Bassist Craig Gruber, best known as an original member of Rainbow, has passed away from prostate cancer. He was 63 years old.
Gruber’s rise in the rock world began when he joined Elf in late 1973. The band was fronted by Ronnie James Dio, who also covered bass duties before Gruber’s introduction. The bassist was featured on two studio albums – Carolina County Ball and Trying to Burn the Sun – before most of the band was absorbed into guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s new group Rainbow in 1975. Blackmore subsequently fired the entire band after the first album.
Guitar legend Gary Moore tapped Gruber to tour with him in the early ‘80s, and he would also team up with Elf drummer Gary Driscoll to form Bible Black. Gruber’s longtime association in the hard rock world also landed him a short-lived gig as Black Sabbath’s bassist when Geezer Butler left. He wrote the bass lines for their Heaven and Hell album, but they were replaced by Butler’s own when he rejoined the fold.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Craig Gruber.