Steve Miller Band Member Norton Buffalo Dies at 58
Norton Buffalo, a singer-songwriter and the harmonica player for the Steve Miller Band since 1975, died Friday, Oct. 30, at the age of 58. Buffalo first wrote about being diagnosed with lung cancer in September after feeling ill following a concert. After his personal doctor mistakenly told him that his lungs sounded fine, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma of the lower right lobe, with a subsequent MRI revealing that it had spread to his brain.
Born Sept. 28, 1951 in Oakland, Calif., Buffalo played with the Steve Miller Band for 34 years and performed with the group on its 2009 summer tour. As a session player, Norton's harmonica was heard on records by the likes of the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Mickey Hart, Commander Cody and Elvin Bishop.
He also recorded several albums with the Stampede and appeared in several movies. He issued his solo debut, 'Lovin' in the Valley of the Moon', on Capitol Records in 1977. A year later, he dropped 'Desert Horizon'. Norton also led his own band, the Knockouts, and teamed with blues slide guitarist Roy Rogers for 'R&B,' which included the Grammy-nominated track 'Song for Jessica.'
Just ahead of his passing, Buffalo wrote, "While the tumor in my lung has receded a little bit, a couple of the tumors in my brain have grown. My doctors are now talking about the next step being full brain radiation and believe that I should begin that ASAP. [We] are doing research into that as we speak and we are, as well, looking for insight, personal experiences and/or more knowledge or alternatives that any of you may have regarding that."
"It sounds like such a daunting concept," he added. "As my brain is what connects me to my body