Entries tagged with: RIP

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The Gates of Slumber at Saint Vitus in 2012 (more by Caroline Harrison)
TGoS

In incredibly sad news, it's being reported that Jason McCash, former bassist for doom greats The Gates of Slumber, has passed away. He was 37.

McCash had initially left the band this past September, and they called it quits soon after. The band write on Facebook:

My best friend died last night. There will be no reunion - no more of TGoS. It's dead beyond dead, and I've lost a brother.

Please be respectful or silent. It's a small world and I'm still alive. Remember that shit.

No cause of death has been reported at this time.

Rest in peace, Jason. You'll live on through your music.

Watch some Gates of Slumber videos below...

Continue reading "Jason McCash (The Gates of Slumber), RIP"

Frankie

Details are scarce at this point but 5 Chicago is reporting that house music pioneer Frankie Knuckles has died at age 59, with corroboration from his [90s Def Mix Productions partner David Morales. Though born in The Bronx, it was when Frankie began DJing at The Warehouse in Chicago that a new dance music style was born. From Bob Stanley's Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop:

As disco died out completely and R&B slowed down, Frankie Knuckles started to play reel-to-reel re-edits of old disco records, extending them with the help of a Rhythm Master (the box built into most electric organs to help the suburban Reginald Dixon keep time). A local record store called Imports Etc started to label records with an 'as played at the Warehouse' sticker, which was soon pared back to 'the 'House', and a new genre had been tagged.
Sad, sad news. Frankie, you changed the sound of dance music forever and will be missed. Stream his classic 1987 single "Your Love" below...

Continue reading "house music pioneer Frankie Knuckles, RIP"

DOA

Reports have been coming in that Dave Gregg of legendary Vancouver hardcore band D.O.A. passed away last night (3/30). He was 54.

A cause of death hasn't been officially confirmed, but Straight.com reports that he may have suffered a heart attack after a possible aneurysm, and he is said to have died in the hospital.

Dave was in D.O.A. from 1980 to 1988 and played on their most classic albums, including their 1980 debut Something Better Change and its followup, Hardcore '81, both of which have proved influential on hardcore and punk in the decades that followed. (In fact, Fucked Up's Damian Abraham shouted them out on Twitter a day before Dave's death.)

Rest in peace, Dave. Your contributions to music won't be forgotten. Stream some classic DOA below...

Continue reading "Dave Gregg (of D.O.A.), RIP"

GWAR-B-Q 2013 (more by Josh Sisk)
GWAR

GWAR @ Fun Fun Fun Fest (more by Tim Griffin)
GWAR

GWAR @ Irving Plaza - Zombie Prom (more by Chris La Putt)
GWAR

Crack-a-Thon 2010 (more by Gabi Porter)
Crackathon

This week started with the sad news that GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) had died. Since we first posted, GWAR's manager released another official statement:

On behalf of Dave Brockie's family, Slave Pit Inc. and GWAR, we would like to thank all the loyal fans worldwide for the outpouring of love and support shown to us over the past few days. Knowing that we have such amazing family, friends and fans is truly helping us all get through this tough time.

We are awaiting a toxicology report from the medical examiners office to confirm the cause of death. The medical examiners office has informed us that the results can take one to three months to be processed. Standard protocol exists that a toxicology procedure be performed.

We have made funeral arrangements and a private memorial has been scheduled for close friends and family.

According to local Richmond, VA station WTVR, authorities are treating the death as drug-related, though TMZ said "one law enforcement source said, "There were no drugs found, as far as I know.". TMZ also points out that Brockie was sitting in a chair when found

Just last week, GWAR announced the date for this year's GWAR-B-Q: August 16 at Hadad's Lake in Richmond, VA. (We went last year.) It will still happen as planned (ticket info TBA), and the official Brockie public memorial will take place the day before (8/15) at Hadad's Lake. More info to come.

Some of the members of GWAR -- past and present -- talked to WTVR in a memorial piece which you can watch below.

