John Regan, an acclaimed bassist who played with the likes of Peter Frampton, Ace Frehley, Billy Idol, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie, has died at 71.
A statement from his wife, Cathy Merring-Regan, was shared Friday on Facebook by a family friend.
“It is with the greatest sorrow and sadness that I let you all know John passed away this afternoon,” the statement reads. “So many people have posted messages of love and condolences on his phone. I am trying to figure out how to post on any of his [Facebook] pages. I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers.”
“One of his favorite quotes was ‘All that you can take with you is that which you’ve given away,’” she continued. “From reading your messages, I know he gave much away and so much love was sent to him. He passed suddenly, but that was his wish.”
“I had heard him over the past few weeks having lengthy conversations with many of you and you brought such joy to him. Thank you all for your heartfelt messages,” she concluded.
A cause of death was not announced. Fellow musicians, meanwhile, shared condolences online.
“There might only be a handful, if that, of people who come into your world and truly enrich your life. I have lost one of my closest buddies. He certainly enriched my life because of the person and the great player he was. John Regan was the best of us,” Frampton, 72, wrote in a series of tweets.
“He went out of his way to help people when things weren’t right. It didn’t matter who you were, prince or pauper. I know there are many of you out there who knew him. He was a friend to all. Always musically inspiring and one of the funniest people on the planet,” he continued.
“My thoughts are with his wife Cathy, his children, Christopher and Jeness and his grandchildren. I love you my brother you will be missed by so many. rest in peace,” he added.
The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie also issued a statement. Regan had performed at the venue with Frampton as well as his band Four By Fate.
“We are sad to announce the passing of one of our Chance family, John Regan. John was an incredible musician, a rockstar, but most of all, he was one of the nicest, most humble humans you’ve ever known. John, you will be missed by all of us who had the honor of knowing you. RIP,” reps for the music venue wrote on Facebook.
The longtime Wappingers Falls, NY resident was born on Oct. 28, 1951. Regan had told the Poughkeepsie Journal that his decision to pursue a lifelong music career began when he first played The Chance Theater.
“So many milestones of my life have been on that stage. That’s my home base right there,” Regan said in the 2017 interview.
Besides playing with Frampton, Regan was a member of Frehley’s Comet, with former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, from 1984 to 1990, recording “Frehley’s Comet” (1987); “Second Sighting” (1988); and “Trouble Walkin’” (1989).
The acclaimed bassist most notably played with Bowie and Mick Jagger on the 1985 single “Dancing in the Street,” and with the Rolling Stones the following year on “Winning Ugly.”
In 2014, Regan co-founded Four by Fate, which released its debut album “Relentless” two years later.
“We’re just playing music for the fun of it,” Regan once told the Poughkeepsie Journal of Four by Fate’s formation. “Everyone wanted to do this to have a good time.”
He said the band “just kind of happened” — after all, he admitted, the best things in music only happen “when you don’t try to steer them.” The group, composed of rock n’ roll legends Tod Howarth, Patrick James Gasperini and Rob Affuso, was hell-bent on having fun.
“Everyone has been around the block a couple of times and that’s how we ended up together, wanting to do this,” said Regan. “The one thing we did agree on was, this has to be absolutely joyful.”
Howarth, a former Frehley’s Comet co-frontman, penned a heartfelt note about the last time he interacted with his “dear friend’ — the morning of his death.
“I started this over and over, I can’t capture everything I’m feeling,” he began his Facebook tribute. “By now most all of you know of John Regan’s passing today.”
“Early this morning he called me but it was a butt dial. Typical over the last decade or so. When I texted him ‘You rang?’ He responded; ‘Not that I know of’ and said that he hoped he didn’t wake me up. I replied, ‘No worries I was about to walk the dog.’
“This would be the last time I got to ‘speak’ with my dear friend of 38 years because I never got to call him back before I got a devastating request from a mutual friend to ‘please call.’”
He applauded Regan’s tenured career and treasured work, calling him a “world class talent and an incredible human being.” Admitting to crying most of the day, Howarth mourned another loss in the music industry and thanked everyone who had already reached out.
“Love you and already miss you John, thank you,” he wrote, saying he and Regan’s loved ones are “shattered” and “devastated.”