Tag Archive | Obit

RIP Gail Zappa

Gail Zappa

Image Courtesy of MSO PR

Statement from the Family of Gail Zappa on the Occasion of Her Passing:

Gail Zappa, wife of the late Frank Zappa, passed away on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at her home, surrounded by her children. She was 70 years old.

Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises. She devoted herself to partnering with her husband in the music business and raising their children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.

Gail enthusiastically executed her role as guardian of her husband’s creative life and, with his passing, strove to ensure his legacy as one of the leading American composers and musicians of the 20th century. In this and all business endeavors, she passionately advocated to establish clear definitions of intellectual property and copyright laws on behalf of not just her husband, but all artists.  While she conducted intricate legal negotiations with corporations as executor of the Zappa Family Trust, she never failed to impart the sense of humor that was part and parcel of her indomitable and formidable personality. Self-described as a pagan absurdist, Gail was motivated by love in all aspects of her life, kept her authenticity intact, unbowed and, simply put, was one bad ass in the music business and political world

Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon. But more than any singular accomplishment, she defined herself in her personal relationships, happiest when surrounded by loved ones and artists, often one in the same.  The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.

Tommy Ramone, Last of the Original Ramones, Dead at 62

Tommy Ramone 91
Tommy Ramone

Original Ramones Drummer and the last surviving member of the band’s original line up, Tommy Ramone (Real Name: Thomas Erdelyi) passed away on Friday, July 11th, 2014 after a battle with cancer. He was 62 years old. Tommy played drums on the first three Ramones albums and later became a successful producer. The Guardian‘s Music Blog has a lovely first person remembrance of Tommy and The Ramones at This Link. Rest In Peace.

Ramones Orignal Line Up
Together Again: Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee and Johnny (Image Source)

RIP Japanese Conceptual Artist On Kawara

Wednesday December 12, 1979
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1979 By On Kawara (Photo By Gail)

I took the above photo during Geoffrey and my most recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art this past Saturday, at which time the artist who painted it, On Kawara, was still very much alive. And now, he’s dead, having passed away on July 10th, 2014 at his home in NYC, at the age of 81. He had a good, long life!

Read about the career and art of On Kawara in the Huffington Post’s excellent Obit, found at This Link.

RIP DEVO Drummer Alan Myers

DEVO: Alan Myers is on the Far Right ( Image Source)

Alan Myers, drummer for the pioneering new wave rock band DEVO from 1976 to 1986, passed away on June 24th, 2013 after a long bout with Brain Cancer. He was 58 years old. Myers’ uniquely metronomic drumming style can be heard on now legendary DEVO albums such as Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Duty Now for the Future and Freedom of Choice, the title track of which is one of my favorite DEVO songs. RIP Alan.

RIP Studio Legend Andy Johns

Andy Johns

Andy Johns, who famously produced or engineered ground breaking albums by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull and The Rolling Stones, to name but a few, has passed away on April 7th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, although Johns had recently been hospitalized with liver ailments.

Andy Johns was part of an amazing musical legacy that included his older brother, producer Glyn Johns, who famously worked with The Who (among a laundry list of legends). His sons Ethan and Will Johns are working musicians and his nephew, Evan Johns (son of Glyn) is also a producer.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Andy Johns when I was hired to write a bio for an indie band whose record he had produced. The band’s management and publicist were completely clueless about how to effectively spin this band and it was my idea to add John’s input to the bio. He was fun to talk to and definitely knew his shit.

Sadly, the group’s handlers disagreed with the artistic slant I put on the bio, another writer was brought in and I was paid a kill fee for my efforts. Hilariously, when I eventually received a finished copy of the band’s album, along with the new bio, I did notice that direct quotes pulled from my interview with Johns were integrated into the new piece, with no credit to me. What a bunch of dicks. Andy Johns was 61 years old. RIP, Andy.

RIP Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert Young
Image Source

Iconic Film Critic and author Roger Ebert passed away today, April 4th, 2013, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. The Chicago Tribune, has a loving obit at This Link. RIP Roger, I miss you already.

RIP Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone

Phil Ramone
Image Source

Fourteen time Grammy winning record producer Phil Ramone passed away in New York today, March 30th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been disclosed. Ramone was 72 years old (though I have seen two sources cite his age as 79, not sure where that is coming from as his year of birth is given as 1941). A brief list of artists Ramone worked with includes Burt Bacharach, Bono, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder. CNN has more information and celebrity remembrances in a nice obit at This Link. RIP, Phil!