Meanwhile, other tributes have been flooding in from all over. Jon Stewart, who used to bartend at NJ club City Gardens where GWAR often played (watch an entire 1988 concert shot there below), mentioned Brockie's death when interviewing Gibby Haynes earlier this week on The Daily Show; TOOL dedicated their show on Monday (8/24) in Cedar Park, TX to Brockie; FOX News show Red Eye, on which Oderus appeared many times, paid tribute on Tuesday (watch below); and Williamsburg's Vinnie's Pizza in Brooklyn has GWAR specials today on their well-known specials board:

The specials menu @ Vinnie's in Brooklyn today (3/28)
Vinnies

Over at Invisible Oranges, Scab Casserole penned a funny, moving tribute to Oderus:

Too often, we take metal too seriously. There's a reason for that -- many of us were lost before we found metal, so to laugh at the thing that made us complete seems like blasphemy. For many, the best metal is defined by how true-ness, by stern beliefs and hard limits held by musicians concerning everything from politics to production values. On top of that, good metal is created through hard work by ultra-dedicated musicians, which is no joke if your music of choice is incredibly technical and atmospheric. But metal is also gross. The majority of us are boozy, eczema-riddled, semi-literate jackasses, even those legendary figures we like to idolize. Cliff Burton took rank shits and Euronymous jacked off on his mother's sheets. GWAR were honest about all that, even under a hundred pounds of foam rubber. They were the KISS of the '90s, when things like KISS had been recognized as totally silly, even if they were also totally awesome. GWAR expressed their politics by beheading Ronald Reagan onstage. They didn't invite you into the GWAR Army, they threw you into the Slave Pit or fed you to the alien. Their songs contained traces of grunge, funk, alternative, and even hip-hop, because why not? Nothing is sacred, everything is awful, let's have fun.
Read the whole thing -- and we highly suggest you do, it's great -- over at Invisible Oranges.

Though we think "Scumdogs of the Universe" is a true classic, GWAR are probably the ultimate "must see live" band and there's really no better tribute to Brockie than to watch footage of his endless creativity and humor, onstage as Oderus. We've got lots of clips -- as well as some infamous TV appearances (Joan Rivers, Jerry Springer) and their Empire Records cameo -- below....

Continue reading "Oderus Urungus we miss you (Dave Brockie tributes pouring in; death being treated as drug-related; GWAR-B-Q still happening w/ public memorial; videos & more)"

Christo Buffam (via Facebook)
Christo

NYC musician Christo Buffam, who played in Brooklyn shoegazers Dead Leaf Echo, The Vandelles and other bands, has sadly passed away. As Vanyaland reports, no cause of death has been reported yet.

Dead Leaf Echo posted an RIP to their Facebook, and The Vandelles also posted a long tribute:

It is with incredible grief and heartbreak that we write our dear friend and creative collaborator Christo Buffam has passed on from our tangible world. The day we met in Boston we knew he was an incredible person - after all he took us to IHop for breakfast where his dry wit and grey bandana won our hearts - he was effortlessly cool. In less than a year he would come to take on a huge role in both our lives as an immensely thoughtful friend and the course of The Vandelles as a designer, screen printer, and songwriter. I remember spending countless hours at our space in Danbro working on his song Nocturnal until one day he played me Miles Away and I was blown away by his ability to capture what he was feeling in his lyrics. Christo was a bright star of creative conviction who was always the one putting in tons of hours making posters, going to every show under the sun, or introducing new friends to old ones and visa versa. When he truly believed in something or someone he was behind them one hundred percent, and he would go to great lengths sometimes at his own expense to help in any way he could. Christo, we will miss your smile, we will miss your wit, we will miss your scowl, and above all we will miss you. Forever in our thoughts and hearts.

Anyone looking for info on what we know so far or upcoming plans for the wake/funeral should get in touch with Jasno Swarez here on facebook. In the coming weeks a get together will be planed for us all to get together and celebrate Christo's artwork, music, and life. We will post all info when we have it. Thank you everyone for your condolences, and please extend your sympathy to Christo's family and friends.

Fellow NYC musician Twin Shadow also instagrammed a tribute:
Very sad to hear about the talented and brilliant Christo Buffam. He was a friend. I hadn't see him in a while and was out drinking with friends a month ago and looked up behind the bar. There he was, and my face lit up to see him. He poured shots for us all. I'm glad I had a toast with him before he died. Rest In Peace, I wish we had time to get closer.
Both The Vandelles and Dead Leaf Echo were set to open for Bauhaus' David J at Pianos in April. No word if those bands will still play as planned.

