Entries tagged with: RIP
by Ian Chainey
Joe Young (left) with Antiseen
Antiseen guitarist Joe Young has died. He was 54.
Started in 1983, Charlotte's Antiseen always wanted to stand apart from, and piss off, the reigning punk pack, going so far as to mention it right in the band name: 'anti-scene.' The group favored simple, power-chord assaults in the vein of The Stooges. Their music was aggressive, their lyrics controversially antagonistic, and their live show was confrontational, drawing their share of praise from peers owning a similar mindset. One in particular was GG Allin, who the band collaborated with on Allin's 1991 release Murder Junkies. They would also later collaborate with Hank Williams III. But, Antiseen weren't mere hired guns. They released records frequently, racking up a total currently standing at 84 according to Discogs.
Away from the outfit, Joe Young released an EP, Bury the Needle, in 1988. He was also politically active, running for city counsel and state house as a libertarian.
To get a feel for Antiseen and Young's contributions, you can watch the 'destructo' finale from their 20th anniversary show in 2003 and listen to the 1996 LP version of the song they released through Sub Pop's Singles Club in 1992, below...
The comedy world just lost a big one: former Mad Magazine editor Al Feldtein, who died Tuesday (4/29) at his ranch in Paradise Valley, CA. He was 88. From the NY Times obit:
Mr. Feldstein had been a writer and illustrator of comic books when he became editor of Mad four years into its life and just a year after it had graduated from comic-book form to a full-fledged magazine.Al Feldstein taught many of us the delights of snappy answers to stupid questions (among other things), even if our parents hated that we "wasted" our money on Mad. Rest in peace, Al.
The founding editor, Harvey Kurtzman, established its well-informed irreverence, but Mr. Feldstein gave Mad its identity as a smart-alecky, sniggering and indisputably clever spitball-shooter of a publication with a scattershot look, dominated by gifted cartoonists of wildly differing styles.
Sources disagree about Mad's circulation when Mr. Feldstein took over; estimates range from 325,000 to 750,000. But by the early 1960s, he increased it to over a million, and a decade later it had doubled.
He hired many of the writers and artists whose work became Mad trademarks. Among them were Don Martin, whose cartoons featuring bizarre human figures and distinctive sound effects -- Katoong! Sklortch! Zazik! -- immortalized the eccentric and the screwy; Antonio Prohias, whose "Spy vs. Spy" was a sendup of the international politics of the Cold War; Dave Berg, whose "The Lighter Side of ..." made gentle, arch fun of middlebrow behavior; and Mort Drucker, whose caricatures satirized movies like Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" ("Henna and Her Sickos" in Mad's retelling).
Rodney Bryce, aka DJ E-Z Rock, whose 1988 single with Rob Base, "It Takes Two," was a massive hit and has been sampled countless times, has passed away at age 46. Cause of death not yet revealed. Rob Base confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, who write:
Questlove included ["It Takes Two"] on his Top 50 Hip Hop Songs of All Time for Rolling Stone, singling out James Brown drummer John "Jabo" Starks' work for the Brown-produced "Think." "Jabo's sparse, all-on-the-one funk was more at home with conservative soul lovers, which is why it makes total sense that... Jabo was the anchor of the New Jack Swing movement," wrote the Roots drummer. "Jabo's go-to magnum opus was on the five-break-filled JB-produced 'Think (About It)' by Lyn Collins. James' holy ghost yelp almost threatens to upstage Starks' show, but it's Starks' steady glide that gave R&B music its blueprint some 15 years after its release."Rest in peace, Rodney.
The duo released two other singles from their debut album --"Joy and Pain" and "Get on the Dance Floor"--but "It Takes Two" would be the standout single off the group's debut album of the same name. The album was certified platinum in 1989 and reached No. 31 on the Billboard 200, an impressive feat for a hip-hop album at the time.
Bryce would not appear on Rob Base's 1989 follow-up The Incredible Base, but reunited with the rapper for 1994's Break of Dawn.
Watch the video for "It Takes Two" below...
DJ Rashad @ Pitchfork Fest 2013 (more by Cory Dewald)
After hours of rumors circulating on Twitter, the Chicago Tribune confirms what we didn't want to hear...
Chicago footwork and juke pioneer, DJ Rashad Harden, 35, died Saturday afternoon, according to police.Rest in peace Rashad!
Chicago police are conducting an investigation after a friend found Harden's body in an apartment on the 2100 block of West 21st Street, said Hector Alfaro, a news affairs officer at the Chicago Police Department.
Detroit's DJ Godfather initially tweeted the news. Godfather was scheduled to perform with DJ Rashad tonight.
Police said that Harden died of a suspected drug overdose. Narcotics and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found near his body, they said. The Cook County medical examiner's office said he was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:50 p.m. An autopsy is slated for Sunday, according to the office.
Big Glo (via Chief Keef's Instagram)
Chicago rapper Big Glo (real name Mario Hess, formerly Blood Money) was shot and killed in his hometown of Englewood overnight, Chicago Tribune reports. He was 33.
