D.H. Peligro, Former Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer, Dead at 63

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Arun Nevader/FilmMagic)

D.H. Peligro, drummer in legendary bands Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dead Kennedys, has died at the age of 63, as confirmed by his former bandmates. The Dead Kennedys shared the heartbreaking news in an Instagram post, explaining that the drummer’s cause of death was a fall in his home in Los Angeles.

“Dead Kennedys’ drummer D.H. Peligro (Darren Henley) passed away in his Los Angeles home yesterday, October 28th,” they wrote. “Police on the scene stated that he died from trauma to the head caused by an accidental fall. Arrangements are pending and will be announced in the coming days. We ask that you respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time. Thank you for your thoughts and words of comfort.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea Posts Touching Tribute to D.H. Peligro

Though he’s best known as the drummer for Dead Kennedys, D.H. Peligro had a brief stint with Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 1988, Peligro joined the band following the departure of former drummer and RHCP founding member Jack Irons.

The talented drummer had been friends with the band for years and quickly found his place among the group. Unfortunately, his stint with the Chili Peppers lasted less than a year. But frontman Anthony Kiedis has said firing D.H. Peligro was one of the toughest decisions they ever made. And though they parted ways in their music, the group remained friends for decades after.

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea (aka Michael Peter Balzary), spoke out about his heartbreak over the loss in an Instagram post. “My dear friend, my brother I miss you so much,” the bassist wrote of D.H. Peligro. “I’m devastated today, a river of tears, but all my life I will treasure every second.”

“The first time I saw you play with the DK’s in ‘81 you blew my mind,” Flea continued. “The power, the soul, the recklessness. You became my beloved friend, so many times of every kind. We had so much fun, so much joy, having each other’s backs.”

“I love you with all my heart. You are the truest rocker, and a crucial part of RHCP history. D H P in the place to be, you live forever in our hearts, you wild man, you bringer of joy, you giant-hearted man. I will always honor you. Rest In Peace and freedom from all that restrained you.”

Fellow Musicians Pay Tribute to Late Drummer

D.H. Peligro’s contributions to the world of music, and specifically the punk rock genre, are indelible and eternal. Throughout his 40-year career, the celebrated drummer touched the lives of countless fans and fellow musicians, many of whom expressed their grief following the news of his death.

“So sad to hear about the death of D.H. Peligro,” wrote Lol Tolhurst, founding drummer for The Cure. “He was a lovely man and an awesome drummer. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew him. May he rest in peace.”

Legendary metal drummer Dave Lombardo shared his thoughts as well. “Sad to hear of the passing of D.H. Peligro,” he said. “His drumming on those early D.K. albums inspired my playing in Slayer. Sending my deepest sympathies to his family, bandmates, and all those affected by this tragic, untimely loss. Rest peacefully.”