Local musician Scott Dempster needs some help from his scene

The local music scene staple and current bassist of Peace of Woodstock had a heart attack on stage, and he needs some help

Scott Dempster — bassist, singer and long-time fixture on the Tampa Bay rock scene — survived a heart attack that struck while he was performing on stage in Ocala. It happened during a recent set with his current band Peace of Woodstock.

This is disheartening news — but it sure as hell beats the alternative. (I definitely don’t care to become CL’s de facto music obit writer.) As good fortune would have it, a cardiologist was in the audience and was able to attend to Scott until EMS arrived and took him to the nearest hospital. 

The most current news is that Scott’s in the hospital and scheduled to have a procedure this week. He may require bypass surgery.

Dempster was a long-time member of The Headlights, arguably the best power-pop-oriented rock band the Bay area has ever produced. Like so many other local groups from the 1980s and ’90s, The Headlights rubbed shoulders with a genuine national breakthrough — one that never fully materialized. They toured for a spell as the backing band for Roger McGuinn, the former member of The Byrds who lived in Pinellas County for several years.

Back in the hey-days, Dempster was an easygoing presence on the scene, quick with a smile, a quip. He was highly regarded for his consistently rock-solid bass work. He’s obviously got music in his veins, because as far as I know he never stopped playing, never stopped being part of this band or that.

Maya Jade Connelly, the daughter of Steve Connelly, Dempster’s former band mate in The Headlights, has started a fundraising effort at YouCaring.com and you can donate here. Scott works for the City of Largo and thus has health insurance, but, as Maya writes, “there's always those pesky co-pays, deductibles, and of course, living expenses.”

Here’s to wishing Scott a full and speedy recovery.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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