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Iron Butterfly’s Lee Dorman died of natural causes, coroner says

This April 9, 1969, photo shows members of Iron Butterfly, from left, Erik Brann, Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle. Dorman, the bassist for psychedelic rock band, has died at age 70. Credit: Associated Press

A bassist for the psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly, who was found dead Friday in a vehicle outside his Laguna Niguel home, died of natural causes, the Orange County coroner's office said Saturday.

No autopsy is planned for Lee Dorman, 70, who was part of the band when it recorded "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida," a 17-minute heavy metal track that caught the attention of the counterculture market. The album of the same name stayed on the national sales chart for 2-1/2 years, and a three-minute version was a top 40 hit.

Iron Butterfly was formed in San Diego in 1966 and recorded an album before Dorman joined a revised lineup that included guitarist Erik Braunn, keyboardist and singer Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy.

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In 1968, the group recorded "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida," a 17-minute heavy metal track that "was nothing short of a pop monument," The Times said in 1988, "the song of the moment" that caught the attention of the counterculture market. The album stayed on the national sales chart for 2-1/2 years and a three-minute version was a top 40 hit.

By the 1970s, another guitarist, Larry Reinhardt, had joined Iron Butterfly. When the band soon broke up, Dorman and Reinhardt formed Captain Beyond with Rod Evans from Deep Purple and other musicians.

Captain Beyond recorded three albums that reflected rock, heavy metal and jazz influences, and scored something of an FM hit with the song "Sufficiently Breathless." Without Dorman, a new version of Iron Butterfly formed in 1974 and recorded albums without commercial success.

Douglas Lee Dorman was born in 1942 in St. Louis and had long suffered from heart problems, which ended his music career, according to the All Music Internet database.

As of 1988, he was leading boat cruises off Southern California and working as a bar manager.

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— Ashley Powers

Photo: This April 9, 1969, photo shows members of Iron Butterfly, from left, Erik Brann, Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle. Dorman, the bassist for psychedelic rock band, has died at age 70. Credit: Associated Press

 
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