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Long time Ninth Circle drummer, Dave Davis, passed away in October of 2022. He played with Ninth Circle from 2008-2016 and then returned in 2018 to record the band's fourth award-winning Echo Black record before retiring from drumming.

Bassist Frank Forray recalls receiving the news of Dave’s passing, “I received a message from Dave’s long time drum tech, Richard “Santa” Wilcox on New Year’s Eve. I was shocked and stunned when reading the information. Richie, as I call him, would reach out occasionally through the years so I thought it would be a simple, “happy new year’s” type message, but unfortunately it was news of Dave’s passing which had happened last October."

Frank remembers Dave, “Dave entered the band at the right time. We had just released our second full length record, The Power of One, in the beginning of November 2008 and he was in the band a few weeks later after going through auditions. He was a total standout; chops for days, powerhouse drummer, a real musician - he could read, write, chart out music and play piano – and he was a genuinely nice guy.”

Dave’s impact on the band was felt on the two records he performed on. “Dave helped the band quite a bit in a number of ways. His drumming was not always straight forward, and he liked to explore with different time signatures and drum passes. This really pushed my songwriting has I had a chance to explore a more progressive side of Ninth Circle, especially on the Legions of the Brave record. Dave was really into Pink Floyd, especially the Dark of Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here records. Taking Dave’s advice, I listened to those records quite a bit during the writing of Legions of the Brave and you can really hear how the band stretched musically on that record.”

“After almost 10 years with the band,” Frank goes on to recall Dave’s time with the band, “Dave felt it was time to take a break from the rigors playing live and recording has his back continued to deteriorate, especially after having back surgery. Richard, his drum tech, really got him through a lot of shows toward the end of his time with the band. Standing was really problematic for him, but sitting down allowed him comfort from the pain and drumming allowed an escape from the pain in an odd way. I remember when he called me saying he was leaving the band because of his back, it was tough. It was a sad time, but it was the right move for him and we stayed good friends.”

“But as luck would have it”, Frank says, “his back improved just enough that he came back to play on the Echo Black record. The songs had been written prior to him coming back, but being the proficient musician that he was, he jumped right in, charted everything out, and we were in the studio recording his drum tracks. Dennis and I were very happy Dave was able to come back for that record. It kept the cohesion of Legions of the Brave intact and you can really hear that on the record. Unfortunately, his back became even more problematic, and he retired from music right after recording that record and the torch was passed to current drummer, Richie Brooks, who Dave also knew.”

“Looking back at Dave’s time in the band”, Frank recalls, “it was like having a big brother in the band who knew music from a musician’s perspective, and he gave us some good guidance, insight, laughs and great memories. Hope you get to meet Bonham up there! – Frank.”

Dennis remembers Dave, “I met Dave during drummer auditions after completing "The Power of One".  I'm pretty sure Frank shares my memory of knowing he would be in the band within the first ten minutes of playing with him.  He was the first professionally trained drummer to join Ninth Circle and his optimism and positive attitude helped us get to the next level musically and professionally.”

Dennis goes to on to recall, “Dave's can-do attitude not only helped us on tour but made things pretty easy when opportunities came our way. He drove a great distance to make rehearsals and rarely, if ever, complained about it. Well, maybe just the Southern California traffic. The videos online of "Frontman", "The Power of One", and "After the Rain give you a glimpse of what we accomplished and the fun we had doing it.”

“Musically, he helped Frank and I try things which we had not tried before. He certainly had a wider range of musical influences than I had so it made for a good blend. In the later years, it was clear that he was playing through the pain of his back injury. On a few occasions, I talked to him about taking time off but he wasn't having any of it. He loved playing drums and continued to do so until it was just too much. That is the Dave I will remember.  We recorded 2 albums with him and did plenty of shows. As mentioned, his positive attitude and enthusiasm was a big part of his time with the band and that's what I will always remember of our friend Dave.”

Dave’s drum tech, Richard Wilcox, looks back on working with Dave, “I met Dave back in 2012 when I moved into the house on Franklin Ave. I did not know at the time that he was a drummer for a hard rock band. Sometime later he asked me if I could help him move his equipment. Since I was pretty much not doing anything but looking for a job, I figured why not, I could use the extra funds. That is all it took! I learned how to set up and tear down his equipment and load the truck. I also learned that he had a bad back that caused him to seek out someone who could and would help move his equipment around.”

“Dave took real good care of me when we on the road, picking up the tab for our meals and making sure I had plenty to drink no matter where we were at. He showed me his heart for the music Ninth Circle put together and I learned to appreciate harder rock like never before. Hearing from Ruthie [Dave’s friend] that Dave passed away made me feel real sick deep down inside. I was some miles away helping out another friend who had fallen down a flight of stairs. Otherwise, I would have been right there to be with him when he needed me. Even when I was homeless, we stayed in touch.”

Richard goes on, “At many times it was a blessing being able to help him out, even in those rough times. Dave did have a heart of gold and was willing to share his life with me. I am grateful for knowing him for the past 10 years. He won't be forgotten!!”

Richie looks back fondly, “I met Dave only a couple times before joining Ninth Circle. I could tell he was a very genuine soul and he always was nice to me. We would talk shop when we had time. I enjoyed helping him (and the band) set up, the time I saw them play at the Orange County Fair. He was not physically doing too well at that point and it was my pleasure helping him get stuff set up and torn down. He blazed a trail for me to follow and build on for Ninth Circle. I would like to send prayers to his family and friends. RIP Dave.”

Dave Davis passed away peacefully at his home in California.


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