American drummer, born May 4, 1923, died December 6, 2012, who was one of the founders of the rock group Spirit in 1967.
In 1950 he enrolled at college to get a musical teaching credential, but after about a year decided to leave and move to southern California to meet more jazz musicians and perhaps form a group of his own. During this period he performed together with many leading jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Julian Cannonball Adderley, Roland Kirk, Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan.
With Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, he formed the Rising Sons in 1964. After that, he formed the Red Roosters in 1965, with his young stepson Randy California, Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes. Adding John Locke, they became Spirit in 1967. A powerful, melodic and creative drummer, Cassidy was uniquely recognizable when on stage with Spirit.
He sported a shaved head (very unusual at that time), always wore black, and instead of the double-bass drum kit that was popular at the time, he used a single large parade bass drum turned sideways, with pedals on each side. He had a proclivity for playing extended drum solos with his bare hands instead of drumsticks.