Rest in peace Christo, you'll be missed.

Watch some Vandelles and Dead Leaf Echo videos below...

Continue reading "Christo Buffam (Dead Leaf Echo, the Vandelles), RIP"

Gwar at Housecore Horror Fest 2013 (more by Trent Maxwell)
Gwar

The founder and lead singer of renowned metal band Gwar, David Brockie, has died, numerous sources close to the band tell Style Weekly.

A member of the Richmond Police Department confirmed early Monday that the 50-year-old musician was found dead in his home Sunday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. by his roommate.

"Dave was one of the funniest, smartest, most creative and energetic persons I've known," former Gwar bassist Mike Bishop says. "He was brash sometimes, always crass, irreverent, he was hilarious in every way. But he was also deeply intelligent and interested in life, history, politics and art."

"His penchant for scatological humors belied a lucid wit. He was a criminally underrated lyricist and hard rock vocalist, one of the best, ever! A great front man, a great painter, writer, he was also a hell of a bass guitarist. I loved him. He was capable of great empathy and had a real sense of justice."

The news comes in a year the Grammy-nominated band marks its 30th anniversary and recently returned from a long-awaited first performance in Japan. It recently announced that it would hold its fifth Gwar-B-Q concert Aug. 16 at Hadad's Water Park. [Style Weekly]

David Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, the frontman of graphic, theatrical metal band Gwar, has passed away at 50 years old. Cause of death has not been revealed, but police do not suspect foul play. You'll be missed Oderus Urungus. Thanks for all the maniacal shows over the years.

None of Gwar's or Brockie's representatives have confirmed the death yet, but NME reports that Gwar's management will issue a statement later today (3/24). UPDATE: Gwar's manager Jack Flanagan (Sleazy P Martini was apparently unavailable for comment) issued a statement confirming the death:

It is with a saddened heart, that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR passed away at approximately 6:50 PM EST Sunday March 23,2014. His body was found Sunday by his band mate at his home in Richmond, VA. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. He was 50 years old, born August 30, 1963.

My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.
Watch a Gwar video below...

Continue reading "David Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus of Gwar, RIP"

Scott Asheton (the Stooges) @ Baltimore Virgin Fest 2008 (more by Bao Nguyen)

My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night.

Scott was a great artist, I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Asheton's have always been and continue to be a second family to me.

My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.

- Iggy Pop

Scott "Rock Action" Asheton was a founding member of The Stooges and was part of the band's reformation in 2003 and played on their most recent album which came out last year. His brother and Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton died in 2009. You be missed greatly but the music lives on. Rest in peace, Scott.

The Rapture @ House of Vans, 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro)Rapture

One nugget of information in the Red Bull Music Academy press release -- as part of the William Onyeabor tribute -- they refer to Luke Jenner as "formerly of The Rapture." We didn't think much of it -- just sort of assumed that was old news -- but apparently they had broken up on the sly. Self Titled mag got in touch with DFA domo Jonathan Galkin who confirmed:

"I kept thinking it might blow over," label manager Jonathan Galkin said, "but that might not be the case. Feel free to go to press with this headline: 'Did the Rapture Break Up and Not Tell Anyone?'"
Not even a goodbye show! We'll miss ya, The Rapture. Head below for the song that put them -- and DFA -- on the map, "House of Jealous Lovers"...

Continue reading "The Rapture broke up (...they were still together?)"

by Doug Moore

Devil's Blood

Reports are trickling in that former The Devil's Blood guitarist and songwriter Selim Lemouchi has passed away. Though neither his former band nor his current band have issued statements as yet, a cryptic post on his personal Facebook page has been drawing comments that seem consistent with these reports. Additionally, Swedish rockers Ghost B.C. posted the following to their Facebook page:

Children of the World!

We want to pay homage to our friend Selim Lemouchi (The Devil's Blood and his own Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies) who has passed away and left the world one great talent poorer.

R.I.P.

Hopefully this will turn out to be an unsubstantiated rumor or misunderstanding. If not, we send our condolences to Lemouchi's friends and family. We'll keep you posted as additional details emerge.

