W.S. ‘Fluke’ Holland, drummer for Johnny Cash, dies aged 85

His death was confirmed in an online obituary

W.S. ‘Fluke’ Holland, drummer for Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, has died at 85.

As the Jackson Sun reports, Holland died after a brief illness on Wednesday (September 23). His death was confirmed by an obituary posted on funeral services company George A. Smith and Sons.

The drummer began his musical career one year out of high school, when he joined the Carls Perkins Brothers Band and toured with them until 1960. Notably, he played on their original recording of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.

Following that, he joined Cash’s band, The Tennessee Three. Holland toured the world with Cash and was his drummer and road manager until he retired in 1997. He was the only drummer Cash ever had.

Holland remained active in the music business until 2019.

During a 2014 interview, Holland explained how his nickname ‘Fluke’ came from a series of good luck. When he was asked by Perkins to join a recording session, Holland had never played the drums before. He was also left-handed and didn’t know the proper setup, but it eventually led Holland to develop an unorthodox style of drumming.

“I asked Carl Perkins once why he picked me to play drums. He told me I was the only one he knew who had a Cadillac,” Holland said.

“He said that he had always wanted to drive up to Sun Studios to play music for Sam Phillips in a Cadillac. So that was another fluke.”

Holland also spent time performing for Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis during his musical career.