Leonard Haze, original drummer for legendary Bay Area rock band Y&T, passed away Sunday evening, September 11 at his home in Hayward, California. He was 61 years old.
Haze had been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for several years, making breathing difficult. Even so, he had fought to keep playing drums, performing regularly with his band, HAZEXPERIENCE, and joining Y&T on stage at the Fillmore in San Francisco in both 2015 and 2016. HAZEXPERIENCE was scheduled to open for Y&T at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma November 18 and November 19, and had been in the midst of recording an EP of new material.
Said Y&T frontman Dave Meniketti: “It is with shock and sadness that I type this. Leonard Haze, the legendary drummer, and a guy I spent decades with creating great music together, has passed away at 61. This, just a few days after his birthday. I just woke up to this news, as I’m in Germany, and immediately called his wife, Kelly. She confirmed that Leonard had passed away in his sleep, a few hours ago, sometime between noon and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 11.
“Leonard has been struggling with COPD for years, but Kelly said that although his health had recently declined, they felt he had a few years left, so this is unexpected.
“My deepest condolences to Leonard‘s family and friends. His impact on the rock scene was well documented.
“Rest in peace, my friend.”
Added HAZEXPERIENCE guitarist Jim Bradley: “Leonard was not only a bandmate but a close friend, sharing not just a passion for music but also our appreciation for fast cars and cool RC planes. Leonard was taken from us way too soon.”
“Leonard was a good friend, a great drummer, and a true ambassador for the world of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Jeffrey Winslow, lead singer for HAZEXPERIENCE. “I’m shocked that he’s gone, but thankful I got to know him while he was here.”