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Oceanside police confirm that Joe Pontisso, 41, shot himself in the head while driving on College Boulevard November 19. Pontisso, a bassist in the Clay Colton Band, 427, and Triocity, played regularly at Carlsbad venues. His friends say Pontisso had recorded all the bass parts on Evel Knievel -- The Rock Opera, a musical that has been recorded and may become a stage show.

"He wasn't a big guy, but he was a monster bass player," says guitarist Jon Jones of his longtime friend, a fellow ex-Marine.

"He played with us Thursday [November 17] at JJ Landers in Fallbrook," says Clay Colton. "He showed up at Tom Giblin's on Saturday and said, 'Hi.' Then he left, and you know the end of the story. We knew he was always slightly depressed, but we thought it was job-oriented."

Pontisso, a bomb expert, detonated ordnance for a living.

"He saw his friend accidentally blow himself up in an armory on Camp Pendleton," says drummer Mike Stryler. "He had so many experiences in the military. I think he just carried a lot of troublesome things he wasn't able to let go of." Pontisso left behind two children aged 12 and 10.

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