The Band's Jim Weider Blames Richard Manuel's Death on "Bad Management"

"We shouldn't have been out doing that many shows. Someone should have been looking over him a lot better"

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BY Ben OkazawaPublished Oct 30, 2023

Jim Weider, Robbie Robertson's successor as the Band's lead guitarist, has revealed that he attributes Richard Manuel's 1986 suicide to the group's management.

He told Rolling Stone that the Stratford, ON native was being overworked as they were on tour at the time of his death, and that his alcoholism should've been handled with more sensitivity.

"Richard was drinking a lot. We were down in Florida. I went down with Rick [Danko] to get some pot from Richard's room. He just went, 'It's over there! Just get it! Get out!' We just got it and left. Of course, we found out in the morning what happened," he revealed. 

"It shouldn't have happened. He was kind of fragile at that point. We probably shouldn't have been … it was bad management. We shouldn't have been out doing that many shows. Someone should have been looking over him a lot better than it had been."

Weider went on to explain that the Band were able to stay together after Manuel's death because of Garth Hudson's increased contributions, but Danko's death in 1999 was the last straw for the group. 

"Levon [Helm] and Danko sang so well together. Rick in the studio could sing the high parts or even the low parts, perfectly in pitch," he recalled. "Those guys sang like birds. Once we lost Rick, that was the end of it."

Stories of the Band, Helm, Danko, Manuel and Robertson are immortalized in 2020 documentary Once Were Brothers

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