January 29, 2015 – Danny McCulloch (the New Animals) was born July 18, 1945 in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. Not even in his mid teens, he started out with local band The Avro Boys, who became Tony Craven & The Casuals. In 1960, the band linked up with new singer Frankie Reid and Danny remained with the group until October 1962.
During his time with The Casuals, one of the band’s drummers was Mitch Mitchell. Danny next joined Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, before joining The Plebs. During 1966, he worked briefly with The Carl Douglas Set.
In late 1966, after the breakup of the original incarnation of The Animals, he joined the “New Animals”. They released a series of albums and hit singles, including “San Franciscan Nights“, “Monterey” and “Sky Pilot“. He and Vic Briggs were fired from the band and they started a duo career. In 1969 they released the album Wings of a Man.
McCulloch’s children, Natasha Brearley, Nina McCulloch Kent, Tara Mcculloch and Alistair Temple, wrote the following tribute to their father that was originally published by NME:
Danny McCulloch died suddenly on the morning of Thursday, January 29, 2015 from cardiac heart failure. At age 69 this ‘giant amongst us’ departed doing what he loved until the end, though he still had more to give in life and in music. Although best known for the earth shattering riffs played with Eric Burdon and the Animals, giving depth and vitality to Burdon’s vocals, there was much more to his individual composition and passion for the raw music.
In the summer of ’68 a blessing presented itself in the form of Danny’s realisation that he was, in fact, an animal no more, which meant that he could write the music that he wanted to, the way that he wanted to. The legacy that he leaves us with today are thought-provoking and quietly humble arrangements.
Danny got his first big break over 55 years ago, and was among the first talent to intercept public consciousness via the new-fangled media – The Carroll Levis Talent Show. Danny entered the show aged 11 bounding with enthusiasm playing Skiffle music, giving the world a small glimpse of this untapped talent and showmanship. From this spring board Danny gained the opportunity to further develop his craft with bands touring Europe. To this young adventurer from Shepherds Bush, it was a time of discover of the world of music.
Playing with bands such as Tony Craven & The Casuals and Screaming Lord Sutch added new dimensions to Danny’s craft, as well as sessions with ‘Muddy Waters’. He played bass for Jerry Lee Lewis on the Ready Steady Go! show.
Within the music industry his talent soon became recognised and whilst playing off stage and perfecting his riffs, recognition came in no higher form than from Jimi Hendrix himself, proclaiming that he had just witnessed the best bass guitarist that he had ever heard. A truth that was later confirmed for the wider audience in Billboard magazines acclaimed Top Bass Guitarist line-up in the mid 60s.
Joining the undoubtedly best edition of The Animals during the second draft in 1966, the fame and limelight was thrust upon him and this didn’t quite suit this unique individual. When he left in 1968, he found creative freedom and released Wings Of A Man with Vic Briggs.
Danny grew further into a wonderful and creative individual. In 1992 took up the opportunity to play in Moscow’s Red Square with The Animals to aid the United Nations Association Trust and the Children of Chernobyl Fund. The band got back together, with no other intention than to help.
It was during this time also that Danny was rumoured to be the likely replacement for Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones, who left in 1993. In 1995 a second album of his own was released, entitled ‘Beowulf’ with friends like Albert Hammond, Steve Rowland and others.
In the vaults, there is more music to come and with the help of loved ones this will be realised.
In 1971 Danny was the bassist on Reg King’s solo LP. But in the 1980s he worked as a psychiatric nurse in the psychiatric hospital Rauceby in Sleaford Lincolnshire.
Then in 1993 he put together a new Animals group, which re-recorded the old hits and a few others. In 1995 he recorded a second solo album, Beowulf.
In the 2000s he was touring with a new Animals formation, called Animals and Friends.
Danny died from heart failure at age 69 on 29 January 2015.