UPDATE: Former The Devil's Blood manager Bidi Drongelen appears to have confirmed Lemouchi's passing.

by Bill Pearis

IMAGE

When I moved to New York in the '90s, among all the obvious cool things associated with the city, I was amazed with cable access... and, uh, Moviefone. The idea you could just call this number and get showtimes ("and even tickets" the ads used to say) via a very enthusiastic announcer (Moviefone founder Russ Leatherman, who left the company last year.) fascinated me. (They were more innocent times and I was easily impressed.) At one point Moviefone was even so popular it became a plot point in a memorable episode of Seinfeld. It was a part of most NYers' lives.

I can't remember the last time I actually called 777-FILM (probably right before I got a cellphone), but the service has remained... but not for much longer. The New York Times reports that over the weekend, callers to the number were greeted with an announcement saying the number "will no longer be in service in the near future." Moviefone, which is owned by AOL, will live on, however, via the web and mobile app.

Video from the Seinfeld episode below...

Continue reading "Moviefone's phone service will soon be disconnected"

Harold Ramis (L) and the rest of the 'Ghostbusters'
Egon

The comedy and film world lost a huge talent today:

Harold Ramis, a longtime North Shore resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69.

Ramis' serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vasculitis in late 2011, said Laurel Ward, vice president of development at Ramis' Ocean Pictures production company. - [The Chicago Tribune]

Harold Ramis was a member of storied Chicago comedy troup Second City where he worked with John Belushi, Bill Murray, and others. He's been a part of -- either as writer, director or both -- some of the biggest comedy hits of the last 40 years, including National Lampoon's Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, Meatballs, National Lampoon's Vacation, Back to School, Groundhog Day and, of course, Ghostbusters in which he also co-stared as Egon. He was 69.

Rest in peace, Harold. We'll miss ya.

Bob

We're sad to report that original Devo guitarist Bob Casale died Monday (2/17). From a post by his brother Gerald on the band's Facebook:

As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.

- Gerald Casale, Devo founder.

Bob was part of Devo in the very early days, rejoined the band for their late-'70s/early-'80s heyday, and helped produced the band's 2010 album Something for Everybody. Bob, you'll truly be missed.

Devo drummer Alan Myers died last year. A few classic Devo clips below...

Continue reading "Devo guitarist Bob Casale, RIP"

Sid Caesar (and Edie Adams) in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
Caesar
The comedy world lost a big one today:

Sid Caesar, one of the first stars created by television via his weekly live comedy program "Your Show of Shows," died Wednesday in his home. He was 91.

Caesar, partnered with Imogene Coca, is credited with breaking ripe comedic ground with the 90-minute live program: It didn't rely on vaudeville or standup-inspired material but rather on long skits and sketches written by an impressive roster of comedy writers including Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Lucille Kallen and Mel Tolkin.

"Your Show of Shows" was "different from other programs of its time because its humor was aimed at truth," Simon once observed. "Other television shows would present situations with farcical characters; we would put real-life people into identifiable situations." - [Variety]

Born and raised in Yonkers, Sid Caesar's contribution to modern comedy -- both through his own talents and his fostering of others -- cannot be overstated. We'll miss ya, Sid. Rest in peace.

A few clips of Caesar in action, below...

Continue reading "comedy legend Sid Caesar, RIP"

maggie

Word is spreading that Maggie Estep, the writer-poet-performance artist and all-around cool person who came to some fame while living in the East Village in the early 1990s, has died. She was 50. (She described herself as a "Novelist, occasional poet, dog-lover, handstand enthusiast" on her Facebook page.)

According to friends, she suffered a massive heart attack on Monday.

She published seven novels and two spoken-word CDs. In 1993, she became a familiar presence on MTV, who featured her poetry as well as performances on the network's "Spoken Word Unplugged" program. -[EV Grieve]

As EV Grieve mentioned in their obit above, Maggie Estep was one of the major players in the mid-'90s NYC spoken word scene. A fixture on MTV interstitials in that era, she even put out a couple albums on major labels that blended spoken word with indie rock.

Rest in peace, Maggie. Some of her work, in video form, below...

Continue reading "poet and performer Maggie Estep, RIP"

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest actors of our time - known for many great films like Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, Almost Famous, Capote and many more, has sadly passed away at age 46.

The Academy Award winner was found in his Manhattan apartment at 35 Bethune St. in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan this morning morning, according to the New York Police Department, which is investigating. [ABC News]
The NY Times says...
Investigators found a syringe in his left forearm, at least two plastic envelopes with what appeared to be heroin nearby, and five empty plastic envelopes in a trash bin, the official said.

