Dave Alexander died on February 10, 1975 from pulmonary edema. He was the bass player for the seminal early punk group headed by Iggy Pop, The Stooges. At the time of his death he was 27 years and 252 days old.
Alexander was born and raised in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. At the start of his freshman year in high school, the family relocated to Ann Arbor where he became fast friends with Ron and Scott Asheton, two musically inclined brothers. At the beginning of his senior year in high school, Alexander dropped out on a dare, and his life as a rocker had begun. In 1967 the Ashetons and Alexander hooked up with Iggy Pop and put together the band known as the Stooges. Alexander was not an accomplished musician, but was apparently a fast learner and had a natural talent for songwriting, arrangements and playing in public. He played a big role in creating the first two Stooges albums, The Stooges and Fun House, and toured with the early band constantly.
As with many other members of the forever 27 club, Alexander had a problem with alcohol – he drank too much and couldn’t kick the habit. His decline was noted but tolerated by the band for a couple of years, but they finally were forced to give him his walking papers in summer of 1970. The Stooges were scheduled to perform at the Goose Lake International Music Festival, and when Alexander made his appearance too inebriated to play, he was booted from the band.
For the next 5 years he lived a sordid and largely private existence in his native state. But it is known that his drinking continued, and he eventually developed infection of the pancreas due to his alcoholism. The pancreatitis caused fluid to build up in his lungs, and pulmonary edema was the official cause of his death at 27.
There is an interesting connection between Alexander and another member of the 27 club, D. Boon. Boon and his best friend and bass player Mike Watt were admirers of early Stooges music, and Watt eventually became the bassist for the reformed version of the Stooges in the mid-2000s. Watt has referred to Alexander in his own compositions, and has been known to wear a Dave Alexander t-shirt in remembrance of the young rock and roller, dead much too early at the age of 27.
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