Bill Doss - Olivia Tremor Control

One of the key figures behind the hugely influential Elephant 6 collective, as well as one of the founders of the excellent psychedelic band Olivia Tremor Control, Bill Doss has reportedly passed away. He was 43 years old.

The news first came via tweet from Gabe Vodicka, music editor at the Athens, GA weekly magazine Flagpole. It has been confirmed in an announcement on OTC’s website. At the moment, there are no other details of Doss’s passing.

Doss grew up in Ruston, LA, where he connected with Will Cullen Hart, Robert Schneider, and Jeff Mangum. In 1990, Doss, Hart, and Mangum moved to Athens, where they formed a nascent version of Olivia Tremor Control called Cranberry Life Cycle. Mangum departed, and would later form Neutral Milk Hotel. (Schneider, meanwhile, founded the Apples In Stereo.)

Doss and Hart’s band released a pair of remarkable albums, most notably their 1996 debut, Music From The Unrealized Film Script, Dusk At Cubist Castle, although its follow-up, Black Foliage: Animation Music, Vol. 1, is equally essential. Both contain some of the most bizarre, colorful, and exciting psychedelic music ever created.

Last year, Doss and a reformed OTC released their first new music since Black Foliage, a three-part single called “The Game You Play Is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2, & 3,” and played select live dates, with the promise of more of both to follow.

This is sad news. I’m not sure we can even really gauge Doss’s cultural impact at this point, but I’m comfortable saying it was monumental. I’m personally of the opinion that Elephant 6 was at the center of one of the most important movements in American music history, and their influence is clearly evident in bands from Animal Collective to Arcade Fire and beyond. Sad news. R.I.P.

Comments (12)
  1. Horrible. OTC had a huge impact on music. He will be missed.

  2. Doss and co. killed it at Pitchfork just a few weeks ago. Very very sad.

  3. Oh man, this absolutely sucks. For what it’s worth, he looked absolutely fine at Pitchfork a couple weeks ago. It’s the only time I’ve seen OTC, and now I’m glad didn’t skip that set. He really did a lot of great work with the Apples in Stereo over the last few years as well. I’m very, very sad about this. I’ll be listening to OTC all day now.

  4. Bill Doss was 43/44, not 40. He was born in 1968. The dates are on the OTC website.

  5. gigantic bummer. RIP, bill. loved your music.

  6. Absolutely awful. One of the first deaths amongst classic 90s bands, much too soon.

  7. Man, Elephant 6 has been hit young. They lost Will Westbrook of the Gerbils a few years ago. And now Bill Doss. You will be missed. Long live the music!

  8. Thank you for leaving us with such gorgeous music Mr. Doss.

  9. Wow, this is really sad. though he is now gone, he’s made thousands of people just a little bit happier

  10. Very sad news. I wonder if we’ll ever get to hear the album they were working on.

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