TAMPA - Veteran Tampa Bay musician and actor, Joe Lala, passed away this morning in Tampa at the age of 67. Though specific details of Lala's passing and cause of death are not known at this time, Am Tampa Bay co-host Tedd Webb reported on 970 WFLA this morning that Lala had passed away at approximately 7:00am, following his battle with lung cancer. Other sources have indicated that Lala had also recently suffered a serious fall prior to his passing as well.
Born in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida in 1947, Lala was a musician and actor who was mostly know for being a founding member of Blues Image.
Lala started out playing drums in several Florida bands in the 1960's before forming Blues Image in Tampa in 1966. Blues Image became a critically acclaimed rock band, and one of the most successful bands to ever come out of the Tampa Bay area. The bands most successful song was "Ride Captain Ride" (1970) which reached No. 4 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian RPM magazine charts.
Throughout his career, Lala accumulated 32 Gold records, and 28 Platinum records. As a percussionist, Lala has played with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Manassas, The Bee Gees, Whitney Houston, and many others. Lala also played on numerous movie soundtracks including Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive, D.C. Cab, Streets of Fire, All the Right Moves, Breathless, Defiance, The Lonely Guy, and Airplane!.
After a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome ended his career as a percussionist, Lala became an actor. Lala’s film credits include Born in East L.A., Out for Justice, Marked for Death, Active Stealth, Sugar Hill, On Deadly Ground, Deep Sleep, Havana, Eyewitness to Murder and many more.
In addition to movies, Lala also made appearances on tv shows such as Miami Vice, General Hospital, Melrose Place, Seinfeld, Hunter, and Who's the Boss?. Lala also starred in a summer replacement show named Knight & Daye. Lala portrayed another Ybor City native, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, in Ali, and co-starred with Andy Garcia in For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.
Lala also worked as a voice-over actor, providing character voices on several animated television shows including Batman: The Animated Series, Pinky and the Brain, Quack Pack, The Angry Beavers, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Johnny Bravo, Superman: The Animated Series and many more.
Lala also provided the voice for Kun Lan, a character in the 2005 video game, Killer7.
Lala was also a Board of Director for both the Florida Musicians Hall of Fame and the Tampa Bay Music Hall of Fame along with Tedd Webb, Charlie Souza, Keith Wilkins, A. Paul Johnson, Douglas Cifers, Richard Garland and Sally Rosen.
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