LOS ANGELES — Dewey Martin, drummer for the short-lived but long-resonating band Buffalo Springfield whose career after the group split never ignited like those of former bandmates Neil Young and Stephen Stills, has died. He was 68.
He was found dead Sunday by a roommate in his suburban apartment, longtime friend Lisa Lenes said Thursday. The cause of death has not been determined. “We believe it was natural causes,” Lenes said, adding that Martin had suffered health problems in recent years and played music publicly only sporadically.
Martin was one of the founding members, along with Young, Stills, singer-songwriter-guitarist Richie Furay and bassist Bruce Palmer, of Buffalo Springfield, a key progenitor of country-rock music. The group recorded three studio albums before disbanding after two years amid rising tensions and musical ambitions of the talented but explosive Young and Stills.
In his biography “Shakey,” Young praised Martin’s musical sensitivity. “You get harder, he hits harder. You pull back, he hits back. He can feel the music — you don’t have to tell him.”
Martin played on Buffalo Springfield songs including “For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s the Sound),” “Mr. Soul,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman” and “Broken Arrow.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the group in 1997.
“He didn’t want to go to the induction,” Lenes said. “But I told him, ‘You need to be there; you need to be acknowledged. When I saw him on TV, it was so great.’ “
Martin’s fortunes remained closely tied over the years to his time with Buffalo Springfield.
He first began performing as the New Buffalo Springfield with other musicians. Stills and Young successfully sued to prevent Martin from using the name without their participation. Still, in the mid-’80s, he and Palmer, who died in 2004, toured as Buffalo Springfield Revisited, and for a time in the ’90s Martin played shows as Buffalo Springfield Again at community events.