Like Father, Like Son: Tim and Jeff Buckley
Time again for the next segment of Like Father, Like Son. If you recall, in the first segment, we talked about Willie & Lukas Nelson. In the last segment, we talked about Leonard & Adam Cohen. Today, we’re going to talk about yet another musical family.
Today’s post is about Tim Buckley and his son Jeff Buckley.
Buckley's death shocked many of his friends and relatives. The drug-related death was in stark contrast to how people had seen him; the sound recorder at Buckley's last show noted that "someone offered him a drag off of a joint and he refused. He didn't appear strung out in any way. He was very together both physically and psychologically." Some friends were left dazed by the situation. Buckley's old tour manager, Bob Duffy, stated: "It wasn't expected but it was like watching a movie, and that was its natural ending."
On June 28, 1975, Buckley completed the last show of a tour in Dallas, playing to a sold out crowd of 1,800 people. He celebrated the culmination of the tour with a weekend of drinking with his band and friends, as was his normal routine. On the evening of June 29, 1975, Buckley accompanied longtime friend Richard Keeling back to his house. What happened next is unclear, but at some point Keeling produced a bag of heroin, which Buckley ingested.
Buckley's reaction to the heroin put him in such a bad condition that friends took him home. Upon his return, his wife Judy, seeing his inebriated state, laid him on the living-room floor and questioned his friends as to what had happened. Judy then moved Buckley into bed. Checking on him later, she found he had turned blue and was no longer breathing. Attempts by friends and paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The coroner's report stated that Buckley died at 9:42pm on June 29, 1975, from "acute heroin/morphine and ethanol intoxication due to inhalation and ingestion of overdose".
Given the circumstances of his death, police charged Richard Keeling with murder and distribution of heroin. At his hearing on August 14, 1975, Keeling pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and, after failing to complete community service, was sentenced to 120 days in jail and four years probation.
Buckley died in debt, owning only a guitar and an amplifier. Some 200 friends and family attended his funeral at the Wilshire Funeral Home in Santa Monica, including manager Herb Cohen, guitarist Lee Underwood, Buckley's mother, sister, widow, and adopted son, Taylor. His biological son Jeff, who was eight years old at the time, and had met his father only once, was not invited to the funeral. This, he later said, "gnawed" at him, and prompted him to "pay his respects" by performing "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain" at a memorial tribute to Buckley in Brooklyn, in 1991, six years before his own accidental death.
Over the following three years, the band toured widely to promote the album, including concerts in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Australia. In 1996, they stopped touring and made sporadic attempts to record Buckley's second album in New York City with Tom Verlaine as producer. In 1997, Buckley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to resume work on the album, to be titled My Sweetheart the Drunk, recording many four-track demos while also playing weekly solo shows at a local venue. On May 29, 1997, while awaiting the arrival of his band from New York, he drowned during a spontaneous evening swim, fully clothed, in the Mississippi River when he was caught in the wake of a passing boat; his body was found on June 4.
That wraps it up for today’s post about Tim and Jeff Buckley. Are there any other parent child musicians that you would like to learn about or hear their music? Let me know in the comments below.