Blackberry Smoke Drummer Brit Turner Recovering from Brain Tumor
It has been a bad string of luck for Brit Turner, who is the long time drummer of Southern rock titans Blackberry Smoke. But he’s on the mend after doctors recently found a brain tumor and had to conduct surgery, as Blackberry was forced to cancel a show and play another acoustically in his absence. The band has now brought on a substitute drummer for upcoming performances.
It was bad news for Brit Turner on August 16th when he suffered a heart attack at his home in Atlanta. Luckily, Turner was able to make it to the hospital on time where he received a stent in his coronary artery, and was discharged from the hospital on August 18th. Turner missed a few shows as Blackberry Smoke played acoustically, but Turner was able to make a full recovery and return to the stage. Then lo and behold, he recently began to experience further problems.
“Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction,” the band said on November 3rd. “Earlier this week, Brit Turner suffered an episode and needed to be taken to the ER. He was feeling alright but due to the issues from his recent heart attack, his medical team elected to keep him in the hospital and run a series of tests to determine what could have caused the situation. Upon receiving an MRI they found a tumor on his brain in the frontal lobe … Brit is now undergoing surgery and more testing to find out what his next steps to a healthy recovery will be.”
The development meant Blackberry Smoke had to postpone their planned show on Friday, November 4th in Montgomery, AL on their tour celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of the release of their album The Whippoorwill. The good news is that Brit Turner had surgery on Monday, November 7th where they removed most of the tumor, and he is currently recovering from the surgery.
Blackberry Smoke has tour dates coming up November 9th in San Antonio, November 10th in Austin, and November 11th in Houston before opening for the Turnpike Troubadours at their big arena show on November 12th at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City. Blackberry has confirmed they will play these shows, and with a full band with drummer Mike Rizzi filling in for Brit Turner.
Those who know about Blackberry Smoke, they know that Brit Turner is a founding member of the band, and is also considered the heartbeat and big brother the band, helping to keep Blackberry Smoke together since its formation in 2000, and chronicling the band all along the way. Brit keeps collections of all the accolades, accomplishments, tour posters, credentials, and everything else from the band’s lineage. He’s also the brother of Blackberry Smoke bass player Richard Turner.
Fill-in drummer Mike Rizzi is a well-known and seasoned drummer who played with the band Five Eight out of Athens, Georgia for 9 years. He was also the drummer for Sonia Leigh in 2011-2012 when Sonia was signed to Zac Brown Band’s Southern Ground record label. Blackberry Smoke was signed with Southern Ground at the same time, and released The Whippoorwill on the label.
Meanwhile, the dedicated fans of Blackberry Smoke continue to share their thoughts and prayers for a full recovery for Brit Turner. More information on Brit Turner’s condition when it is available. (UPDATE 12/17: Blackberry Smoke’s Brit Turner Battles Through Brain Cancer)
November 9, 2022 @ 9:52 am
Hoping for a speedy recovery for Brit. I was fortunate to catch the band four times this year, there is not presently a better live Music Experience. Two of those shows were opening for Jamey Johnson, with BBS playing acoustic due to Brit’s heart issues.
Southern Man, Country Fan, and Stuck Somewhere Else
November 9, 2022 @ 9:55 am
What a very tough year for Brit and the band! My prayers go out to Brit, and his family and bandmates, and all of his loved ones, for his full healing and recovery.
I’m a fairly recent convert to Blackberry Smoke, having only gotten into their music over the past few years, but I’m definitely a fan. It’s funny– big music fans of various genres, had been recommending them to me *for years* as a great new Southern rock band, but somehow, I was so stuck on the past Southern rock giants (all of whom I still love, from the Allman Brothers Band to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, The Outlaws, and much more) that I just had it in my mind, somehow, that Blackberry Smoke would leave me disappointed. Well, I’m happy to say that I was quite wrong! This band is so, so good! I just wish, now, that I hadn’t been so late to the party with ’em. Still hoping to catch them in concert, as the live DVD that I have is amazing.
November 9, 2022 @ 1:38 pm
Glad to hear Brother Brit has made it out of the surgery successfully and hope for a successful recovery.
I’m a huge Smoke fan have been going to thier live shows since 2013. I happened to be at the show this past Sat where they were “opening” for Turnpike (sandwiched between American Aquarium and TT). They played an acoustic set that was fantastic and Charlie kept the mood lite, but you could see that Brit’s brother Richard was not really himself understandably so.
Brit is so key to the band that hopefully he can be back in the saddle in the near future.
November 9, 2022 @ 7:53 pm
Praise the lord. He was released from the hospital today to recover at home.
November 10, 2022 @ 4:55 am
hope everything will be allright for Brit, he’s the very soul of the band and funny as hell!!
Mary M. Turney
November 10, 2022 @ 5:05 am
My first show was 9 hours away, at The Caverns in Tennessee. Brit and the boy’s impressed and gained a huge new fan. The support I’ve seen shown to Brit from BBS fans is phenomenal to behold. I’m impressed yet again. Lifting Brit up in our prayers! You are loved and admired, Sir. ❤️🩹🎶🙌
November 13, 2022 @ 10:08 am
Wow, that sounds very Def Lepard-ish. That’s some bad luck for a good band. This site got me into them back on their second album and I’ve been following them ever since. The last two albums, prior to their most recent, I thought the songwriting had dipped a bit, but this most recent album is one of their finest. Here’s hoping for a fast and full recovery. I saw them a few years ago and they put on a great show. I have to make a point to see them this next time around, especially if the drummer is back in place.