The Doobie Brothers announced the death of drummer John Hartman on Friday, which collectively grew in a post on social media: “Today we think of John Hartman, or Little John for us John was a wild spirit, a great drummer and show in his time ‘Man doobies. He was 72 years old. The cause of death was not immediately released.
Hartman, who co-founded the group, was one of nine members of the Doobie Brothers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. He left the band long ago, which often reunites.
Hartman was with the group for the same first string of top hits, including “Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Runnin” and “What a Fool Believes.” From 1971 until he left the band for the first time in 1979, he was one of the two drummers on stage for the Doobies. Ten years after leaving, he returned in 1989 for a reunion album and continued working with the group until 1992.
The band is currently in the midst of a 50th-anniversary tour, Worry, and tonight in Portland, but Hartman did not attend the reunion. Michael McDonald, Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, and John McPhee are the four legacy members advertised as taking part in the current tour.
After leaving the Doobie Brothers for the second time, Hartman looked beyond the music industry to a career in law enforcement. In 1994, The New Times reported that he was seeking a career as a full-time police officer, but “that wasn’t going to be a goal for his first job,” as he admitted to using drugs ( which are named after slang for marijuana) during his time in Doobie became). At the time of writing, Hartman had graduated from the police academy and had been on the job for three years, but said 20 police departments in the Northern California region had turned him down for the job. Discrimination lawsuit against Petaluma Police Department dismissed.
Hart said at the time that his drug use went too far around the 1970s, but he didn’t cut loose with other band members – some of whom had their own problems with substance abuse prevalent in the era – he stopped using drugs throughout the era in 1975. “I pulled myself together from the sewer,” Hartman told The Times of ending substance abuse during the years of the band’s career.
In a 1973 interview with Cameron Crowe for Rock magazine, Hartman described himself as the leader of the group, and later described him as “the title holder of ‘White Buddy Miles.’ Crow wrote Hartman, who could have been mistaken for one of the Hell’s Angels who appeared on the show during their modest initial gig, “was fascinated by his formidable figure.” He also uses it to his advantage. Or let me put it this way He’s trying,” wrote Hartman jokingly trying to scare off his rock journalist during an interview.
Hartman was suddenly a boisterous group emerging from the club scene with monster AM-FM hits. “Am I worried about returning to playing bars and clubs again?” In 1973, he told Crowe. “Let me put it this way.” If there’s a Volkswagen and you really want to bring back a Cadillac, and that Cadillac eventually arrives, would you want to go back to a VW? I mean who in their right mind would want to go back to the bar? Jesus Drunk and stupid, bad pay, no pay.
Hartman, who moved from the East Coast to Central California in 1969, roomed with guitarist Tom Johnston at San Jose State, and when they met singer-guitarist, Patrick Simmons, they formed the core of the group, circa 1970. The band’s territory was called Pud, and they took up residence of sorts at Chateau Libert Bar, a one-time stage stop in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a biker clientele. “It’s a place where you’re drinking too much, throwing up out there,” Hartman told Rollingan. “It was awesome, man!”
2010 is the case to brag about, and 2009 is the case to brag about. The Doobies emerged in 1972 after the song Listen to the Music circulated on their second album Toulouse Street.
The band’s direction changed in 1976 with “Takin’ It to the Streets,” with McDonald largely taking over for Johnston. The Soviets argued with various band members, in 1979 Hartman quit along with Jeff “Skank” Baxter, later adding: “Everything was falling apart.” There was a farewell tour in 1982 before Hartman and the other original members regrouped for a reunion without MacDonald.
The Jammers were the first members to reunite for the 2020 Rock Hall induction, that ceremony was canceled for another video call.