08 April 2008

Daniel Macmaster (39), former lead singer of Bonham, died from a Group A streptococcus infection

The former lead singer of British hard rock band Bonham died Sunday at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre of a Group A streptococcus infection. He was 39.

Daniel MacMaster had been living in the northwestern Ontario city for the past eight years with his partner Tina McCallum.

Raised in Barrie, Ont., MacMaster began his career with the Toronto band Scorcher in the mid-1980s before joining Bonham.

At the time of his death, MacMaster worked as a long-haul trucker, most recently for ProNorth Transportation.

MacMaster thought he had a cold, and by the time the doctors realized what it was, it was too late, McCallum said, describing the death as unexpected.

"[It is] something most people fight off naturally, or if it is caught results in strep throat," said McCallum.

"For some freaky reason it got into his bloodstream . once that happens there is not a lot that they can do," she said.

MacMaster experienced the life of a rock star at a young age, releasing two albums before the age of 25 with Bonham, a band named after its drummer Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

The band's first album, The Disregard of Timekeeping, with the hit single "Wait For You", was released in 1989 and made it onto the Top 40 charts.

The band released its second album Mad Hatter in 1992, but then members went separate ways.

MacMaster returned to Toronto where he met McCallum.

Terry Baker, one of MacMaster''s Scorcher bandmates, remembered his friend on a Facebook memorial webpage.

"All I can say is that he was a very generous person, he quit a $20 per hour job to go on the road with Scorcher and make 75 bucks a week in 1985 - I even thought he was crazy," Baker wrote.

"He gave me a place to live on several occasions, he gave me a $3,000 guitar . He had only sang two, maybe three years when he landed a gig with Bonham. It was just meant to be."

After the Bonham breakup, he was finished with the rock ''n'' roll lifestyle, McCallum said.

"In the end he didn''t want to tour . he didn''t want the fame and the fortune, he just wanted his music to be heard."

MacMaster continued to write music and played with a local hobby band, Oh My Blues Band.

MacMaster leaves two children, Kaleb, 8, and Aryanna, 6, as well as his partner, MacCallum.

"He was a devoted father" and "a funny guy. Everybody has a funny Dan story," she said.

© The Canadian Press, 2008

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