Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Obit watch: February 5, 2016.

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Maurice White, founding member of Earth, Wind, and Fire. NYT. A/V Club.

Dave Mirra, prominent BMX racer.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Obit watch: January 29, 2016.

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Paul Kantner, guitarist and founding member of Jefferson Airplane. SFGate. NYT. A/V Club.

In the ‘70s, Kantner and Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick recorded Blows Against The Empire, a sci-fi concept album that was even nominated for a Hugo Award.

Perhaps someone more familiar with Hugo history can answer this: was Kantner the only guitarist ever nominated for a Hugo (either individually or as part of a group)?

This was by way of Lawrence, who asks, “Has there been a huge number of important deaths this month, or is my view just distorted?” If his view is distorted, mine is, too.

I think there have been studies that show a peak in deaths in January: people who are on the edge try to hold out through Christmas and the new year, but after January 1st there’s nothing to hold out for and they’ve used up a lot of their strength. Even taking that into account, this January has been one of the worst months I can remember.

At some point, I may run a comparison of how many obit watches I’ve posted in January since I began this effort. If I do, I’ll post it here. (And I know that will be kind of skewed, too, but it is at least a start.)

NYT obit for Buddy Cianci. That’s something else I’ll try to get posted today.

Obit watch: January 19, 2016.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

This was a long long time ago, when I was a professional small child.

My family’s primary car was a Chevy Suburban. I don’t remember what year it was (though I know it was purchased used), but I do remember that it had an 8-track tape player. At the time, my sister and I thought that was pretty cool.

One year, for Father’s Day (I think) my sister and I decided to pool our funds and get another 8-track tape for my dad to play in the car. We went down to Foley’s…

(To give you some idea of how long ago this was:

  • 8-track tape players and tapes were still a thing.
  • Foley’s was still a thing.
  • Foley’s still sold recorded music, including 8-track tapes.


Anyway, we bought Hotel California on 8-track tape. Really, I am not making this up. I’m pretty sure this was my idea, and that I’d heard the title track on the AM radio.

I’m not sure if my dad actually enjoyed the Eagles, or just tolerated them for the sake of his children. (Speaking of which, this is a swell essay by Ken White, if you haven’t read it.) I do know that we played the crap out of that tape, as it was one of the handful we had. (The only others I remember were a tape of trucking songs – probably from Radio Shack – that included “Wolf Creek Pass”, with the track break right in the middle of the song, and “The Muppet Show” album. To this day, a vital part of my brain is occupied with part of the lyrics to “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, and “Good grief! The comedian’s a bear!”)

All this is by way of saying: rest in peace, Glenn Frey. A/V Club.

There’s only room for one and here she comes, here she comes…

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

I sort of shoved the Bowie roundup to the back of the fridge yesterday, mostly because I felt the coverage had become over-saturated. But I still feel obligated to do something for the historical record.

NYT, which contains links to their extensive coverage. LAT coverage. I know I’m probably being provincial in not linking to a UK paper, but honestly I don’t know which of them is trustworthy these days; if I have any readers in the UKOGBNI who are willing to drop links in comments, please feel free to do so.

Interesting piece from TechDirt about Bowie as music technology visionary.

The A/V Club ran a quick obit, and followed up with a longer “For Our Consideration” piece that’s mostly okay except for the last sentence. Death isn’t “a guise”, and Sean O’Neal should be ashamed of himself for saying that.

I’ve never called myself a Bowie fan, and never spent money to see him live. But when I think about Bowie, I keep thinking about how much of his music I really enjoyed: “Heroes”, “Major Tom”, “Ashes to Ashes”, “Putting Out the Fire”…

It isn’t a great recording, but it is a great song.

Violates my rule about Christmas music, but I think I can make an exception in this case.

Firings watch (and unrelated note).

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Lionel Hollins out as coach of the Nets. The team also “reassigned” General Manager Billy King.

