“Frankenstein??? and “Free Ride??? Drummer Chuck Ruff Dies

Chuck Ruff, drummer on Edgar Winter’s instrumental hit “Frankenstein,” passed away in San Francisco, California, this October 14 after a long illness. He was sixty years old.

Ruff was born in Reno, Nevada, on May 25, 1951. His first significant gig was between 1968 and 1970, in the group Sawbuck, featuring Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church. In 1972 Ruff and Montrose joined multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter and singer Dan Hartman to form the Edgar Winter Group. (Renowned guitarist Rick Derringer first produced the band and then later replaced Montrose on guitar.) The group is best known for recording the number-one instrumental hit “Frankenstein” in 1973; they also enjoyed success with the single “Free Ride,” which reached number fourteen on the charts that same year. The band’s second album, Shock Treatment, was also successful.

Ruff became the drummer for Sammy Hagar’s solo project in 1977, and performed on Hagar albums Street Machine and Danger Zone albums, both released in 1979.

In his later years, Ruff performed in Reno, Nevada, with his own Chuck Ruff Group, the Max Volume Band (he played drums on the 2007 album, Illuminaughty), and his last project, Geezersläw.


  1. Markravitz

    chuck was the first drummer I saw live …this was in 1972 when the edgar winter group opened for 10 years after,  His energy behind the kit and his visual appeal has been an inspiration to me ever since.

  2. I got to know Chuck a little ca. 1980 when he was playing in Waikiki and am embarrassed to admit just learned of his passing.

    He claimed to have no formal training, didn’t know a diddle from a ruff, he was playing a snare he configured from a tom that sounded amazing, and he could whip it to a froth.

    He told me he played with Edgar Winter and was the Frankenstein drummer and I had to go to the used record store to find the album and sure as shit I found his pic on the cover of Shock Treatment.

    Nice guy, I enjoyed his company, Those good ol’ days just don’t seem so long ago that he could already be gone…but…

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