Earl “Bubba” Maddox 1957-2013

Maddox succumbed to cancer on Sunday, March 17, 2013


“I’ve got cancer.” These are the words my dear friend Earl Maddox spoke in an unusually subdued phone call to me last June. It was the beginning of his final journey, ending on Sunday, March 17, 2013, when he passed away peacefully at the home he shared with his Mother, Marion Hardwick, in Augusta. Earl, who had been such an integral Redneck Underground journeyman, playing in numerous local bands including my band Slim Chance & the Convicts, was a force of nature, a wiry bundle of energy who never met a stranger, who could and would figure out a way to fix whatever needed fixing, and who hardly ever stopped talking. He went after the disease with the same gusto he did everything else in life, balls out and ready for whatever challenge came up, but this time the disease won. Earl was allergic to the chemicals in the chemo solution, which caused more harm than good, and the radiation had the well-known side effects that almost killed him. But he tried. He tried holistic juicing, visualization, everything he could think of or was told might work. His body, now compromised by other health issues, simply couldn’t fight the cancer anymore.

Born in Augusta, Earl discovered music early on, and one of his first band gigs was with the Grease Guns, which included Gregory Dean Smalley, who would later move to Atlanta and help create the legendary Bubbapalooza festival at the Star Bar. When Greg succumbed to AIDS related illness in 1996, it was Earl who helped take care of him to the end. His devotion to his friends was that strong.