Hey, Some Other Artists Died, Too!

The Germs’ Darby Crash
became a musical  footnote for dying on
the same day John Lennon was shot. Will these musicians suffer a similar fate
for expiring on or in close proximity to Michael Jackson’s death?

 

By Fred Mills

 

With the predictable wall-to-wall media coverage of the
Michael Jackson death still in full swing, and with a number of usually
reliable, otherwise rational music news portals (hello, Pitchfork!) going
hilariously ga-ga with their treatments (it would appear that tokenism is still
alive and well), we at BLURT would like to pause for a moment, take a deep
breath, and remind you that some other artists
passed away over the last week or so, too. None of them even came close to the
level of celebrity that Michael Jackson, for better or worse, enjoyed; but then,
Jackson lived and died in a sorry reality show of his own making, so that’s
probably a good thing for these people, gifted musicians all, and as beloved,
in their own frame of musical reference, as any you’d care to mention. (Plus,
unlike Jackson,
none of them are the music biz equivalents of steroid-scandal baseball player with
asterisks firmly affixed to their permanent records.)

 

 

Sky Saxon: The
Seeds frontman and one of the original archy-tects of the Nuggets garage-rock milieu had the misfortune to die on the same
day as Jackson.
At presstime, the presumption was that it was due to heart failure – just like Jackson. Here’s hoping
that Sky won’t get the Darby Crash/John Lennon treatment and receive a proper
memorial. I can readily imagine Little Steven working up something for his “Underground
Garage” program in the days after Sky’s death. All you rock club deejays out
there could do worse than to follow suit.

 

Tim Krekel: A Kentucky native and
inordinately gifted guitarist (he worked with Billy Swan, Jimmy Buffett and
others) and songwriter (his tunes were covered by everyone from Patty Loveless
and Crystal Gayle to Canned Heat and Jason & the Scorchers), Krekel passed
away at the relatively young age of 58 on Wednesday, June 24, after a bout with
cancer. Fans still have fond memories of seeing Krekel tear it up with his
bands the Sluggers and the Groovebillys.

 

Bob Bogle: I’d
love for a Ventures buff to square off against a Jackson aficionado in a debate over whether
the surf band or the soul star ultimately wielded the greater musical
influence. Guitarist Bogle was inducted along with his bandmates to the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and as a group the Ventures had scores of
top-charting records, selling millions along the way – with nary a sex scandal
or perp walk across the pages of a grocery store tabloid among them. Bogle died
June 14 at the age of 75 from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

 

Nick Holt: The
brother of Morris “Magic Slim” Holt and the bassist for the legendary
Magic Slim & the Teardrops for decades, Holt passed on June 22 (brain
cancer). The Chicago
bluesman also made his mark as a session player, appearing on records by Little
Milton, Sunnyland Slim, Vance Kelly and others. It’s a truism worth remembering
that sometimes the players not necessarily appearing in the spotlight are the ones who keep the whole deal
moving along.

 

Charlie Mariano: The famed alto sax
whiz and Charlie Parker disciple died June 16 from cancer. As with Holt,
Mariano was “just” a sideman at points in his career, but his work with such
legends as Shelly Manne, Stan Kenton, Charles Mingus, Toshiko Akiyoshi
(to whom he was once married) and others helped earn him the title “the dean of
Boston jazz musicians.” Mariano also fronted his own band and in the ‘50s
founded the Jazz Workshop.

 

 

Turn down the CNN volume for a moment or two, won’t you, and
give thanks for these and all the other musicians who’ve made our world just a
little bit brighter. They didn’t need glittery white gloves or big-budget
videos to make their mark – just their native talent.

 

 

 

 

 

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