Noted drummer and percussionist Joe Lala died of lung cancer on March 18th in Miami, Florida, at age 66. In addition to thousands of sessions over the years, Lala will always be best remembered for his work with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young -- both together and on their own, along with being a full fledged member of Manassas with Stephen Stills in the early-'70s. His work was never far of the radio in the late-1970s with his timeless contribution to the Bee Gees' late-'70s hits -- including the soundtrack to 1977's Saturday Night Fever.
On Monday night (March 17th) upon hearing the news that Lala had taken a turn four the worse, Graham Nash told The Tampa Tribune, "Joe Lala has been a friend and musical partner with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for many years. He is a good-hearted man and has a great sense of humor. We all wish him the very best and hope for a speedy recovery."
Stephen Stills’ former road manager Michael Garcia, told The Tribune: "Stephen Stills is one of the most demanding musicians I have ever known and he would ask specifically for Joe. That alone speaks volumes about Joe’s talent."
In later years, carpal tunnel syndrome forced Lala to retire from the drums, which led to a notable acting career in TV, movies, and voice over work in cartoons. In addition numerous big screen roles -- including Robert Redford’s Havana -- Lala appeared on TV’s Miami Vice, General Hospital, Melrose Place, Who's The Boss, Seinfeld, Hunter, and others.
Lala first broke on the scene as part of Blues Image, who scored a 1970 Top Five hit with "Ride Captain Ride" and went on to play on countless classics by Rick Derringer, Chicago, Poco, the Byrds, Harry Chapin, the Osmonds, Joe Walsh, Bill Wyman, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, Dan Fogelberg, Firefall, the Allman Brothers Band, Kenny Rogers, Rick Danko, Ringo Starr, the Outlaws, John Cougar, Barbra Streisand, Jackson Browne, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, and Spirit, among many, many more.