BRADENTON -- One of the areas most successful rock musicians has passed.
Former Iron Butterfly and Captain Beyond guitarist Larry Rhino Reinhardt died Monday around 5:30 p.m. at Manatee Memorial Hospital.
The Manatee County native and resident was 63 years old.
Tracey Hooper, Reinhardts significant other for the past eight years, said Tuesday he died of sclerosis of the liver and complications from that.
Reinhardt was on life support, she said, and taken off in accordance with the specifications of his living will.
He had a love for music and when he couldnt play guitar he was depressed, Hooper said. His love of music was everything.
Reinhardt can be heard on Iron Butterflys 1970 album Metamorphosis. It reached No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and produced the hit single Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way).
Two years later, Reinhardt cofounded Captain Beyond, which released a self-titled album on famed Southern rock label Capricorn Records in 1972 and another, Sufficiently Breathless, in 1973.
The groups final release, Dawn Explosion, came out on One Way Records/Warner Bros. four years later. All three albums cracked the Billboard 200, with Sufficiently Breathless reaching No. 90.
Captain Beyond has a rather legendary status in the ranks of hard 70s rock, reads a review from AllMusic.com.
Although Iron Butterfly broke up in 1971, Reinhardt participated in several reunion tours across the United States and Europe until the mid-1990s that always included marathon renditions of the bands epic 1968 hit In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
When he wasnt with that group, Reinhardt played with Captain Beyond, which also experienced numerous rebirths until 1998.
Reinhardt began his career in the 1960s performing around Bradenton and Sarasota before he relocated to Jacksonville to play with future Allman Brothers Band members Dickey Betts (guitar/vocals) and Berry Oakley (bass) in the group Second Coming, which later featured Richard Price on bass.
Reinhardt and Price, who is most famous for his work with Lucinda Williams, would perform together again during the past decade in the band Blue Swamp. The two men spoke shortly before Reinhardts death.
He was a great friend and had a great sense of humor, Price said Tuesday from his home in Sarasota. He was always there if you needed him.
Price considers Reinhardt one of the best guitarists of his generation.
Hes truly in the top 10 of greatest Southern rock, psychedelic, blues-rock players, Price said. Hes up there with all the great rock players of his time.
By 2004, Reinhardt had teamed with his old pal Mack Doss, who had been a member of Classics IV, which are most famous for the 1968 smash Spooky.
Doss-Rhino played places like the Cortez Kitchen, Gregos in Palma Sola and D Coy Ducks on Holmes Beach. Although those stages were far from the large venues of yesteryear, the former schoolmates at Orange Ridge Elementary School, who are now enshrined in the Florida Legends of Rock & Roll, were just happy to be performing together again.
We hadnt seen each other in probably 20 years, and we picked up our guitars and it was like yesterday, Reinhardt told the Herald in 2004. The same spirit, everything.
Reinhardts father, Walter, had a country band, Moose Reinhardt and the Mavericks, and he owned four music stores.
Half the musicians in this town probably wouldnt have had guitars if it werent for my dad. He gave everybody credit, Reinhardt said for the same 2004 Herald piece. My dad bought me a guitar, so I wouldnt play his. After that, I knew what I wanted to do.
Reinhardt, a 1966 Southeast High School grad, formed Rhino and the Posse and released his final album, Back in the Day, about a year ago.
In addition to playing lead guitar, he wrote all of the songs. Don Bonzi joined him on guitar. The rest of the posse consisted of members from Betts Great Southern group: Mike Kach (vocals/keyboards), Frankie Lombardi (drums/vocals) and Pedro Arevalo (bass).
He was so excited when he was writing songs for that album, Kach said Tuesday. It was amazing the amount of enthusiasm he had for his music and playing music.
Kach added, He was a really good friend with a big heart and great sense of humor and a very caring man. And he was a great storyteller. In the studio he would tell us all these great stories about the good ol days.
Friends are planning a celebration of Reinhardts life in the near future.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Visit heraldbuzzworthy.blogspot.com. Herald archives contributed to this report.