Percussionist Joe Cripps, a former member of Denton’s Grammy Award-winning band Brave Combo, hasn’t been seen in two weeks.
Cripps apparently disappeared in Little Rock, Ark., where the police department posted on its Facebook page that “the last time that anyone has had any contact with Mr. Cripps was around the 19th or 20th of October. Mr. Cripps may have shaved his beard but his family said that he normally keeps a very thick mustache.”
His brother, James Cripps, said Joe Cripps was last seen at the White Water Tavern in Little Rock on Oct. 19.
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“They probably didn't want to serve him because he had already been drinking when he showed up,” James Cripps said. “Several other people who spoke with him in the days before he disappeared said he appeared to be drunk.”
He failed to show for a gig the next day and also didn’t appear last week at his alma mater, Little Rock’s McLellan Magnet High School, where he was working on a project to repair and refurbish the drums for the band’s drum line.
Cripps had moved to Little Rock about a year ago after several stints in rehab to deal with alcoholism.
“I think he wanted to come here to lay low and to try to get himself back on track,” James Cripps said. “And he was improving until this summer when he started back-tracking a little bit.”
As word spread of his disappearance, James Cripps said he has received calls from “New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between.” But no one has seen his brother.
“It’s total silence,” James Cripps said. “There’s no news.”
Anyone with information should call the Little Rock Police Department at (501)404-3040.
Former Brave Combo bass player Bubba Hernandez recalled regularly having a beer with Cripps and multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Barnes, back when all three were in the band.
Hernandez last exchanged messages with Cripps on Sept. 25. In the messages Cripps invited Hernandez to play with him at a church in Little Rock.
“There was a lot bad news that could happen between the White Water Tavern where he had been drinking and his apartment,” Hernandez said. “He had his pay in his pocket. It's a cool dive bar but the neighborhood is kind of funky.”
Cripps was a member of Brave Combo from 1992 to 1999, and played occasional gigs with the band in later years.