FAREWELL Music World Passings of 2009

We pay our respects to
Ron Asheton, Lux Interior, Vic Chesnutt and many, many more.

 

BY FRED MILLS

 

So many music lives were cut cruelly short this year that it
almost feels like a dark foreshadowing of something… or a reflection; a sign of
the troubled times. Perhaps 2010 will be better. Perhaps not. But as you scan
down the list of those who did leave us this year, pause when you reach an
artist who was particularly special to you, and meditate momentarily on why he
or she was special. The list isn’t
comprehensive, but it does dovetail into virtually every musical genre and
discipline (it additionally includes a handful of non-musicians), and it
touches equally upon the obscure and the well-known.

 

You’ll see scores of older musicians, of course, those whose
deaths, though saddening, was not wholly unexpected. The jazz and blues world,
as always, contributed more than its share to the list, although with each year
it becomes obvious that the rock world is rapidly catching up. This is to be
expected too, and I’d urge anyone reading this to cast your mind outward and
think of those who are still with us – perhaps you’ll find a way to let them
know you appreciate all the musical joy they’ve brought into the world. It’s
certainly a cliché to go up to a musician and say how much you’ve loved the
records, the concerts, etc. But just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean the
musician doesn’t want to hear it from you.

 

Let them know how you feel before it’s time for a posthumous tribute. Need I add that when you
learn of an artist who’s in need of help – many musicians can’t even afford
health insurance, for example, and an illness or an injury not only can rack up
huge bills but also keep them from their one reliable source of income,
performing – open up more than just your heart and donate something.

 

At any rate, in 2009, some departures felt especially
painful, and in at least one instance, laced with a troubling irony: although
garage/psych legend and Seeds frontman Sky Saxon will always be remembered in
certain circles, having the misfortune to die the same day as Michael Jackson,
on June 25, ensured that media eulogies for Saxon would be pushed well off the
front page, and in many instances his passing went unnoticed.

 

Among those who did get their proper due in the rock press –
from the Stooges’ Ron Asheton (who died at age 60; from a heart attack), John
Martyn
(60; double pneumonia), the Cramps’ Lux Interior (62; aortic dissection)
and Pylon’s Randy Bewley (53; heart attack), all early in the year; to the more
recent passings of Jack Rose (38; heart attack), Vic Chesnutt (45; suicide by
overdose), Maserati’s Jerry Fuchs (34; injuries sustained in a fall); and the
Birthday Party’s Rowland S. Howard (50; liver cancer) – these were people who still
had much to say musically and, one would have thought, plenty of time left in
which to say it. As life’s vicissitudes, in their perversity, never seem to
align themselves with schedules, however, that’s another cruel irony we’ll
always have to contend with.

 

So I’ll add, for all you musicians out there: say what you
want to say now, and loudly, and
often. We’re listening.

 

***

 

JANUARY:

Sam “Bluzman” Taylor Jan. 5

Ron Asheton (Stooges) Jan. 6

Dave Dee (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick & Tich) Jan. 9

Andy DeMize (Nekromantix) Jan. 11

Gary Kurfist (manager) Jan. 13

Fathead Newman Jan. 20

Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Jan. 28

John Martyn Jan. 29

Dewey Martin (Buffalo Springfield) Jan. 31

 

FEBRUARY:

Lux Interior Feb. 4

Tom Brumley (Buck Owens’ Buckaroos) Feb. 4

Blossom Dearie Feb. 7

Estelle Bennett (Ronettes) Feb. 11

Louie Bellson Feb. 14

Joe Cuba Feb. 15

Snooks Eaglin Feb. 18

Kelly Groucutt (Electric Light Orchestra) Feb. 19

Rickey Wright Feb. 19

Mel Brown March 20

Snooks Eaglin Feb. 24

Randy Bewley (Pylon) Feb. 25

Ian Carr (Nucleus) Feb. 25

Mark Sallings Feb. 25

Playgirl Magazine Feb. 28

 

MARCH:

Ernie Ashworth March 2

John Cephas (Cephas & Wiggins) March 4

Hank Locklin March 8

Willie King March 8

Lester Davenport March 17

Eddie Bo March 18

Mel Brown March 20

Reg Isidor (Robin Trower Band) March 22

Uriel Jones (Funk Brothers) March 25

Dan Seals March 25

 

APRIL:

Good taste & decorum April 1

Freddie “The Texas
Hendrix” Everett
April 2

Bud Shank April 2

Tony D April 5

David Winans April 8

Randy Cain (Delfonics) April 9

Rocky Hill April 10

Johnny Roadhouse April 11

Marilyn Chambers April 12

Ron Stallings (Huey Lewis, Boz Scaggs) April 14

JG Ballard April 19

Bea Arthur (Maude) April 25

Vern Gosdin April 28

Blender Magazine April 30

 