The rapper was Chief Keef's second cousin, a member of Keef's Glory Boyz Entertainment, and recently appeared on his song "Fuck Rehab." He had also just recently signed his first major label deal with Interscope. From the Chicago Tribune article:
Glo's manager said he was trying to get the 33-year-old musician out of Englewood and the city. "It's a lot of crime and violence in Chicago, these rap guys are being targeted, so you know, just trying to get him outside the neighborhood. He's from the streets," Renaldo Reuben Hess said early Thursday morning.This follows recent news that Chief Keef was questioned by police about a shooting at his manager's house, and he's been associated with gun violence in Chicago before.
"He was basically trying to just get his rap career together because that's a good opportunity," he said. "They gave him some money up front. It was a good chance for him to get himself out the hood."
Police said two shooters opened fire just south of 56th Street on Elizabeth Avenue around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, leaving more than two-dozen shell casings in the street.
Hess was shot as many as 10 times and pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. A 28-year-old man was wounded and taken to Stroger by a family member, Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. He was in serious condition.
Rest in peace, Big Glo. Watch the "Fuck Rehab" video below...
Warrior (June 16, 1959 - April 8, 2014), born James Brian Hellwig, was an American professional wrestler, who most famously wrestled under the ring name The Ultimate Warrior, or Warrior. He was best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) from 1987 to 1991 and again in 1992 and 1996, and in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1998.WWE CEO Triple H is reporting the sad news: "Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters".
He won the WWF Championship when he pinned Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VI. Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. Warrior retired from professional wrestling in 1999 and embarked on a public speaking career. On June 25, 2008, he returned to wrestle Orlando Jordan in Barcelona, Spain defeating him in a match booked by the Italian Nu-Wrestling Evolution promotion. Warrior was described by WWE as having been "the ultimate archetype of strength and intensity", and "one of the most intense and physically impressive competitors to ever appear in the WWE".[Wikipedia]
Rest in Peace Warrior.
Footage of the man on TV Monday night and more, below...
by Bill Pearis
confetti rains at Lada Gaga's Roseland farewell, 4/7/2014 (photo by @talithaanne)
Roseland this morning (photo via @sayitaintsosis)
Roseland opened in New York in 1919 and hosted icons like Count Basie in the Thirties. It relocated to its 52nd Street home (a former skating rink called Gay Blades) in the late Fifties, where a display inside touted the number of couples who'd met there and married. In the Seventies and Eighties, the spot was a disco haven; in the Nineties its 3,500-capacity crowds moshed to Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Its next occupants will be a 59-story apartment building, according to the New Yorker.Lada Gaga's seven-show run at Roseland came to a close last night (4/7) and with it the end of one of New York City's most famous clubs which had been in its present location since 1958.
As a Manhattan native, chances are Gaga has many connections to the club, but she didn't regale the crowd with any personal stories about transformative nights on Roseland's famously springy dance floor (she earlier told a reporter about a Franz Ferdinand show there during her senior year of high school where she broke her nose in the pit). Instead, she stuck to her usual self-empowerment lectures ("Do you love you? Then scream!") and spent an outsized amount of time bidding farewell to the female dancer who slithered across the stage with her for Artpop's squelchy bisexual romp "Sexx Dreams." - [Rolling Stone]
Roseland was also home to the annual, over-the-top gay dancefest The Black Party and The Village Voice has a cover story on it, the venue and the changing face (and location) of club culture in NYC:
Pevner scouted other venues, but the Black Party not only needs a dance floor large enough to accommodate thousands of people, but also an entire weekend to install its own soundsystem and light rigs. The Saint at Large, which has held the party at Roseland for a quarter century, had a two-year option extending through 2015. "I told my lawyer to write a letter to address that we employ a staff full-time to work on this," Pevner says, "and if you're going to renege, here's the settlement." Pevner insisted that Ginsberg keep the club open at least through the third weekend in March, the one nearest the vernal equinox, which the party celebrates. According to Pevner, "They didn't want to end with the Black Party." So Ginsberg ended up with a win-win: Gaga gets reams of publicity and the club goes out in a blaze of glory.I saw a lot of shows at Roseland, though mostly in the '90s -- Blur, and Oasis come to mind and I got to go to the Rolling Stones show there in 2002. My last visit there was for Big Audio Dynamite in 2011. I was never crazy about seeing shows there, but I always dug the classic vibe. What shows did you see there?
Still, serious dance enthusiasts will always remember the club more for its unobstructed quarter-acre dance floor than as a midsize concert venue. Everything about Roseland was outsize, right down to its 14 coat-check windows.
More than anything, Roseland's closing marks the most painful sign to date that New York City's big rooms have become an endangered species. That a luxury residential space will likely replace it confirms the main culprit: an insatiable appetite for upscale housing that has transformed Manhattan, from the financial district to Harlem and beyond -- what Fordham professor Mark Caldwell, author of New York Night: The Mystique and Its History, has called "galloping gentrification."