"It's pretty apparent that it was an overdose," the official said. "The syringe was in his arm."

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Hoffman's family released a statement saying: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers."
[NY Times]

Rest in peace, Philip. Your contributions will never be forgotten

Watch a clip of Philip as Lester Bangs in "Almost Famous", below...

Continue reading "Philip Seymour Hoffman, RIP"

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...

Continue reading "Ricky Luanda (of Chain Gang), RIP"

Pete Seeger at Clearwater 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger, the man considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary folk music who inspired legions of activist singer-songwriters, died Monday.

He was 94.

Seeger's best known songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" and "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)."

But his influence extended far beyond individual hits.

...

Jackson, Seeger's grandson, said the singer-songwriter had heart surgery in December to replace a valve, which had gone well and had nothing to do with his death.

He said Seeger was in the hospital for six days before his death.

He couldn't speak for the last three days, Jackson said, but his mind never went away and he continued to recognize people.

"He was a second father to me, he was a friend, he was a best friend," Jackson said. "He was just this wonderful, genuine person." [CNN]

Music has just lost another great one, as legendary folk singer Pete Seeger has sadly passed away at age 94. Rest in peace, Pete. Your contributions to music won't be forgotten.

Watch some Pete Seeger videos below...

Continue reading "Pete Seeger, RIP"

riz ortolani

Cinema lost a soundtrack great yesterday as Italian composer Riz Ortolani died yesterday (1/26) in Rome at age 87:

Born on March 25, 1926, as Riziero Ortolani, in Pesaro, Italy, the prolific composer started his career in his early twenties working as a musical arranger for the orchestra of Italian pubcaster RAI, before forming his own orchestra. During the 1950s he and his Riz Ortolani orchestra wound up in Los Angeles and worked at famed night club Ciro's on the Sunset Strip.

Ortolani's career in movie soundtracks started in 1962 with Gualtiero Jacopetti's seminal creepy exploitation docu "Mondo Cane," which screened at Cannes.

The "Mondo Cane" theme "More" won a Grammy, was nominated for an Oscar, and over the years has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Judy Garland to Herb Alpert. - [Variety]

In addition to Mondo Cane, he composed scores for countless genre films, from giallos to spaghetti westerns to horror films (Cannibal Holocaust is particularly good). His scores have also been appropriated by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill and Django Unchained, as well as Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. RIP, Riz.

Stream a few of Ortolani's more notable scores below...

Continue reading "Italian soundtrack composer Riz Ortolani, RIP"

by Wyatt Marshall

Withoft

Sad news for the metal world: Bilboard reports that Oliver Withöft, co-owner of German metal label Century Media, has died at the age of 49. Withöft, who joined the label a year or so after it's founding in 1988, had withdrawn from daily operations at Century Media due to an undisclosed heart condition some time last year, according to Metal Injection. Various industry professionals and musicians, including Nachtmystium's Blake Judd, have expressed their condolences. Øystein G. Brun of Norweigan black metal band Borknagar, who are signed to Century Media, offered the following on behalf of the band on their Facebook page:

"We have just received the very sad news that co-founder and CEO of Century Media Records, Oliver Withöft, passed away at an age of 49.

This is a utterly sad day for everyone associated to the Century Family and it is a day of great loss for the music business in general.

But first and foremost we want to express our deepest condolences to his closest family!

A great man has fallen!"

Century Media is and has been home to many important metal acts, including Celtic Frost, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Blind Guardian, Deicide, Behemoth, Satyricon, Ulver, Emperor, Taake, Opeth, Immolation, Arch Enemy and many, many more, as well as hardcore acts like Earth Crisis, Sick of it All and Cro-Mags.

Rest in peace, Oliver.

by Bill Pearis

Phil and Don Everly
Everly

Rock n' Roll lost one its original greats today, Phil Everly, one half of legendary duo The Everly Brothers, who died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 74. He and his brother Don created a distinctive close harmony style with '50s staples like "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have to Do Is Dream." All three of those hits were penned by another duo -- Boudleaux and Felice Bryant -- but Phil and Don could write too, like on what is arguably their greatest song, "Cathy's Clown."

