By Adam Waldman
On March 22, 2017, original Boston drummer Sib Hashian collapsed mid-performance on the Legends Of Rock Cruise. After the collapse, he was treated with CPR and an onboard defibrillator to no avail. The drummer, known as much for his tremendous afro of the ‘70s as he is for being the driving force behind the kit on Boston’s first two albums, died on the cruise. This isn’t the first time that tragedy has struck Boston in the month of March. A decade ago (on March 9, 2007), original frontman Brad Delp committed suicide (at least in part due to the breakup of the band). The cause of Hashian’s death is yet to be determined, but his family believes that he suffered a heart attack. If this tragedy has a familiar ring to it, it’s because this isn’t the first time that a musician has died aboard a rock cruise.
On January 23, 2016, former Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain died in his sleep aboard Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria On The High Seas’ cruise. Bain, who had battled addiction (but was clean for the 18 months leading up to his death) was scheduled to play with his latest band (Last In Line). While sudden death from a heart attack (like Hashian) is not that uncommon, the cause of Bain’s death was determined to be lung cancer that was never even diagnosed. He had been battling pneumonia in his final days, but his death still came as a total shock to his band mates. After the medical examiner’s report came out, Last In Line drummer Vinny Appice shared the following message on his Facebook page…
“Jimmy didn’t know he had lung cancer, but he did know he had pneumonia and was receiving treatment for it. This didn’t stop him or slow him down, we had four rehearsals 4 hours a day, then a flight to Miami for The Def Leppard Rock Cruise. A pre-sail gig and sound check was scheduled for the following day. At the gig Jimmy played great and even sang that night while holding a heavy bass guitar on his back, never complaining or asking for help.
Next day we preceded [sic] to board the cruise ship for a 5 day voyage of which we were scheduled to play Sunday the 4th day. That gig never happened as Jimmy passed away in his cabin the night before, we were devastated. Jimmy was a trooper, he gave his all to the band he loved, the music he loved and the fans. He didn’t want to let anyone down. I don’t know anyone that would have attempted this schedule while being this sick and not feeling well, a trooper.”
In a perfect world, rock cruises would be the dream vacation. Who wouldn’t want to set sail to beautiful destinations and soak up the sun while listening to their favorite artists? And to do so with thousands of like-minded people? It doesn’t get any better than that. Unfortunately, this seemingly ideal experience has now been tarnished for the second consecutive year by a terrible tragedy that took another rock musician way before his time.
Sib Hashian died doing what he loved, but that probably offers little consolation to those closest to him who never got to say goodbye. Unbeknownst to most, Hashian was father-in-law to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who shared this message for his “second dad” on Instagram…
“Rest In Peace & Love to my second dad Sib Hashian. Don’t know why things have to happen the way they do sometimes. When loved ones leave us so suddenly without having a chance to say goodbye. Perhaps the lesson here is the reminder to live our lives as full and as present as we possibly can, because we just never know what’s around the corner. What a full and exciting life this man lived. What an amazing family he created, loved, watched over and protected. Being on stage, in front of adoring fans, friends and family. Keeping the beat one last time. Your passing in this manner is extremely poetic and somehow beautiful. Thank you for the many life lessons you’ve taught over the years. Grateful. We love you Sib. We miss you. Yhmwitcoltroml. ‘Hasan burgers’ for everyone in heaven.”
There’s no telling what the acronym (that looks like alphabet soup) means in Johnson’s message, but he did offer some sage advice in his tribute to Hashian…
“Perhaps the lesson here is the reminder to live our lives as full and as present as we possibly can, because we just never know what’s around the corner.” Sadly, the rock community has learned that lesson time and time again over the past few years.
RIP Sib! Thanks for the memories!