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Old 02-24-2003, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default R.I.P. Howie Epstein

Howie Epstein died today. He was 47.

"We are deeply saddened at the news of Howie’s passing. It’s difficult to put into words how much we loved him and will miss him. The world has lost a great talent and a kind and gentle soul. We can only take solace in knowing he is now at peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Judging from what he was kicked out of the band for, I can probably guess what the cause of death was, but it doesn't make his death any less sad.
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:52 PM   #2
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That sucks. R.I.P.
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:54 PM   #3
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That's a shame. RIP.
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Old 02-24-2003, 10:31 PM   #4
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More information:

Former Petty Bassist Epstein Dies

By Chris Morris
Billboard

Howie Epstein, 47, former bassist for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, died at a hospital in Santa Fe, N.M. late Monday night. Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano says that while the cause of Epstein's death was as yet undetermined, the musician had been transported to the hospital by a female companion who told police that Epstein had been using heroin, and had also been taking prescription antibiotics for an illness.

"We are deeply saddened at the news of Howie's passing," reads a statement from Petty & the Heartbreakers. "It's difficult to put into words how much we loved him and will miss him. The world has lost a great talent and a kind and gently soul. We can only take solace in knowing he is now at peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends."

Epstein played with the Heartbreakers from 1982, when he replaced original bassist Ron Blair, until last year; at that time, the band said it had parted company with him "because of his ongoing personal problems." In 2001, Epstein and his then-girlfriend, singer Carlene Carter, were arrested in New Mexico after three grams of heroin were found in the couple's car.
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Old 02-26-2003, 02:42 PM   #5
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Default Almost definitely an overdose.

You hate to say "I called it" when it comes to something like this, but I actually knew this was going to happen when he got kicked out of the band.

Howie Epstein Dies

Bassist played with Tom Petty for twenty years

By Andrew Dansby
Rolling Stone

Howie Epstein, who played bass and sang for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers between 1982 and 2002, died in a New Mexico hospital on February 23rd; he was forty-seven.

Epstein was brought to the Santa Fe hospital by an unidentified female companion, who reportedly said he had been using heroin. A cause of death has not yet been given, but Epstein had battled substance abuse problems for years. Last May Petty and the Heartbreakers replaced him with Ron Blair (the band's original bassist whom Epstein took over for twenty years ago) for a summer tour, due to "his ongoing personal problems." Among those problems was a June 2001 arrest in Albuquerque in which Epstein and then-girlfriend Carlene Carter were picked up for driving a stolen sports utility vehicle and possession of black tar heroin. Carter claimed the drugs belonged to her, but that charge was dropped along with charges of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, levied against both.

"We are deeply saddened at the news of Howie's passing," a statement from Petty and the Heartbreakers said. "It's difficult to put into words how much we loved him and will miss him. The world has lost a great talent and a kind soul. We can only take solace in knowing he is now at peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends."

Born in Milwaukee in 1955, Epstein's first big break came playing bass for John Hiatt in the late-Seventies, appearing on the singer-songwriter's 1980 release, Two Bit Monsters, a year before he jojined Del Shannon on the rock legend's 1981 album Drop Down and Get Me. By 1982, he was the new guy in the Heartbreakers, a job he would hold for two decades, playing bass and adding background vocals starting with 1982's Long After Dark through 1999's Echo. Petty also kept Epstein close-by for his two solo releases, 1989's Full Moon Fever and 1994's Wildflowers. He also made guest spots, playing bass on albums by Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon and Stevie Nicks in the Eighties.

Epstein also came into his own as a producer in the Nineties, displaying a knack for creating rural pop as catchy as it was rootsy. Though Epstein was active with the Heartbreakers in the early-Nineties, perhaps his best work was jump-starting a pair of stalled roots-rock careers. He recorded three well-regarded albums for Carlene Carter, coaxing her back from a seven-year hiatus with 1990's I Fell in Love. He also worked similar magic for singer-songwriter John Prine. Epstein produced Prine's 1991 comeback record, The Missing Years, one of his finest albums and his first in five years, as well as its follow-up, Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings.

"Howie Epstein was a kind, patient, and extremely talented musician," said Prine. "He took two years out of his life and dedicated his undivided attention to the making of two of my records. Those records changed my life thanks to Howie."

Epstein joined Petty and the Heartbreakers last March when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the event also featured the band's reunion with Blair, who two months later would take over full-time, playing on the band's fall release, The Last DJ. "It's sad," Petty said at the time of Epstein's departure from the Heartbreakers. "We all feel bad about it. [But] it just had to happen."

(February 25, 2003)
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Old 02-26-2003, 05:02 PM   #6
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Awww. RIP.

What's really sad is that it's probably yet another life lost to drug and substance abuse. That's way too common.
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Old 02-28-2003, 06:34 PM   #7
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that's sad R.I.P. he played on some of Stevie's songs too.
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Old 02-28-2003, 09:11 PM   #8
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I was wondering whatever happened to Carlene Carter! It is always a mystery to me why someone so beautiful, talented and successful would get involved in stuff like this!(She is June Carter Cash's daughter)
Stupidity I guess!?
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Old 03-03-2003, 03:47 PM   #9
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Carlene Carter Remembers Heartbreaker

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Country singer Carlene Carter said her longtime boyfriend, Howie Epstein, will be remembered for "many years of great memories, music and laughter."

Epstein, a former bass player for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, died Febrary 23 in Santa Fe, N.M., of what authorities suspect was a drug overdose. He was 47.

"My heart's only hope is that he's found peace and joy, and his soul is flying free," Carter said Thursday.

Epstein was a respected musician and producer for more than 20 years. In addition to his work with Petty, he played on some of Bob Dylan's albums in the 1980s and produced a Grammy-winning album for folk singer-songwriter John Prine.

He was Carter's longtime boyfriend, producing two of her albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy.

Carter, 47, is the stepdaughter of country singer Johnny Cash and daughter of June Carter Cash, who also released a statement about Epstein's death Thursday.

"This has been such a shock to have lost Howie Epstein. We loved him and appreciated him for his creativity," they said.

Epstein and Carter were arrested in June 2001 in Albuquerque, N.M., with 2.9 grams of black-tar heroin and drug paraphernalia in a vehicle that had been reported stolen.

Epstein was not charged in that case. Carter pleaded no contest to a charge of heroin possession and was sentenced to 18 months probation.
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