviewed
and shown performing on stage during the VH-1 show.
Kramer played in a number of bands in Ohio (including Max, with
future Dead Boy Stiv Bators) before moving to L.A. in the early
'70s. After working a number of odd jobs and even living on the
streets, he was asked to join an Iron Butterfly reunion by original
drummer and friend Ron Bushy, whom he'd been working with as
a prop builder at Warner Brothers Studios. Along with guitarist
Erik Braunn and keyboardist Howard Reitzes, they recorded
Scorching Beauty for MCA in 1974, followed by Sun And Steel
(with Bill DeMartines replacing Reitzes). Neither album was
particularly good, and while the band toured based on the strength
of the name (with Kramer singing "IAGDV"), the band folded in
1977. Kramer and Bushy formed a post-Butterfly group called
Gold and recorded an unreleased album during '78-'79. After that
stint Kramer quit the music business altogether.
Kramer immersed himself in schooling, studying engineering and
getting a job building radar equipment. He graduated from night
school with straight A's and got a job at Northrup, working on the
design of the MX missile. At the time of his disappearance, he had
reportedly discovered a mathematical formula that would allow
matter to travel faster than the speed of light. His involvement in
projects of this nature have led to theories that he was abducted or
What is known is that on Feb. 12, 1995, having spent an hour
waiting at Los Angeles International Airport for a business contact
who never arrived, he called both his wife and Ron Bushy from his
cell phone in his car, leaving Bushy a cryptic message about seeing
him "...on the other side." According to newspaper reports,
Kramer also called 911 just before noon that day and said he was
going to commit suicide. Despite this, family members believe he
could have been the victim of foul play.
Officials said that determining whether Kramer's death was a
suicide, murder or accident could take months.
remains may belong to missing rock musician
May 31, 1999
Web posted at: 11:47 AM
MALIBU, California (AP) -- Human remains found inside
the wreckage of
a minivan that plunged down a 200-foot ravine may be those of a rock
musician missing since 1995, police said.
The 1993 Ford Aerostar matches the description of a van driven by onetime
Iron Butterfly bass player Philip "Taylor" Kramer, who was believed to
driving his van when he disappeared February 12, 1995.
The remains were being examined by coroner's investigators Sunday,
authorities said. No identity has been released.
A hiker in the ravine discovered the skeleton late Saturday but investigators
were not able to recover the vehicle until daylight, said Los Angeles County
Sheriff's Deputy Bruce Thomas.
The ravine is located below a curving, two-lane road that is a popular
dumping ground for stolen cars, Thomas said.
It is not yet clear whether the driver died when the car went off the side
the road or whether foul play was involved.
Kramer, who was 42 when he disappeared, was last seen leaving his
Thousand Oaks-area home to pick up a friend at Los Angeles International
He joined a re-formed Iron Butterfly in 1975 as a singer and bass player.
The band, best known for its 17-minute smash hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" in
1969, had several incarnations with various band members over the years.
Kramer went on to work in aerospace and later became involved in
interactive media. At the time of his disappearance, he was chief technology
officer at Total Multimedia in suburban Newbury Park.
After he disappeared, his wife, Jennifer, said her husband "would never,
any reason or under any circumstances, allow himself to completely abandon
the family he loves more than life itself."