Roseland, you'll be missed.
Portishead famously played their in the late 90s. I say famous because not only was it an exciting show at the time, the show was recorded for a live album and DVD. Watch the whole thing (via someone uploading it to YouTube), below...
Screen legend Mickey Rooney has died at age 93. Born in Brooklyn in 1920, Rooney grew up in show business. He was a child star in the silent era and transitioned successfully into talkies and musicals, becoming a huge star in the '30s and '40s with his "Andy Hardy" films, many of which co-starred Judy Garland. In the 1950s, he had his own television show while continuing to make movies, and kept on rolling through his autumn years -- he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in 1979's The Black Stallion -- and had projects lined up for this year. He was one of the greats.
Watch a CNN tribute, a few numbers from his Andy Hardy pictures and other videos, below. Rest in peace, Mickey.
Brown Bird in 2012 (photo by Mikael Kennedy)
Dear friends,In celebration of his life, there will be an event held in Providence this Tuesday (4/8) with music from some of Dave's friends. Tom, the band's manager, wrote on Facebook:
Over the past year, and especially this past week, I have been so overwhelmed and grateful for the amount of love that has surrounded Dave and me throughout our life and career together. You all have posted so many beautiful stories about Dave- how humble he was, how gracious, how talented...He certainly was all those things.
Four days after Dave and I met we became bandmates, lovers and business partners, and set the tone for what our life would be for the next six years. We never imagined the amount of success we would enjoy in those years, how many incredible friendships would be forged, the experiences we would share, and nothing could have prepared us for the events of this past year.
Dave entered the battle with leukemia as only Dave could- determined, steadfast, smiling and always with his mind on our future. His incredible ability to continue writing through his struggle is something I'll forever aspire to.
This week was the toughest in the battle, as Dave's body began to shut down under the stress of a year-long fight and a sudden and aggressive leukemic relapse.
Today, surrounded by his family and so many friends, Dave peacefully let go.
Thank you for all the love you've all shown us. It helped so very much to know we had an army behind us.
Love and gratitude,
Hi everyone, this is Tom, Brown Bird's manager.Rest in peace, Dave.
We are organizing a celebration of Dave's life this Tuesday, April 8th. The event will be held at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI, and is free and open to the public. We asked some of Dave's friends to play - Joe Fletcher, Death Vessel, Alec K Redfearn and Last Good Tooth. Doors will open at 7:30pm, and the event will start at 8:30. Please spread the word - we want a room full of fans, friends and family!
This has been a rough time but the amount of support that has been given has been beautiful and overwhelming. So many people felt a connection to Dave, and we really appreciate everyone that has shared their stories and thoughts.
Watch a Brown Bird video below...
The Gates of Slumber at Saint Vitus in 2012 (more by Caroline Harrison)
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.
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.No cause of death has been reported at this time.
Please be respectful or silent. It's a small world and I'm still alive. Remember that shit.
Rest in peace, Jason. You'll live on through your music.
Watch some Gates of Slumber videos below...
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...
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...
GWAR-B-Q 2013 (more by Josh Sisk)
GWAR @ Fun Fun Fun Fest (more by Tim Griffin)
GWAR @ Irving Plaza - Zombie Prom (more by Chris La Putt)
Crack-a-Thon 2010 (more by Gabi Porter)
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.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
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.
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)
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.
Closing in on my 10,000th tweet by reminding all of us by the frailty of your technological world. For you, I'm immortal.— Oderus Urungus (@TheRealOderus) March 13, 2014
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....
Christo Buffam (via Facebook)
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.Fellow NYC musician Twin Shadow also instagrammed a tribute:
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.
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...
Gwar at Housecore Horror Fest 2013 (more by Trent Maxwell)
The founder and lead singer of renowned metal band Gwar, David Brockie, has died, numerous sources close to the band tell 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.
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]
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.Watch a Gwar video below...
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.
Scott Asheton (the Stooges) @ Baltimore Virgin Fest 2008 (more by Bao Nguyen)
My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night.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.
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
The Rapture @ House of Vans, 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro)
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"...
by Doug Moore
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!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.
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.
UPDATE: Former The Devil's Blood manager Bidi Drongelen appears to have confirmed Lemouchi's passing.
by Bill Pearis
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...
Harold Ramis (L) and the rest of the 'Ghostbusters'
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.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.
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]
Rest in peace, Harold. We'll miss ya.
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.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.
- Gerald Casale, Devo founder.
Devo drummer Alan Myers died last year. A few classic Devo clips below...
Sid Caesar (and Edie Adams) in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
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.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.
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]
A few clips of Caesar in action, below...
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.)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.
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]
Rest in peace, Maggie. Some of her work, in video form, below...
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.Rest in peace, Philip. Your contributions will never be forgotten
"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."
Watch a clip of Philip as Lester Bangs in "Almost Famous", below...
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.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.
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]
Rest in peace, Ricky. You'll be missed.
Stream their song "Son of Sam" below...