Phil Kennemore of Y&T Loses Battle to Cancer

Today the Metal community lost a great musician. Phil Kennemore, bass player of Y&T (Yesterday and Today) died today from metastatic lung cancer.  Phil’s first band was only five dudes….but there was a hitch; nobody could play. Phil’s even stated that he didn’t even know what a bass was. He only knew that he wanted to play so he took a couple of strings off of his guit and decided to be a bass player.
Before Y&T, there were other bands that Phil was involved with. His first band was called Crystal Sunshine and I’m sure you can guess the era that was in. Like all other bands before them they started off like everyone else by playing anywhere they could. Phil also made due with whatever he had on had to create his own world – he took the mattress off his bed, put plywood on his bed frame and made his very own stage where he’d place his amp and perform on his “stage”.
Leonard Haze (drums) and Dave Menniketti (lead vocals/lead guitar) of Oakland, CA (San Francisco Bay area) asked Phil to join Y&T in 1974. Phil’s role models for Y&T were Leo Lyons (Ten Years After) and Gary Thain (Uriah Heap) as well as a ton of others. Today, Phil’s love for diversity in music would probably shock most of his Y&T fans. He digs every style of music out there and says that he can’t frown on any particular genre adding that “only people with narrow minds should be condemned”.
The music community reached out to Phil offering whatever financial assistance he might need to offset all of his medical expenses. To know that there was such an outpouring love reminds us all that we need to step up to the plate and help those who need it.
A message from Dave within a couple of hours after Phil’s death:

It is with profound sadness and disbelief that I tell you that my best buddy for 37 years passed away this morning, January 7, 2011 at 1am at Stanford Hospital. Bravely and steadfastly battling the horrible spectacle of lung cancer, at the end he was surrounded by his family members and the Y&T family up until his final breath.

All the beautiful things that I could say about my buddy Phil could never be summed up in a short sentence or two, and I promise that I will be back to say so much more about how I feel about him and his talents in due time. But for now, at 3am, after just having returned home from his passing, let me at least put this out there.

Phil Kennemore was not only a sweet and passionate man with his life, friends and family, but as an artist, he also had that rare ability to say what was on his mind with the most eloquent, clever, and to-the-point lyrics, yet could turn it on it’s head in a second with some other viewpoint on reality and nail the point dead center. He was able to do what very few can – say the things that others have been thinking, but could never quite seem to put into words. He has always had a keen knack for doing that.

As a musician, with those huge fingers, his bass playing was always loud, strong, and deep, filling the largest or smallest of stages equally.

He had an amazingly strong life force that has influenced everyone who ever had the opportunity to be called a friend of his. I am forever grateful for our lifelong friendship that was always in place throughout the worst and best of times. I will miss his sense of humor, his amazing wit, but most of all I will always miss not seeing him to my left on the stages I will play from this moment forward.

Yes, he was one of the class guys on this planet, and in this business, and I will always do what I can to spread the legacy of Phil Kennemore across the globe on every stage that I land on.

You know how much I love you Phil, and you knew how much your fans and fellow musicians loved and respected you. There was nothing left unsaid. You had a rich and wonderful life and I can only tell you that I was happy to have been alongside you every step of the glorious way.

Cheers to you, Phil.

Your friend forever,

Phil, you will be sorely missed. RIP Phil Kennemore \m/

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