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.Â
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 canâ€™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."
RhinehartÂ played for over three decades with Steve Cohen and the Leroy Airmaster band.
"Vodie was a power drummer," Cohen said. Â "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. Â He could kept great time and always moved the band forward.Â
"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 couldnâ€™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. Â 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 26, 2016
Being an Uber driver in Milwaukee is a one-of-a-kind experience that lets Dave Begel meet some of the most interesting people, residents as well as visitors to the city. Find out where Begel took guests in the latest installment of Tales of the Road.
Published July 21, 2016
So the nightmare is true and Donald Trump actually may be president. The whole thing has made Dave Begel wonder about prominent conservatives in Wisconsin and whether they will support Trump. It turns out that they are split on the nomination.
Published July 19, 2016
Summer theater in Wisconsin usually means Spring Green or Door County. But there are several summer productions that look interesting and that range from the classical to the experimental, both indoors and under the stars of Milwaukee.
Published July 14, 2016
People say that America is more divided now than ever, but it was less than a lifetime ago when this country was torn apart by the quest for civil rights and the drive to end the war in Vietnam. Those times were full of violent demonstrations.
Published July 12, 2016
The Milwaukee Rep has announced a unique training program for teenage actors in the city, as part of the company's commitment to stimulating dialogue and creating engagement opportunities revolving around social issues facing the city.
Published July 8, 2016
They looked just like any other happy couple coming out of Summerfest when I picked them up at the staging area. But once they got into the car, the tension was obvious, and eventually, it boiled over.
Published July 5, 2016
All of the arts enable us to see things, especially in ourselves, we might otherwise miss. I have an idea, and it's something that could help brand Milwaukee better than any flag, slogan or video. Let's make Milwaukee the epicenter of the world for public art.
Published June 30, 2016
Now that the OSPP has exploded in mid-air like the Big Bang fireworks, the question is where do we go from here? The plan, which many saw as the right wing continuing to try and chip away at MPS, didn't have much of a chance of working.
Published June 30, 2016
Being an Uber driver in Milwaukee is a one-of-a-kind experience that lets Dave Begel meet some interesting people, residents and visitors to the city. Everybody has a story, and Tales of the Road will highlight some of those stories.
Published June 29, 2016
The city has agreed to cut a check for $968,331.75 after losing its lawsuit at trial and again in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals after the initial verdict. The amount covers both the damage award and attorney fees.