Cinderella Guitarist Jeff LaBar Dies At 58
On Tuesday, Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar has died at 58. The cause of his death has not been announced. The singer was known to have struggled with drug addiction for years.
The hard rock band had not recorded an album since 1994. They continued to tour until a few years ago but broke up eventually.
LaBar had said that he was starting fresh when his Twitter status announced he was a “culinary school student studying to become a chef.” He posted several photos of his creations on his Instagram.
LaBar’s son, Sebastian LaBar, was the first to share the news of his father’s death on Wednesday.
“So [I] just got the call… Jeff LaBar, my father, my hero, my idol, passed away today. I’m currently at a loss for words. I love you pop! … If you could, please share pictures or [videos] of all the fun times we all had with my dad. It would be greatly appreciated,” he wrote on the caption.
LaBar’s first wife, Gaile LaBar-Bernhardt, said she had found the guitarist dead on Wednesday inside his apartment in Nashville after no one had been able to contact him for days.
“Heavy hearts cannot begin to describe the feeling of losing our brother Jeff,” said the former Cinderella members, Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury in a joint statement. “The bond between us over decades of creating music and touring the world is something that we as a band uniquely shared. Those memories with Jeff will be forever alive in our hearts. It’s unimaginable that one of our band brothers has left us. We’re sending his wife Debinique, his son Sebastian, family, and friends our deepest condolences. Jeff’s memory and music will be with us forever. We all – band, family and management – appreciate the overwhelming outpouring of love.”
LaBar was the second lead guitarist for the band. He joined when their debut album Night Songs was recorded. The album rose to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and was certified triple-platinum. The album produced Cinderella’s highest-charting single, “Nobody’s Fool,” which reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Though the group stopped recording in the 90s, they continued to tour until 2015. However, Keifer said in 2017, “There’s been a lot of issues over the course of decades and build-up that is beyond repair at this point. So there won’t be any reunion.”
In a 2016 interview, LaBar revealed his struggles with addiction and struggle to stay sober.
“I can only speculate, but I believe it’s all my fault. It’s no secret that I’ve had a drinking problem. And it showed its ugly face on one of those [cruises that Cinderella played]. I guess that’s what caused a rift … When I fell out on one of those cruise ships in front of everybody – like, basically O.D.’d – that’s when the band, and mostly Tom, took notice and was, like, ‘What the f—? … and I can only speculate that he’s very disappointed and doesn’t [want to] see me die. He doesn’t [want to] witness me dying.”
He later said, “I have a history of drinking and cocaine … In the ’80s, it was cocaine abuse. In the ’90s, it was heroin. I went through every cliché phase that a rock star could go through. It just wasn’t highly publicized. I was arrested, I went through rehab, I did all the things Motley Crue did. I just didn’t publicize it. I was Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses all wrapped into one. As a band, we tried to hide our dirty laundry, and most of our dirty laundry was me.”
Many, including Michael Sweet of Stryper, posted tributes on social media.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of Jeff LaBar,” he wrote. “I had the honor of meeting Jeff multiple times when he would attend our shows in Nashville, Tn. He was always a gentleman and very kind and complimentary. He was always very supportive of our band and I’ve always viewed him as a great guy with a big heart. May God Bless you Jeff and May God bless the LaBar family, friends and fans worldwide. Godspeed my friend.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” wrote Scorpions in a statement.