Bob (Robert Wayne) Birch, who has been the bass player for Elton John’s band, is dead from an apparent suicide.
Los Angeles police report that Birch’s body was found about 1 A.M. in a suburb of the city and is being investigated as a possible suicide.
Birch started his musical journey playing the saxophone, winning a number of scholastic awards, and added the bass while still in his teens. He played in groups in the Detroit area throughout his high school and college years and eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1981.
For a number of years he played in various groups in the area before being selected for Jose Feliciano’s band for a world tour. In 1989, he formed a group with Elton John sidemen Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson along with Guy Babylon called the Warpipes. On February 14, 1992, Birch became a permanent member of Elton John’s band when his regular bassist had to bow out.
Birch stayed with Elton for the rest of his career, taking jobs with other musicians during breaks including Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, David Coverdale, Ray Charles and many more.