One of the most well-known drummers in rock history has tragically passed away following a fall at his house. Named Darren Henley before changing to DH Peligro, he passed away at the age of 63.
Dead Kennedys frontman Tommy “Peligro” Kilgore passed away on Saturday, as the band revealed in an Instagram post. The post said, based on information given by the Los Angeles Police Department, that Peligro had died of head injuries after a fall at his Los Angeles residence.
“Police said he died from head damage sustained in a fall. Plans are in the works and will be disclosed soon “the blog entry said. “Please give the family some space as they go through this trying period. We appreciate your support and kind remarks.”
Until Monday, the band had not revealed anything of Peligro’s funeral, but they promised to do so soon.
Who is DH Peligro ?
Formed in 1978, Peligro quickly became an institution in the thriving music scenes of both San Francisco and Los Angeles. From 1981 until the band’s dissolution in 1986 and subsequent reformation in 2001, he played drums for the iconic punk band the Dead Kennedys. In addition to his time spent behind the drum set for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, he formed the band Peligro and sang and played guitar on three studio albums for the group.
At the 2004 American Independent Music Awards, Peligro’s Sum of Our Surroundings was named the best rock album of the year. Additionally, he was nominated for a Grammy for his rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” and he had just finished a tour of Europe with another band, demonstrating his facility with everything from punk rock to “funked up, groove-oriented raucous jams,” as described in his biography on the Dead Kennedys’ website.
Peligro, whose real name is Darren Henley, started studying drums at an early age after being born on July 9, 1959, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was introduced to rock music by bands like Kiss, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Black Sabbath in middle school and quickly became a fan. As a young man, he uprooted to San Francisco to hit the streets, where he was exposed to bands like Television, the Ramones, Devo, and the Go-Gos while living out of a van. In meeting S.S.I.’s musicians, he found a new community that welcomed him with open arms.
While performing with S.S.I., he became a staple of the music scenes in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, thanks in large part to his innovative drumming that fused punk rock, hardcore, metal, and reggae.
Vocalist Jello Biafra, guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride, and drummer Bruce “Ted” Slesinger came together in San Francisco in June 1978 to establish the Dead Kennedys. First heard as demos, Dead Kennedys’ first full-length album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables was released in 1980. A year after Slesinger quit the band to pursue architecture full-time, D. H. Peligro came in to replace him on drums after impressing Biafra during one of S.S.I.’s concerts. Using an aggressive, unrelenting drumming technique that would go on to influence the wave of crossover thrash that followed, Peligro swiftly aided Dead Kennedys in developing a more solid hardcore punk sound.
As a member of Dead Kennedys, Peligro made his debut on record with the group in 1981 with the EP In God We Trust, Inc., which is best known as the band’s first of many scathing attacks on then-President Ronald Reagan. Peligro temporarily joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988 after the dissolution of Dead Kennedys in December 1986.
Brandon Cruz replaced Jello Biafra when Ray, Peligro, and Flouride reformed Dead Kennedys in 2001. With the exception of a year spent tending to personal health difficulties, Peligro participated in every aspect of the band’s reunion, from the initial planning stages through the publication of several live albums including Mutiny on the Bay, Live at the Deaf Club, and DK 40.
Later in his career, Peligro collaborated with a wide variety of musicians on stage and in the studio. These performers included Moby, Feederz, the Aliens without Roky Erickson, and Nailbomb. He also went on to form the band Peligro, which has released the albums Self-Titled, Welcome to America, and Sum of Our Surroundings. In addition, he led bands such as Reverend Jones and the Cool Aid Choir, the Hellions, and Al Sharpton’s Hair.
Despite his prominence in the early punk rock scene, Peligro was vocal about the prejudice he encountered on the road, including being turned away from venues where his bands were scheduled to perform.