Published May 22, 2020Steve "Thee Slayer Hippy" Hanford — best known for serving as the drummer for Portland's Poison Idea — has died. Hanford passed away early Thursday (May 21) of a heart attack. Beyond Poison Idea, Hanford played in such groups as Gift, Fetish and the Accüsed A.D., as well as worked as a producer with Elliott Smith's early band Heatmiser and on the cult classic Cardinal album by Eric Matthews and Richard Davies. At the time of his passing, Hanford would have been 50 or 51.
The news was confirmed by Hanford's current label Blackhouse Record, which wrote, "The world just lost a pretty amazing person today. Unreal. Steve's larger than life personality, let alone his drumming and producing work over the years was something of legend, unforgettable and historic to say the very least."
Born Steven Hanford in Walla Walla, WA, in 1969, Hanford began playing drums at the young age of 8 and joined Poison Idea when he was just 15. His debut according with the group came on their 1987 sophomore effort, the classic War All the Time. In addition to playing drums on the record, Hanford also produced War All the Time, as well as co-wrote the album's "Push the Button."
From there, Hanford would go on to play with Poison Idea until 1993, when he left the group after that year's We Must Burn. Shortly after, Hanford played on the one and only album from Gift, 1994's Multum in Parva, with the drummer/producer going on to play with Fetish and the Accüsed A.D.
As producer, Hanford notably worked with Elliott Smith's early full-band project Heatmiser, lending production work to their 1993 debut Dead Air and its 1994 follow-up Cop and Speeder. Also in 1994, Hanford both played drums and produced the much-loved self-titled album by Cardinal, the project helmed by chamber-pop hero Eric Matthews and Richard Davies of Australian indie-pop legends the Moles.
In 2008, a then 39-year-old Hanford made headlines after being arrested by Portland police in connection with a string of pharmacy robberies. The incident found Hanford then serving seven and a half years in jail.
Last year, Hanford's latest band, Fetish, released their debut album World Eater, while he also joined the Accüsed A.D. as their live touring drummer. In addition, Hanford provided production on Nick Oliveri's most recent Mondo Generator album, 2019's Fuck It.
You can find Blackhouse Record's post below. A Steve Hanford memorial fund has also been set up. You can contribute to that here.