UPDATED: Big Sugar Bassist Garry Lowe Dead At 65
Garry Lowe — the bassist for the multi-platinum Canadian rock, reggae, and blues band Big Sugar — lost his battle with cancer Saturday morning.
Windsor's Kelly Hoppe joined the band in 1994 — right around the same time as Lowe — and they continued to play and tour together during the bands peak that saw two platinum and two gold records.
Lowe moved to Canada from Kingston, Jamaica, in 1976 when he was 22 where he became a highly sought-after session and touring bassist for reggae bands in Toronto and then nationally — but Hoppe says when he finished college the technically inclined Rastafarian worked for a telecom company — he didn't pick up a bass until he was in his mid-twenties.
"Music was always all around him, but he didn't play. He took lessons, taught himself and he became, in the mid to late '70s, the on call bass player," he says.
The bass player stood out on stage with his large mane of dreadlocked hair, but Hoppe tells AM800 News part of his gift was knowing how to best serve the band's music.
"It's the space around each note, the note has to land in the place, but Garry was never about flash-runs and that kind of thing," he says. "His legacy will be that, that you serve the song and that's your role and he played it to the hilt."
Hoppe says Lowe "had a really gentle and quiet nature about him" paired with a strength that people couldn't help but look up too, despite being close in age.
"He had a really sort of strong sage wisdom where you're, you know, now that I talked to Garry Lowe I feel a whole lot better," Hoppe added.
He kept a lot to himself, even until the end, not wanting to burden those around him, but Hoppe says Lowe still loved the connections made with people throughout the world after decades of touring.
"Just the sweetest nicest guy and he had time for everybody. He just thought it was amazing that people would come and watch him play music back and forth across Canada 100 times playing large crowds," says Hoppe. "He just felt blessed that people took joy from the music and they sure took joy from listening to Garry Lowe drive the Big Sugar machine."
Lowe was 65-years-old.
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