He was 77, according to Rolling Stone.
The band’s manager and one-time producer, Skip Taylor, confirmed on Canned Heat’s Facebook that Taylor died Monday, August 19th at his home in Lake Balboa, California after a 12-year battle with cancer.
Taylor, known by his nickname “The Mole,” joined Canned Heat in 1967, two years after the band’s formation, and helped form what most fans and critics consider their “classic lineup” through 1970. That group played at the 1969 Woodstock Festival and 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, recording a mixture of originals (including their flute-tinged hit “Going Up the Country”) and blues covers in the studio.
He began his career as a teenager, touring with Jerry Lee Lewis; he then became a regular studio bassist for the Monkees, appearing on many of the group’s albums, including their self-titled 1966 debut (which features the hit “Last Train to Clarksville” and “(Theme From) The Monkees”).
Prior to joining Canned Heat, he worked as a session musician for artists like Albert King, Solomon Burke, Buddy Guy, JJ Cale, Ry Cooder, Harvey Mandel and Charlie Musselwhite, according to the Facebook statement. His discography also includes sessions with John Lee Hooker, John Mayall, John Hammond Jr. and Tom Waits (including his acclaimed records Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs). Onstage, he was a fixture in Waits’ touring band on upright bass.