Leonard Haze, original drummer for East Bay hard rockers Y&T, died Sunday at the age of 61 after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A press release from Haze's band, HazeXperience, stated "Haze had been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for several years, making breathing difficult. Even so, he had fought to keep playing drums, performing regularly with his band, HazeXperience, and joining Y&T on-stage at the Fillmore in San Francisco in both 2015 and 2016."
Haze died in his sleep Sunday evening in his hometown of Hayward, where he, Bob Gardner, and Wayne Stitzer started playing together in an unnamed cover band back in 1972. A year later, guitarist Dave Meniketti joined the group and the band found a name before their first show: Yesterday and Today, taken from the Beatles album they were listening to on Haze's stereo while they were brainstorming.
Gardner and Stitzer would leave the group, to be replaced by bassist Phil Kennemore and guitarist Joey Alves. With the new lineup, Yesterday and Today began writing their own songs and playing shows all over the Bay Area and beyond. They were often the headlining band, with bands like Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and Stevie Ray Vaughan opening for them.