Yesterday, news emerged that veteran Milwaukee rock and roll and blues drummer Vodie Rhinehart passed away unexpectedly on Sunday.
Like many, I first knew Vodie as the drummer of Milwaukee punk pioneers, The Haskels. But as time passed, Rhinehart played with a number of groups. Most recently, he was the man kicking it up a notch behind the kit with the Midwest Blues All Stars and Milwaukee's most veteran blues band, Leroy Airmaster.
Along the way, he performed with a number of local bands.
"This was such a shock," said Greg Koch, the famed Milwaukee guitarist. "I just can’t believe it."
"He was such a sweet guy," said blues musician Jim Liban. "I am just sick about this. It is a terrible loss, not just to the blues community but for everybody. He was as good as they get."
Rhinehart played for over three decades with Steve Cohen and the Leroy Airmaster band.
"Vodie was a power drummer," Cohen said. "I don't mean in the rock sense. His play propelled whatever ensemble he was playing with. He could play everything, jazz fusion, straight ahead jazz, blues, rock and roll. He could kept great time and always moved the band forward.
"Vodie and Bill (Airmaster guitarist) Stone were both at the conservatory" Cohen said. "There was this club owner who wanted us to form another band so we got Vodie. And we never separated. Vodie never left the band. He never missed a gig. He was dependable. When he said he'd be at a gig he was there. "
Cohen said that Airmaster would continue to play.
"Vodie is not replaceable," he said. "This is kind of like the end of an era. When you are together that long, it's kind of like a marriage. You grow together. And now that's over.
"But we are musicians and this is what we do. We can't replace Vodie, but Mark Wilson, who I played with in high school, has come back from Texas and he's stepped forward and we'll play with him. We have a busy summer. But I'll always miss Vodie."
Koch couldn’t contain his admiration for Rhinehart.
"I met Vodie when I was 18 years old," he said. "I'd pick him up and we'd go to my prerent's basement and play. He was a total standup guy. He could play anything. He was a real part of the whole music scene in Milwaukee."
"Vodie was a world class drummer. What I mean is that his skill set would have let him tour with any national act. He was that good. There were times when I was playing rhythmn and I'd try something and he was right there. I'd look back and he would smile at me. We had those magic moments of synchronicity.
"He was omnipresent in music in Milwaukee. I'll really miss him."
Services for Rhinehart are pending.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published July 31, 2014
As the city of Milwaukee seems on the precipice of moving toward some kind of development renaissance I've been thinking about the people to this city who are important to the City of Milwaukee. What I've come up with is a two-part series. In this installment I'm going to try and identify the 14 people most important to Milwaukee.
Published July 29, 2014
You shouldn't have to drive half a day to play golf. You shouldn't have to take out a loan. You shouldn't have to lose an entire day of your life. With those thoughts in mind I've compiled a list of fun and challenging golf courses within a one hour drive from Milwaukee where you can play a course that demands some skill, provides some challenge and lets you walk away with enough money to take your wife out to lunch.
Published July 24, 2014
Let's not overreact to Dave & Carole's incendiary and absurd comments on the arts in Milwaukee on Wednesday. After all, by very definition radio hosts are interested in just one thing, ratings. Whatever it takes, get ratings.
Published July 22, 2014
The "Big Four" sports leagues in this country are increasingly expanding their brand and their reach, which draws interest and players from around the world. As a result, fewer Americans are finding roster spots (outside of football). Pro golf, tennis and soccer bypassed the U.S. long ago. So, are American athletes soft? Do they not have what it takes anymore to reach the top of their profession?
Published July 17, 2014
It might be possible for me to count on the fingers of one hand the times I've actually been proud of a politician. Once more I find I'm proud of a politician, in this case County Executive Chris Abele. Even though I don't agree with all his decisions, he provided a moment that will forever be burned in my memory.
Published July 15, 2014
In Wisconsin, we have the world class American Players Theatre, called by many the best in the country. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is moving in that direction, and with a gorgeous space on gorgeous grounds, an easy three-hour drive for Milwaukee Shakespeare fans would be a worthy summer trip.
Published July 15, 2014
Nothing is more exciting than a division race in basball. It can last for weeks. Every single game is crucial. Every play seems crucial. It is the ultimate agony and ecstasy of sports. And there is a profound role for those of us who are fans to play in a pennant race.
Published July 11, 2014
There is something about watching people just like us begin to unravel and shrink into desperation and desolation that demands our attention. That's the attraction of "God of Carnage," the Yasmina Reza play serving as the first production of the new Umbrella Group.
Published July 10, 2014
Across nearly 70 years, the Agatha Christie play "And Then There Were None" has become one of those old chestnuts, performed by high school and college drama clubs throughout the world. To say that it's a tired play is a massive understatement. But a sparkling new production that opened at The Peninsula Players Wednesday night and runs through July 27 proves that even the oldest of chestnuts can be reborn if all the pieces fit.
Published July 10, 2014
It's the middle of the summer in Milwaukee and frivolity is on the minds of most people around here, with the exception of a small group of political operatives and the governor of our state.