Bryan Ottoson Death At 27, Member Of American Head Charge

Bryan Ottoson died on April 19, 2005, officially from an overdose of prescription drugs. He was a heavy metal guitarist, touring with the band American Head Charge when he met his death at 27 years and 32 days old. He was from Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, where he was born in 1978. Before becoming a member of American Head Charge in 2002, he had played in numerous regional metal groups in the Minnesota area, including Black Flood Diesel. He was known also by his nickname, 333. He was highly regarded among the small club of master metal guitarists as a genuine talent.

As soon as Ottoson officially joined the band, there were problems. Substance abuse and rehab attempts took a toll, and his tenure seemed like it might be over much too quickly. Following some more personnel changes, and after 2 years treading water, the reformed group, with Ottoson, went into the recording studio to begin the record that would be called The Feeding. There were difficulties encountered getting the record done, with former producer Rick Rubin finally being replaced before they made any headway. The album was released in early 2005, and the band hit the road in support of it, sharing bills with metal groups Mudvayne, Life of Agony, and Bloodsimple.

In the middle of the tour in Jessup, Maryland, the band had gone to their separate bunks after a night of drinking in a local bar. Ottoson was suffering from a bad case of the strep and had been using some antibiotics and other prescribed medicine, probably pain-killers. He went out with 2 of his band mates after that night’s show and before the bus left in town at 4 AM for the next day’s gig in North Charleston, South Carolina, and one of them stated that the trio had not had more than 3 drinks each, due to the lateness of their arrival and the need for sleep before tomorrow’s show. His lifeless body was discovered at 6 PM the next day, still in his bunk in the tour bus. Unspecified substances were supposedly found in his bloodstream at the autopsy, along with alcohol.

It seems ironic that Ottoson is one of the few members of the forever 27 club whose home musical genre was heavy metal. The tendency in this type of rock towards violence, misogyny and even black magic and satan worship is seemingly well-known, but probably highly exaggerated. Artists in rap, Hispanic music of various kinds, and mainstream rock are comparatively more highly represented in the lists of musical deaths. Within the rarefied confines of those who died at 27, he is one of only a few metal musicians.


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