Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cause of Death
Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound To The Head
Claim to Fame
Place of Death
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Profile Bio Text
Terry Alan Kath (January 31, 1946 – January 23, 1978) born in Chicago, Illinois, was the original guitarist and founding member of the rock band Chicago. He died in 1978 at the age of 31 from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound. A multi-instrumentalist who played banjo, accordion, bass and drums, Kath played lead guitar in a band called "Jimmy and the Gentlemen" during the mid-1960s. He played bass in a road band called Jimmy Ford and The Executives. Kath`s close friend, Walter Parazaider, played in these bands as well, and they were together in developing the band later to be called Chicago. Kath was an important contributor to Chicago, beginning with their first album The Chicago Transit Authority released in 1969. The album includes his composition "Introduction" which was described as "Terry`s masterpiece" by later Chicago guitarist Dawayne Bailey. The song displays many varied musical styles, including jazz, blues, salsa, rock and roll, acid rock, and pop. The same debut album includes an instrumental guitar piece entitled "Free Form Guitar". The album liner notes indicate that this nearly seven minute piece was recorded `live` in the studio in one take using an overdriven Fender Showman amplifier and a Fender Stratocaster guitar (on the album`s gatefold sleeve, however, Kath is pictured playing a Gibson SG). The hit "Questions 67 & 68" contains lead guitar techniques that became staples of the Chicago sound. The song "Beginnings" includes acoustic rhythm guitar by Kath. Another of Kath`s more notable highlights as a recording guitarist is his extended guitar solo in the middle of the Chicago hit song "25 or 6 to 4". Fascinated by gadgets, Kath once owned nearly twenty guitars.
Kath reportedly had a history of using alcohol and other drugs, including cocaine and cannabis, in his last few years. Chicago bandmates have indicated that he was also increasingly unhappy. Bassist Peter Cetera even went so far as to say that Kath would have been the first to quit Chicago had he lived (and, according to then-producer James William Guercio, Kath was working on a solo album before he died). But despite his personal problems, this was not the cause of his accidental death. Around 5 p.m., late in the afternoon of January 23, 1978, after a party at roadie Don Johnson`s home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, Kath took an unloaded .38 revolver and put it to his head, pulling the trigger several times on the empty chambers. Picking up a semiautomatic 9 mm pistol, Kath put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger, saying, "Don`t worry, it`s not loaded," after showing the empty magazine to his friend. However, one bullet remained in the chamber, killing him instantly when fired; a week shy of his 32nd birthday. Kath was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Terry and his wife Camelia Emily Ortiz (married 1974) had one daughter, Michelle, born in 1976. Camelia later married Kiefer Sutherland.
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Terry Alan Kath
Terry Alan Kath (January 31, 1946 – January 23, 1978) was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the original guitarist, co-lead singer and founding member of the rock band Chicago. He has been praised by the band for his guitar skills and Ray Charles-influenced vocal style.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster, 1969 Les Paul "Professional", Fender Telecaster
Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, Actor
He played on lead guitar, rhythm guitar, banjo, accordion, electric bass and drums, He was a lead guitarist for Jimmy and Gentlemen, He played bass for Jimmy Ford and the Executives
Brown - Light
Michelle Kath (daughter), Hammish (grandson), Quinn (grandson)
James William Guercio, Walter Parazaider
James William Guercio, Walter Parazaider, Danny Seraphine, James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, Robert Lamm, Peter Cetera, Dawayne Bailey, Don Johnson, Jason Scheff, Tris Imboden, Keith Howland, Drew Hester, Lou Pardini, Laudir de Oliveira, Donnie Dacus, Bill Champlin, Chris Pinnick
Chicago, Los Angeles
Red, Black, White
Has Detailed Data (76)
Music Profile Complete
Photo - Unable to Find
Music Genre (Text)
Rock, Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Jazz Rock
Guitar, Vocals, Bass Guitar
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