Will Under Suspicious Circumstances

When a rock star dies unexpectedly, the question of how they died can loom as large as the memory of how they lived. Some allegations belong to a constellation of baseless rock star conspiracy theories. Other times, there are legitimate questions about the deaths of rock stars.
A music school dropout who often outclassed major musicians, Felix Pappalardi could play virtually any instrument. Pappalardi produced multiple albums for Eric Clapton’s group Cream and wrote much of the group’s hit single “Strange Brew.” Afterward, he became the bassist and backbone of the band Mountain. As the New York Daily News detailed, Mountain front man Leslie West credited Pappalardi with teaching him many music dos and don’ts.
After Mountain’s popularity peaked with “Mississippi Queen,” Pappalardi departed the band to save his hearing, but he kept busy with narcotics and extramarital affairs. Pappalardi had an open marriage with lyricist Gail Collins, who wrote the strangest lines of “Strange Brew.” She tolerated his tomcatting until 1982, when Pappalardi fell in love with would-be singer Valerie Merians. In April 1983, Pappalardi returned home after a night with with Merians and wound up with a bullet in his neck.
Collins shot him with a handgun he gave her as a gift. She then called her attorney, who advised her to call 911. Collins told police the incident was “… an accident during a 6 a.m. firearms training session.”
Detectives discovered pieces of the couple’s marriage certificate in the trash and understandably weren’t convinced. Collins spent two years in prison for negligent homicide.
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