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R.J. Vealey
R.J. Vealey
November 13, 1999
Age 37
 
Heart Attack 
 
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 Atlanta Rhythm Section Drummer Dead at 37
 
     ATLANTA (Reuters) - Atlanta Rhythm Section drummer R.J. Vealey died of a 
    heart attack at age 37 shortly after a performance by the southern rock group   
    in central Florida, the band's manager said Monday. 

     The group had finished a concert at the University of Central Florida in 
    Orlando on Saturday night, when Vealey, who joined the group four years 
     ago, suffered a massive heart attack, band manager Buddy Buie said. 

     ``R.J. came off the stage after the performance, which the band members 
    said was one of the best performances he'd played in a long time, and sat 
    up on the side of one of the trucks backstage and just slumped over,'' Buie 
    said. 

     Paramedics were unable to revive him. Buie said Vealey's death occurred on 
     his daughter's first birthday. 

     ``It's a tragic situation. We lost a great drummer,'' Buie said. 

     Vealey was a native of Charleston, West Virginia. 

     The Atlanta Rhythm Section has had six Top 20 hits in its 27-year career, 
    including ``So Into You'' in 1977. 

     The band released its 14th album, ``Eufala,'' in February. It was named 
    after the small town in Alabama where the group retreats for inspiration 
    and was the band's first studio album in 10 years. 

     The group's lead singer, Ronnie Hammond, spent four weeks in the hospital 
    after he was shot last December by a Macon, Georgia policeman he had 
     threatened with a hammer and part of an old guitar. Hammond, who has 
    battled alcoholism, later said he was trying to commit suicide and had been 
     drinking vodka ``for five days straight'' after weeks of depression.

 
    
        ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - R.J. Vealey, drummer for Atlanta Rhythm Section,  
      collapsed and died Saturday from a heart attack shortly after a performance.  
      He was 37.  

      Vealey studied music at West Virginia University and Ohio State University.  
      He received a fine arts scholarship at West Virginia, where he was a featured  
      soloist in the West Virginia University Jazz Ensemble.  

      Vealey performed at the 1984 Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington,  
      toured Japan with ``Percussion 80'' and won the outstanding soloist award at  
      Ohio State University.  

      After college, Vealey toured with the techno-dance band Fashion Reaction. He  
      also recorded with artists including Section Eight, Zaccaria, Tone Poets and  
      Stonefish.  

      Vealey joined the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1995. 
       

 
        
The Atlanta Rhythm Section Sadly Announces the
Sudden Death of Drummer R.J. Vealey 
 
                          ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 

                          R.J. Vealey  

                          1962-1999 The Atlanta Rhythm Section sadly announces the 
                          sudden death of drummer R.J. Vealey. The band was 
                          performing Saturday afternoon, November 13th, at the Fall 
                          Music Festival on the campus of the University of Central 
                          Florida in Orlando. R.J. collapsed backstage about ten 
                          minutes after the performance was completed. Paramedics 
                          were on site and were unable to revive him. An autopsy 
                          revealed that a massive heart attack was the cause of death. 
                          He is survived by his wife, Amy, and their two children. Rather 
                          than sending flowers, please consider making a contribution to 
                          the R.J. Vealey Memorial Fund through South Trust Bank, 
                          2920 North Druid Hills Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30329. 

                          R.J. had been racking up awards as a drummer/percussionist 
                          since his college years. Born in the quiet town of Charleston, 
                          West Virginia, R.J. grew up listening to classic rock artists 
                          like Jimmy Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and ARS in their 
                          formative years. He mastered his own drumming technique 
                          under musical influences such as Jim Keltner, Jeff Porcaro 
                          and Buddy Rich. After high school, he studied music at West 
                          Virginia University where he was the recipient of a fine arts 
                          scholarship. R.J. established his tremendous talents as the 
                          featured soloist in the West Virginia University Jazz 
                          Ensemble. Other accomplishments include: performing at the 
                          1984 Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., touring 
                          Japan with Yamaha-sponsored "Percussion 80," and winning 
                          the Outstanding Soloist Award at Ohio State University. 
                          Immediately after college, R.J. began touring with the 
                          techno-dance band Fashion Reaction. In between shows, he 
                          recorded with various acts such as Section Eight, Zaccaria, 
                          Tone Poets, Circle O'fifths and Stonefish. R.J. began his 
                          successful tenure with the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1995.

 
 
 
       
 

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