The Everly Brothers were also one of the few of rock n' roll's first wave to continue successfully into '60s, and stuck together till 1973 at which time Phil released his first solo album, Star Spangled Springer. They patched things up a decade later and continued to play together since. Their influence is hard to overestimate. Rest in peace, Phil.

Some streams and videos of Everly Brothers classics below...

Continue reading "Phil Everly, RIP"

Benjamin w/ School of Seven Bells at LPR in 2012 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Benjamin Curtis

School of Seven Bells member Benjamin Curtis, who was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma earlier this year, has unfortunately lost his battle with cancer, reports Dallas Observer. He died last night in New York at the age of 35.

Benjamin was a member of UFOFU in the '90s with his brother Brandon, and after that he drummed in Tripping Daisy, formed Secret Machines with his brothers, and then formed School of Seven Bells with Alejandra Deheza of On! Air! Library! in 2007. The band was active up until this year, playing shows and releasing music, most recently 2012's Ghostory LP.

Many artists played tribute shows for Benjamin over the course of this past year, including Blood Orange, Exitmusic, Rewards, Paul Banks, Albert Hammond Jr. and others.

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

Read an official statement from School of Seven Bells along with a video below...

Continue reading "RIP Benjamin Curtis (of School of Seven Bells, Secret Machines)"

Bowie

Queen and David Bowie producer David Richards passed away on Friday (December 20) after suffering a long, undisclosed illness.

Richards began working at London's Chappell Studios in 1973 before moving to Montreux, Switzerland where he found work at the then just-opened Mountain Studios. By the time he turned 21, he had already risen to chief engineer at the studio that he would later come to own.

He co-produced Queen's final four albums, 'A Kind Of Magic', 'The Miracle', 'Innuendo', 'Made In Heaven', along with Iggy Pop's 'Blah Blah Blah' and David Bowie's 'Never Let Me Down', 'The Buddha Of Suburbia' and 'Outside'. The producer also won a Juno award in 1978 for Best Jazz Recording and being one of Billboard Magazine's Producers Of The Month in 1994. [NME]

The NME article also points out that The Cribs have posted a tribute to him on their Facebook that reads:
We are very sad to have today received the news that our friend David Richards has passed away in Montreux.

David was a producer that The Cribs always had a deep admiration for, having produced many of our favourite Queen records back in the 1980's/90's. We had the honour of recording with him back in the late summer of 2012, while working on preliminary sessions for 'In The Belly of The Brazen Bull'.

Rest in peace, David.

You can stream some songs he produced below...

Continue reading "David Richards (David Bowie, Queen, Iggy Pop producer), RIP"

Lord Infamous

"He had a heart attack in his sleep," [DJ] Paul says during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. "His mother found him dead this morning. He had been dead, the doctors say, for about five hours. And she came home, he was sitting at the kitchen table with his head down on his arms. He had told his girlfriend that he was sleeping and he wanted to go to sleep. His girlfriend left and was like, 'You going to be fine?' And he was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to be good.' And she was like, 'You sure?' and he was like, 'Yeah, yeah, I'm positive, I just want to get some sleep.' So he laid his head in his arms at the kitchen table and he went to sleep and then when his momma came home, he was sitting at the kitchen table passed away."

...

"When I woke up this morning, they was telling me that this had happened," DJ Paul continued. "I didn't believe it at first, they was like, 'Ricky died,' and I'm like, 'Ricky who?' and I was like, 'Get the fuck outta here.' I couldn't believe it even though I was kind of preparing for it just because one day he was talking kind of crazy a couple of weeks ago and he was like, 'I think I've got four months to live,' and this and that and I was like, 'No you don't, get outta here.' He was telling the same thing to his momma last week." [HipHopDX]

Lord Infamous (born Ricky Dunigan), who founded Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia in the '90s with his half brother DJ Paul (with whom the above interview is with), Juicy J and Koopsta Knicca, passed away in his sleep over the weekend. He was 40.

