LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Gurley, the brilliant lead guitarist for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the psychedelic rock band that propelled Janis Joplin to fame, has died in California at age 69.
Surviving members of Big Brother said Gurley died Sunday in a Palm Springs hospital after suffering a heart attack.
Peter Albin, one of the band’s founding members, called Gurley one of the most influential musicians of the psychedelic era that emerged from the San Francisco music scene in the mid-1960s.
Gurley melded a wild, self-taught finger-picking style with a creative genius for customizing electric guitars and amplifiers. Albin says Gurley revolutionized lead guitar sounds and influenced practically every other guitarist of the era.
Gurley died two days before his 70th birthday. He is survived by his wife and two sons.