RIP: Gary Abbott, drummer with Kingsmen


Here’s something I just found out about. Gary Abbott, the second drummer with the Kingsmen, passed away recently.

Gary had a short run with the Kingsmen. He joined the band sometime after LOUIE LOUIE vocalist / guitarist Jack Ely and bassist Bob Nordby quit the band on August 16, 1963. There was a big falling out when Kingsmen drummer Lynn Easton told the rest of the band that he registered the name for himself, and decided to install himself as the new permanent lead singer of the band. Lynn also wanted Jack to be the permanent drummer. Jack decided this was unacceptable, and quit the band, along with Bob Nordby.

The Kingsmen enlisted Gary Abbott to play drums and Norm Sundholm to play bass, joining himself, Mike Mitchell and Don Gallucci for the new line-up.

I’m not sure how many gigs this variation of the Kingsmen performed, but I know they definitely performed a big show sometime October 1963 at the Chase nightclub, which was recorded live for the first Kingsmen album released by Wand Records. I believe Gary was also part of the Kingsmen when they did a three-week Midwest tour in December 1963.

Sometime after that tour, Dick Peterson replaced Gary Abbott on drums, and Barry Curtis replaced Don Gallucci on keyboards.

After that, I’m not really sure what happened to Gary Abbott. I never tracked him down for the LOUIE documentary, and there’s not much information I could find about him on the internet.

Thanks to the powers of internet social media, I was able to find out via Facebook that Gary passed away in his sleep on April 10th. Seventeen days later, Jack Ely passed away on April 27th.

I’m sorry I never had a chance to chat with Gary.

Rest in peace, Gary.


Gary Abbott’s Facebook page

11 comments to RIP: Gary Abbott, drummer with Kingsmen

  • Myndi Stalnaker

    Thank you for the write up. Gary went on to live a very happy life. He spent it with the love of his life, Shirley, and playing drums with multiple bands, including Main Squeeze. Gary was a dear friend of my family. He may not have left behind any children, but he helped raise my brothers and I. He was like an Uncle to me. The best human being, along with his wife, that I’ve ever known. He’s surely Missed by the Portland Blues scene, even more so by his friends and loved ones.

  • Westside

    He was my neighbor he was my friend and excellent drummer one of the best. Shirley is great for being a part of his life. Nothing more to say except the little things that made him one great character to be around. The nicest man to be around any time.

  • John Stuart

    Was Gary in the Navy in 1965? My uncle said he was in basic training with a member of the Kingsmen, but I never found out which member it was. History of the band members’ tells me it had to have been either Gary or Bob Nordby (Don Gallucci at 16 or 17 – hard to say, may have been too young).

  • Tim Daren

    Any word if Gary was in the Navy around 1965? My uncle claimed he was in Navy boot camp with a member of the Kingsmen. Through my research, I’ve ruled almost all the other members out. Anyone know?

  • EP

    Was Gary in boot camp with another member of the Kingsmen? I know Jack Ely, the original vocalist, was drafted in 1966 while he was touring with the Courtmen, but I believe he was in the US Army.

  • Susan King

    Gary was not in the Navy. He spent a very short period of time in the Army and was released. I was friends with Gary in the early 70’s as he was roommates with a couple of us, for a couple of years. He was my good friend and I loved him dearly. We lost track of him over the years, when I moved to Canada, and eventually to So Cal. I am so very sorry to hear of his passing. But I am so happy to hear that he was married and well loved and fulfilled with family connections.

  • Ronal Seco

    Hello guys. I’m a neighbor of Shirlee. And she was very pleased to hear the comments about her late husband as I read hem to her. It brought lots of Happy memories and tears. Thanks you on behalf of Shirlee.

  • EP

    Best wishes to Shirlee. I’m so glad this webpage provided some joy!

  • Norman

    I was in Army Basic Training with Gary at Fort Ord California. We started in May 1964 and graduation was July 1964. I played acoustic guitar a few times there and Gary played drums with his hands on a butt can turned upside down. We did play Louie Louie.

  • John Wuitschick

    When I was in high school, I worked with Gary at a clothing store in Lloyd Center (Portland, Oregon). I believe that the years were 1977-1979. He was a good mentor to a kid trying to do well in his first job. I enjoyed being around Gary a great deal. he taught me to love rock and roll and to follow your musical dreams. I ended up playing the guitar and the keyboard. Thanks Gary. Rest in peace. Rock On.

  • Brad Anderson

    Gary did a short strech in OSP for Negligent Homicide. He was driving while high on PCP and launched his Corvett into the second story bedroom of a house and killed a person sleeping.

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