Jaco Pastorius - How did he die?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by blinkbass225, Jan 17, 2002.

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  1. A know a brief history of the greatest Jazz electric-bassist ever (probably the best in any style), even though he did play the double bass. He has a very great life story, but I seemed to miss something...how did Jaco Pastorius die?:confused:
  2. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I believe he was beat to death by a bouncer.
  3. When I was 14 years old I was taking bass lessons from a guy named Dave Segal, who went to the university of Miami with Jaco.

    Dave and Jaco were good friends. And when Jaco's drug dealers were after him he gave his basses to Dave for safe keeping.

    Jaco suffered from a brain disorder, that made him extreamly obsessive compulsive (this is actually one of the things that made such an increadible player, he was practicing 18 hours a day at at one point because he never felt like he was that good).

    He was prescrcibed medicine that would help his disorder, but he refused to take the medicine because it adversly effected his playing.

    Jaco, got very into cocaine and amounted an enourmous debt to guys you wouldn't want to have anything to do with.

    One night (i don't remember the date) the guys Jaco owed money to caught up with him out behind a night club in Ft. Lauderdale, and they beat him to death.

    NOT a very glamourous end to a truly brilliant carrer.

    My opinion of Jaco is very slanted because of my friendship with Dave.

    He put his friends and family through hell because he was so obsessed, first with the bass then with coke and getting high.

    So, if the people who populate these boards must worship him, do so because of his playing, not his life.

    My second-hand experience is that he was a scumbag.

    Karl Osterman
  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hey Limezone...that's interesting. Especially since it's a different story than is accepted to be true everywhere.

    Story I've heard goes that he was beaten to death by a bouncer (like Mama Cass said) outside in the back alley next to a club. "Supposedly", he was also a trained martial artist. Who knows...but I've never heard it was a dealer that killed him.

    BTW, second hand isn't really any better than third, fourth, or fifth hand experience with a person. If you didn't know him, you shouldn't make value judgments on his personality. Hear-say shouldn't be the basis of an opinion. Just my opinion.
  5. It wouldn't surprise me, though. I doubt if anybody really knows for sure.

    The cynic in me thinks that his friends and family played up the bouncer angle because they wanted him to be remembered as a mentally ill genius snuffed out before his time rather than a burnout who destroyed his gifts with narcotics.
  6. it doesn't taint his talent. i don't think any less of jimi's guitar playing, or brad nowell's singing, because they died for drugs. it's just a sad thing. nobody's perfect.
  7. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I have never heard that drug dealers murdered Jaco but this is sometimes a strange world we live in so I would'nt doubt it either. Jaco was unfortunately a sick guy and he had alot of issues in his life. The mixture of drug abuse with already exsisting disorders was disastrous for him and his family. I think that most people recognize that he was a special player but his life was hardly worth emulating.
  8. Jaco dead?!? But I just saw him last night with Elvis!:p
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    If you really want to know, it might be worth your while to check out Bill Milkowski's bio of Jaco, titled something like "The Tragic Life and Death of Jaco Pastorius". It outlines all the stuff including the substance abuse, disorders, death, etc. I've not seen any signifigant disagreement with the facts put forth in that book, which state that the bouncer at a club beat him to death.

    It also states that the bouncer probably only hastened a death that was surely coming soon anyway.

    I too gigged many years in South Florida and have met many people who knew Jaco (he was still alive then), and I know that there are many people that love to make up stories, negative and otherwise, about knowing Jaco, etc. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt.
  10. He took an aspirin which poisioned his highly tuned body... right after he finished Enter The Dragon.

    I think read in a Bass Player article that he was beaten to death by bouncers at a night club whilst out of his head?
  11. Whatever happened to his basses?
  12. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I read somewhere he was murdered by a bouncer after he snapped at a bar and started a fight. I think he was just hanging out or something... I also have heard he was mentally disturbed big time. Very violent person?

    One older gentleman I spoke to at a music store once told me that back in the 70's he saw one of Jaco's small gigs. He said (totally hearsay and I don't know if I beleive this) that Jaco use to play "punk jazz" and then just totally wack out and start swinging his bass at people like it was a sword. Can anyone like justify this so called rumor because I can't even imagine what that would look like (A mad man swinging his bass at you as if it were a weapon!!!)

    He was an incredible fretless player.
  13. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    I would assume that the police report and
    subsequent court cases are a matter of public

    Didn't any of the bio's draw from these sources?
  14. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I'm still thinking about Jaco and his bass, swinging it at people violently. if that were true, that must have been a sight....
  15. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i dont normally do this, because what i talk about with other people i prefer to keep private, but this should put an end to the how Jaco died issue.

    Its part of an email I got from Dann Glenn back in November. He actually knew Jaco, so Its a safe assumption that he knows more about his death that we would.

    Here I was a Vietnam vet and my best friend and the world's greatest bass player was just beaten to death by a Vietnamese bouncer named Luc Haven.
    He served almost no time in jail and went on his merry way.

    I dont know what led to him being beat to death, nor did i ask dann. But that little excerpt should be enough to at least answer the how he died and who killed him.

  16. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    Well said DHC,well said.I think Bill Hicks said it best..."If you don't think drugs has done anything good,I want you to go home tonight,take all your albums,all your tapes,all your cd's, and burn them.Because all that music thats enhanced your lives throughout the years,those artists were real f*****g high"

    I could name so many bands right now,that i like,that do drugs.It's all about the music,not the artists.
  17. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I don't think drugs have done anything good. I would love to have Jimi H, Jim M, Janis J, Elvis P, etc etc ... still alive today.

    They didn't need it. IMO Drugs slow you down, and cloud your mind. They do not help you be more creative. Therefore, before you give drugs any credit at all. Think of all that these fine artists could have been and done without drugs.

    It's a true shame. :(
  18. I think that DG made a point of the bouncer being Vietnamese says more about Dann Glenn than Jaco Pastorius.
  19. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Dann Glenn is a very nice guy. I don't believe for a second that he is predjudice.
  20. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Hey, I would become racist too if a friend of mine was murdered by a guy from a far-away country.

    EDIT: Okay, well maybe not.

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