Lord Infamous released nine studio albums with Three 6 Mafia during their career in addition to multiple solo releases, including this year's Scarecrow Tha Terrible, Pt. Two. And while Juicy J focused on his solo career, Lord Infamous regrouped with Paul, Koopsta Knicca and other Three 6 Mafia members Crunchy Black and Gangsta Boo to form the spinoff Da Mafia 6ix who released their 6ix Commandements mixtape this year. From that HipHopDX article:

"He got a chance to see all his dreams come true," DJ Paul said when asked about Lord Infamous' role on 6ix Commandments. "Me and [Gangsta] Boo and everybody back in the studio, like he always wanted to see that 'cause we all grew up together. We was 14, 15 when it started so he was happy to see that."
Rest in peace, Ricky. You'll be missed.

Stream some classic Three 6 Mafia below...

Continue reading "Lord Infamous (Three 6 Mafia), RIP"

by Bill Pearis

Al on 'Midnight Blue'
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A true NYC iconoclast, Al Goldstein has died. From the NY Times obit:

Al Goldstein, the scabrous publisher whose Screw magazine pushed hard-core pornography into the cultural mainstream, died on Thursday at a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He was 77.

The cause was believed to be renal failure, his lawyer, Charles C. DeStefano, said.

Mr. Goldstein did not invent the dirty magazine, but he was the first to present it to a wide audience without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety. Sex as depicted in Screw was seldom pretty, romantic or even particularly sexy. It was, primarily, a business, with consumers and suppliers like any other.

The manifesto in Screw's debut issue in 1968 was succinct. "We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ," it read. "We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex."

Mr. Goldstein, who lived to shock and offend and was arrested more than a dozen times on obscenity charges, stuck around long enough for social mores and technology to overtake him. By the time his company went bankrupt in 2003, he was no longer a force in the $10-billion-a-year industry he pioneered. But for better or worse, his influence was undeniable.

"He clearly coarsened American sensibilities," Alan M. Dershowitz, the civil liberties advocate and Mr. Goldstein's sometime lawyer, said in 2004.

"Hefner did it with taste," Mr. Dershowitz added, referring to Hugh Hefner, the founder and publisher of Playboy, which predated Screw by 15 years. "Goldstein's contribution is to be utterly tasteless."

While I was never a Screw reader, I will admit to watching his show Midnight Blue occasionally on MNN paid access Channel 35 when I moved to NYC in the late '90s. There really wasn't anything else like it. What I remember more than the rampant sex and nudity was Al Goldstein's epic "Fuck You!" rants which he would aim at airlines, car rental agencies, restaurants, basically anyone that pissed him off. You can watch a NSFW compilation video of some of his Midnight Blue rants, below. Rest in peace, Al.

Continue reading "'Screw' publisher Al Goldstein, RIP"

by Bill Pearis

Chromewaves

A sad day in music blog land: one of the first, Chromewaves, called it quits today after 13 years. Which is a long time to do this. Especially when the whole time it was just one guy doing it -- Toronto resident Frank Yang, who posted almost every day for Chromewaves' entire run. Says Frank in today's final post:

This is not a decision that I've taken lightly. I've basically spent the past year waiting/hoping for the spark of musical discovery and impulse/compulsion to share to reignite, but it simply hasn't. Know that early drafts of this post were very different and very pointed - I planned wonderful rants about commodification, listification, commercialization, devaluation, trivialization, all kinds of -ations - but while therapeutic, were not the note I wanted to go out on. Music and blogging and music blogging have been very, very good to me, but I fear that were I to keep at it that gratitude would further curdle into resentment and cynicism and this thing that I've built, that has defined and directed so much of my life this past decade plus and am very proud of would suffer for it.

Already I feel the quality of what I do has diminished relative to its peak and I don't want to stay around too long, like the pro athlete who doesn't know when to quit and needs either a torn hamstring or demotion to the minors to get the message. And so I've played out this season - I think we're done with 2013 things - and am hanging it up. I am certain that I will miss many, many things about being an active and constant voice in the conversation about new music, but shouting at and over the ever-deafening din of the music hype echo chamber to fewer and fewer ears won't be one of them. The machine can't stop, won't stop, and I need to get off.

I've known Frank for a while and he's genuinely one of the nicest guys in the blogosphere (do they even say that anymore?). No doubt he'll still be listening to tons of music and going to shows, but giving his typing fingers a much-deserved rest. We'll miss you Chromewaves.

Stream the song that gave Chromewaves its name below...

Continue reading "music blog Chromewaves calls it quits (RIP)"