MAY:

Donald Evans (Lynyrd Skynyrd) May 6

Poodie Lockie (Willie Nelson’s manager) May 6

Rocky Benton
May 6

Stephen Bruton May 9

Buddy Montgomery
May 14

Wayman Tisdale May 15

Wayne Allwine (voice of Mickey Mouse) May 18

Jay Bennett (Wilco) May 24

 

JUNE:

Sam Butera June 3

Koko Taylor June 3

Jeff Hanson June 3

Auto-Tune June 4

Kenny Rankin June 7

Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine) June 7

Huey Long (Ink Spots) June 10

Barry Beckett June 10

Andy Hughes (The Orb) June 12

Charlie Mariano June 16

Ali Akbar Khan June 18

Bob Bogle (Ventures) June 14

Eddie Preston June 22

Nick Holt June 22

Ed McMahon June 23

Tim Krekel June 24

Michael Jackson June 25

Sky Saxon (Seeds) June 25

Fayette Pinkney (Three Degrees) June 27

Jackie Washington June 27

Vibe Magazine June 30

 

JULY:

Allen Klein July 4

Johnny Collins July 6

Angie Pirog July 11

Walter Cronkite July 17

Gordon Waller (Peter and Gordon) July 17

Ria Brieffies (Dolly Dots) July 20

Jim Dawson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) July 21

Merce Cunningham July 26

George Russell July 27

 

AUGUST:

Billy Lee Riley Aug. 2

Willy DeVille (Mink DeVille) Aug. 6

Mike Seeger Aug. 7

Michael Viner Aug. 8

Rashied Ali Aug. 12

Les Paul Aug. 13

Jim Dickinson Aug. 14

Larry Knechtel (Beach Boys, Dixie
Chicks) Aug. 20

Dean Turner (Magic Dirt) Aug. 21

Ellie Greenwich  Aug.
26

Dominick Dunne Aug. 26

DJ AM Aug. 28

Chris Connor Aug. 29

Eddie Higgin Aug. 31

Jesse Fortune Aug. 31

 

SEPTEMBER:

Jake Drake-Brockman (Echo & the Bunnymen) Sept. 1

Guy Babylon (Elton John band) Sept. 2

Mickie Jones (Angel) Sept. 5

Fred Mills Sept. 7

Eddie Locke Sept. 7

Kyle Woodring (Survivor) Sept. 8

Jim Carroll Sept. 11

Mary Travers Sept. 16

Roc Raida (X-Ecutioners) Sept. 19

Sam Carr Sept. 21

Amy Farris Sept. 26

Brian Redman (3 Inches of Blood) Sept. 27

Beau Velasco (The Death Set) Sept. 27

William Safire Sept. 27

Greg Ladanyi Sept. 29

 

OCTOBER:

Mercedes Sosa Oct. 4

Steve Ferguson (NRBQ) Oct. 7

Shelby Singleton Oct. 7

Freddy Robinson Oct. 8

Rusty Wier Oct. 9

Arturo “Zambo” Cavero Oct. 9

Stephen Gately (Boyzone) Oct. 10

Sonny Bradshaw Oct. 10

Dickie Peterson (Blue Cheer) Oct. 12

Brendan Mullen Oct. 12

Al Martino Oct. 13

Capt. Lou Albano Oct. 14

Kazuhiko Kato (Sadistic Mika Band) Oct. 17

Maryanne Amacher Oct. 22

Dee Anthony Oct. 25

Norton Buffalo Oct. 30

 

NOVEMBER:

Mark Smith (Waterboys) Nov. 2

Jerry Fuchs (Maserati, !!!) Nov. 8

Dick Katz Nov. 10

Derek B Nov. 15

Johnny Almond (Mark-Almond) Nov. 18

Alan Shelton (Jim & Jesse) Nov. 21

Pim Koopman (Kayak) Nov. 23

Al Alberts (Four Aces) Nov. 27

 

DECEMBER:

Vernon
Cooke (Ralph Stanley/Clinch Mountain Boys) Dec. 1

Donald Washington Sr. Dec. 1

Eric Woolfson (Alan Parsons Project) Dec. 2

Liam Clancy (Clancy Brothers) Dec. 4

Jack Rose (Pelt) Dec. 5

Yvonne King (The King Sisters) Dec. 13

Chris Feinstein (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals) Dec. 14

James Gurley (Big Brother & the Holding Company) Dec. 20

Pete King Dec. 21

Mick Cocks (Rose Tattoo) Dec. 22

Tim Hart (Steeleye Span) Dec. 24

Vic Chesnutt Dec. 25

Anthony Bellamy (Redbone) Dec. 25

James Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold) Dec. 28

I.D. Magazine Dec. 30

Rowland S. Howard (Birthday Party, These Immortal Souls)
Dec. 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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