I’ve known about David Bowie for a grand total of five minutes at this point. I want to wait a few hours for the smoke to clear before I post an obit roundup.

Firings and obits: January 7, 2016.

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Lovie Smith out as coach of hapless the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 8-24 in two seasons.

Smith is the third Bucs head coach to be dismissed since the firing of Jon Gruden at the end of the 2008 season, making Tampa Bay’s next coach the team’s fifth in nine seasons.

Your Pierre Boulez obit. An appreciation.

Obit watch: December 29, 2015.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Ian Fraser Kilmister, also known as Lemmy from Motörhead.

“Please,” the band added, “play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind” — Mr. Kilmister’s earlier group — “loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few.”

And what was in those ships?

Friday, December 25th, 2015

I think if you do it two years in a row, it becomes a tradition, and you have to keep doing it.

Also, I really do like this song.

Merry Christmas, you guys.

TMQ Watch: December 15, 2015.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

After last week’s “slit your wrists” opening, we were hoping to find something light and funny for this week. We didn’t have much luck, alas.

We did briefly consider doing something with “All I want for Christmas is a goat”. But then we listened to “Holy Night”. Or at least we tried to; we had to shut it off 30 seconds in. With all due respect to ActionAid, they could use this to torture prisoners at Gitmo.

So the heck with trying to find something light and funny. Let’s just jump into this week’s TMQ


Obit watch and other random notes: November 11, 2015.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Helmut Schmidt, former chancellor of West Germany.

Allen Toussaint, noted New Orleans musician.

In 1964, trumpet maestro Al Hirt covered Toussaint’s jaunty instrumental “Java,” which became a No. 1 hit. In 1965, Mr. Toussaint’s “Whipped Cream” not only became the title track on a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album, it later became the bachelorettes theme of the television game show “The Dating Game.”

Vito J. Lopez, former New York assemblyman who resigned due to a sexual harassment scandal.

Non-obit, but interesting:

The police in Northern Ireland arrested a 66-year-old man on Tuesday in connection with Bloody Sunday, the infamous massacre of unarmed civilian marchers by British soldiers in Londonderry on Jan. 30, 1972. It was the first time anyone has been arrested in the massacre, for which the British government formally apologized in 2010.

The individual is not named, but is described as a “former lance corporal”.

“Former fugitive fish smuggler pleads guilty, prosecutors say”. Somebody at the LAT was having a bit of fun…

Second day coverage of the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow trial. Doesn’t seem like much here: one of “Shrimp Boy”‘s confederates claims he ordered a hit, but he never explicitly said anything beyond “take care of this”.

The patrol reached a small bridge over a canal and was approached by men on motorcycles coming from the opposite direction — possibly members of the Taliban. They began crossing the bridge but stopped partway and retreated in the opposite direction. The suicide bomber appeared on foot to the left of the patrol after coming out of a building. Groberg ran at him and threw him to the ground with the help of another soldier, Sgt. Andrew Mahoney, who would later receive the Silver Star for his valor.

Where do we get such men?

Obit watch: October 9, 2015.

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Paul Prudhomme. NYT.

Asked by The Toronto Star in 2000 to name his favorite dish, he did not hesitate. “From the time I was a child, it’s fresh pork roast with holes punched into it and filled with herbs, spices, pork lard, onions, peppers and celery and cooked in a cast-iron roasting pan in a wood-burning oven all night,” he said. “I’d serve that dish with candied yams, dirty rice and warm potato salad.”

Gail Zappa, Frank Zappa’s widow.

Historical note, suitable for use in schools.

Friday, August 21st, 2015

By way of the invaluable NYT obits Twitter feed, I have learned that today is the 75th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky. I don’t know what I would have done if this anniversary had gotten past me.

(Technically, I suppose it is the 75th anniversary of Trotsky’s death. Ramón Mercader, or whatever his name was – he seems to have had multitudes – attacked Trotsky on the 20th, but he lingered until the 21st.)

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so how about a little musical interlude?

This might push a few buttons.