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In Memoriam: Preston Hubbard

Preston Hubbard
Photo source: Preston Hubbard / Facebook

Bassist Preston Hubbard, who held down the low end for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, has passed away. He was 63 years old.

Hubbard was born in Providence, Rhode Island and picked up the bass at 14 years old. He joined Roomful of Blues as a young man, where he was part of the first backing band for the Blues Brothers. In 1984, guitarist Jimmie Vaughn asked him to move to Austin, Texas and join the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Two years later the band struck it big with the title track from Tuff Enuff and a pair Grammy nominations. Hubbard was also getting good studio work and was featured on albums like Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time and Stevie Ray & Jimmie Vaughan’s Family Style, just to name a couple.

As the band’s fame started to fade, Hubbard’s drug use grew. In 1994, after 10 years with the band, things fell apart during a two-week stint in Reno. “Because of my increasingly open drug use, alongside my own dissatisfaction and disillusionment with how things were going, it all came to a head one night backstage, with tempers flaring between Kim and me,” he wrote on his website. “So I just said, ‘****’ it’ and turned in my walking papers. Ten years. Truly the end of an era.” Hubbard provided electric and upright bass on five Fabulous Thunderbirds albums altogether.

His drug problem got worse and eventually landed him in jail for a year. It was during his lockup that Hubbard kicked heroin for good. Since then, he had been playing with artists that traveled through St. Louis.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Preston Hubbard.

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