John Cipollina Obituary, Death Cause – On the occasion of the anniversary of the day that he crossed the Bridge, I would want to take this opportunity, as I have done in past years, to memorialize and grieve the passing of my longtime friend John Cipollina, who died away in recent years. I would like to do this on the anniversary of the day that he crossed the Bridge. John was not only a founding member of the well-known San Francisco rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service but also the band’s primary guitarist. QMS was a band that gained a lot of popularity in the city. After disbanding Quicksilver, he created the band Copperhead and went on to play with a number of other bands in the years that followed.
It is generally agreed that he was an important figure in the beginning of the psychedelic rock music scene in San Francisco. In 1965, he started using a combination of valve and solid-state amplifiers, which is one of the factors that led to the characteristic tone of his guitar. In 1995, he made a donation of his one-of-a-kind massive amplifier stack to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. He also sent one of his customized Gibson SG guitars and effects pedals. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was hosting the exhibit when it was open to the public.
After a career that spanned over twenty-five years, John passed away unexpectedly on May 29th, 1989, at the age of forty-five, after a long and difficult fight against cancer. An all-star show was arranged on the following month in San Francisco to pay tribute to him in front of Quicksilver Messenger Service supporters as well as many other friends at the Fillmore Auditorium. At the occasion, there were performances by John’s brother Mario, Nicky Hopkins, David Freiberg, and a great many more people who had collaborated on stage with John at some point throughout his life.