Posted in music on February 2, 2014

Chain Gang

It is with considerable sadness that we share the following news : CHAIN GANG's Ricky Luanda passed away earlier this year from esophageal cancer. Chain Gang (in general) and Ricky (in particular) provided a window onto a side of NYC much of the city's cultural gatekeepers would've sooner forgotten. Though their 1977 7″, "Son Of Sam" b/w "Gary Gilmore And The Island Of Dr. Moreau" has achieved mythic status in recent years (the A-side covered by JSBX, Ty Segall and Fucked Up amongst others), subsequent recordings, performances and films were that all too rare combo of the genuinely weird but always fully realized. Their discography is slim, but close to flawless. Bruce Springsteen recently argued that Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is shamed by their oversight of Suicide ; whether or not you agree with this statement, Chain Gang long ago earned their place in the Smithsonian, the Museum Of Natural History, and perhaps even Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.

We were very lucky to work with Ricky during the early days of Matador and we're beyond lucky to have experienced his friendship and observed his artistry-in-action. NYC, nay, the world, is a poorer place without him. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and musical co-conspirators. [Matador]

The unfortunate news quoted above via Matador is that Ricky Luanda of '70s-era New York punk band Chain Gang has passed away after battling esophageal cancer. Their music has lived on, recently being covered by Fucked Up, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Ty Segall.

Rest in peace, Ricky. You'll be missed.

Stream their song "Son of Sam" below...

---

Chain Gang - "Son of Sam"

---

      

Comments (9)

First Philip Seymour Hoffman now this guy. Whats the world coming to?

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 11:02 PM

QUESTION?: Did Ricky Luanda ever shart tho?

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 11:10 PM

Sonofabitch

Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2014 8:01 AM

Great band, Ricky was a great man: none of the memorials have yet noted his vast, idiosyncratic knowledge of film and literature, or his great sense of humor, or his encyclopedic knowledge of NYC and a lot of its history-- not just white or dork rock music history either. A diffident giant has passed.

Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2014 9:33 AM

Love Chain Gang. RIP Ricky.

Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2014 12:20 PM

I loved Chain Gang and saw them many times at CBGB and Maxwell's. Ricky was a true New York character, equally at home discussing the Beat Poets, Jimi Hendrix (who he knew), all things Punk 'n Funk or his firm belief in The Right To Bear Arms (okay, I didn't always agree with him). He was always enthusiastic and generous in his friendship.

This one really hurts. I'll miss you Ricky.

Posted by Guy E | February 4, 2014 2:56 PM

Anonymous wrote: "Great band, Ricky was a great man: none of the memorials have yet noted his vast, idiosyncratic knowledge of film and literature, or his great sense of humor, or his encyclopedic knowledge of NYC and a lot of its history-- not just white or dork rock music history either. A diffident giant has passed."

Agreed. Ricky worked as a tour guide on one of those double-decker buses in recent years. I'm sure the tourists who rode his bus got their monies worth... and then some. He was a very funny man and knew more about this city than anyone I've ever met. He had a fertile mind and it was always switched ON.

Rest In Peace Ricky.

Posted by Guy E | February 4, 2014 3:03 PM

Pussy-Eating Nympho Sluts. I want to read that!

Posted by Pang | February 13, 2014 5:37 AM

Ricky's memorial get together has been scheduled for Sunday April 27th, open house between 3pm and 8pm at Bullet Space aka Theatre 292 at: 292 East 3rd Street (between Ave. C and Ave. D), Manhattan.
Being billed as a "search party" in keeping with Rick's wish that his absence be attributed to abduction by aliens.

Posted by Chris Nelson | April 21, 2014 3:58 PM

Leave a Comment