We are humbled to help celebrate and memorialize the life of Dennis Sullivan, who passed away unexpectedly last August. We are honored to share these words of remembrance from his brother David:
On August 28, 2020, we lost our son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and bandmate Dennis Sullivan. Like many things over the past 18 months, we’ve had to delay the celebration of his life and we’re grateful that you have taken some time to visit this page and will consider a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation in Dennis’ name.
If you are here then you may know, that next to his family and friends, playing in a band defined who Dennis was and set a course for his life. Frankly there is nothing he would rather do than play a gig, or even just go to band practice because he got to play with his friends.
Dennis was the quintessential bass playing front man with a big voice. He was a leader and knew what he was doing, while at the same time not afraid to try something new that one of his band members wanted to try. His role was to lead and teach the others what he had to offer. He was always teaching, and this was his strongest attribute as a band mate and friend.
Dennis started playing bass as a teenager in Buffalo and played under different band names, mostly The Endorphins with Chris Smith, Mark Cerrone & Jonesy. These guys played their bluesy rock n roll, with a hint of the Dead on the 716-club circuit including Broadway Joes, Mulligans, and Central Grill.
Later, Dennis relocated to Winston Salem, where he met back up with Chris Smith and joined him in the band Jive Turkee. These guys played across the Mid Atlantic from South Carolina to West Virginia. Ziggy’s was a favorite place to play in Winston Salem, as was Backstreet Pub in Beaufort, NC.
Towards the end of his music career, Dennis founded “Carolina Clay”, later adopting the name “Petey and the Mushrooms” with Chris Gladen, Craig Fightmaster and Rick Nelson. If she was in the audience on a given night, Angela Anderson would join the band and sing with Dennis. They played a mix of cover tunes they selected based on whether it fit their mantra of “Jammin’ Music for Rockin’ Souls”.
Craig recently told me, “If it weren’t for the music program at my high school, I might not have graduated.” It’s with that sentiment that we are pleased to partner with Mockingbird to help pass the music torch onto the next generation. Thank you.
The Mockingbird Foundation is an all-volunteer, fan-founded and -managed 501c3 supporting music education for children. It is the leading provider of historical information about Phish and its music, having cultivated intellectual property through phish.net since 1994. A leading grantmaker in music education for children, the Foundation has now made 512 grants in all 50 states, totaling more than $1.9M. Funds for grants are generated through donations from a loyal base of fans, as well as through books, recordings, artwork, merchandise, and special events. The Foundation has been operated entirely by volunteer fans of the band, without any salaries or paid staff, since its inception in 1996.