Juan Nelson, the long-term bassist for Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals, has died aged 62.
Harper confirmed the news on Twitter, saying: “Beloved husband, father, musical genius, BHIC band member of 27 years, and the finest man I’ve ever known. It’s near impossible for me to put words to this pain and loss. Rest In Glory our beloved Reverend Juan.”
He confirmed that Nelson died last Wednesday (June 9). No cause of death has yet been revealed.
Juan D. Nelson
August 24, 1958-June 9, 2021
Beloved husband, father, musical genius, BHIC band member of 27 years, and the finest man I've ever known.
It's near impossible for me to put words to this pain and loss.
Rest In Glory our beloved Reverend Juan
Photo @gavinconaty pic.twitter.com/8nWxe4GlyM
— Ben Harper (@BenHarper) June 10, 2021
Nelson’s first show with Harper was on April 30, 1994 in Claremont, California, and began a solid 27-year stint as a key member of his band. He co-wrote a number of tracks on the band’s albums ‘Fight for Your Mind’ (1995), ‘Diamonds On The Inside’ (2003), ‘Both Sides Of The Gun’ (2006), and ‘Lifeline’ (2007).
His daughter Naisha has set up a GoFundMe on behalf of his widow Katherine to help cover immediate expenses. It has already outstripped its goal of $10,000 (£7,000).
“We lost someone who is beyond special. A man of god … a husband, father, son, a friend, and one bad ass musician,” she wrote. “He was a man who loved and honored his family as his family loved and honored him.”
Aside from the Innocent Criminals, Nelson’s credits as a performer and recording artist include Brenda Russell, Al Wilson, Freddy Jackson, Sunny Green, Joel, Neal Larson, Eric McFadden, Charles Wright, Piers Faccini, Victor Rocha and more.
His last appearance on a Ben Harper project was ‘Call It What It Is’, released in 2016. Harper’s subsequent records were an album of duets with Charlie Musselwhite and a solo slide guitar record, respectively.