Tag Archives: obit

The Last Ramone is Gone

Oh fuck. What a sad day.

Tommy Ramone, dead at 65.

Did you hear me? Oh fuck!!!

Already gone: Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee.

And now Tommy.

From Rolling Stone:

“Tom died yesterday, July 11, at 12:15 p.m. at his home in Ridgewood, Queens,” Andy Schwartz, publisher of New York Rocker magazine, said on behalf of Ramone’s family. “He was in hospice care following treatment for cancer of the bile duct.”

And how can this be? How can The Ramones be dead?

I remember it all so well.

Reading about The Ramones in the Village Voice, and the anticipation leading up to the release of their first album in 1976.

And what an album. You put it on and it was over almost before you realized it. The songs were so short. I think the whole album clocks in at 30 minutes.

And then they were coming to the Bay Area!

We’d already seen Patti Smith, and she was the greatest of course. But The Ramones were something else.

It was as if The Ramones had invented a new kind of rock ‘n’ roll. The lyrics to their songs were a kind of haiku, as my wife Leslie described it. And the songs were so short. And they mostly sounded like subtle variations on the same song. One song. One.

You wanna get an idea of how radical The Ramones music was in 1976? Go put on a Doobie Brothers album from the early ‘70s, or an album by Journey. Then follow it with The Ramones “Beat On The Brat.”

It’s like someone taking a sledgehammer to a refrigerator and smashing the thing to bits.

Yeah, get it?

I met the original band – Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy in August 1976 when they came out here. Out West. We sat next to a swimming pool at a cheap South of Market Street motel, and I attempted to interview them. I was 23, and new at interviewing bands. Their skin was an anemic white. Like they never had been out in the sun before. (There’s a photo by Jenny Lens of Joey Ramone lounging near the pool here.)

They didn’t say much.

They were so New York. So cool. They looked just like the cover of that first album. Same clothes – Black leather jackets, ripped jeans, and well-worn t-shirts.

They played in a small room at the back of North Beach bar, The Savoy, on upper Grant Avenue, just a half block or so from the Café Trieste, you know, where some of the Beats hung out.

It was hot and sweaty and packed. How did all these people know about The Ramones? All these people amounting to maybe 80 people. Maybe.

The music was loud. I’d never heard rock played at such a volume in such a small room.

But it wasn’t just the volume. It was everything. And we knew it, whose of us who were there. In 1976, this was the New Thing. The ‘60s were already long gone, but it was The Ramones who ushered in what came next.

Their music, and all of punk, is now old hat too. That’s what happens.

Tommy Ramone. Sixty-five years old. Much too young to die.

Imagining Tommy Ramone at 65, when I want to remember Tommy and Joey and Johnny and Dee Dee just as they were in 1976, that’s a hard pill.

The Ramones, 1974:

The Ramones, Arturo’s loft, 1975:

The Ramones, Max’s Kansas City, 1976:

The Ramones in England, 1977:

“I Wanna Be Sedated” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away”:

The Ramones:

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —

Audio: R.I.P. Dept.- Soul Great Bobby Womack Dead at 70 – Hear Some of His Hits

Photo via Bobby Womack’s Facebook page. Photo by Jamie-James Medina.

Soul man Bobby Womack, whose numerous R&B hits included “Lookin’ For A Love,” “That’s The Way I Feel About Cha,” “Woman’s Gotta Have It” and “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” died today according to the artist’s label, XL Records.

The cause of death has not been revealed, but Womack had been suffering from colon cancer and diabetes.

In 1964 Womack and his brothers, recording as The Valentinos, released a song Womack had written, “It’s All Over Now.” A month later the Rolling Stones released their version, which became a #1 hit on the UK sales charts and introduced the singer’s song to a generation of white teens, including me.

I loved “It’s All Over Now,” though it was years before I noticed that the songwriter was Bobby Womack.

I interviewed Womack in 1984 at his home in the Hollywood Hills for Rolling Stone when he was in the midst of one of many comebacks — this one had started with 1981’s The Poet.

At the time we talked, Womack had another hit album,The Poet II. 

I asked Womack what his reaction was back in 1964 when he first learned that the Rolling Stones had a hit in England with his song.

“Tell them to get their own fucking song!,” he said. “I never was happy about that until I saw a check.”

Womack became friends with Ron Wood of the Stones, and played on several of Wood’s solo albums.

When he learned of Womack’s death, Ron Wood Tweeted:

“I’m so sad to hear about my friend Bobby Womack ~ the man who could make you cry when he sang has brought tears to my eyes with his passing.”

Womack had problems with drugs — in particular, cocaine. “The biggest downfall for any entertainer is drugs,” Womack said. “I ain’t saying I was totally out there, but I had my share.

During that interview he said he’d been clean for six months and told me he was excited to be touring with a hit album.

“I don’t know about everyone else, but I want to live,” he told me. “I have two sons. I have a beautiful wife. And music, the gift that God gave me, means more to me today than it’s ever meant.”

Read the New York Times’ obit here.

Read Rolling Stone’s obit here.

Read NPR’s obit here.

“If You Think You’re Lonely Now”:

“Woman’s Gotta Have It”:

“Across 110th Street”:

“Across 110th street” live, 1973, on Soul Train:

The Valentinos, “Lookin’ For A Love”:

Bobby Womack, “Lookin’ For A Love” (remake):

The Valentinos, ‘It’s All Over Now:

The Rolling Stones, “It’s All Over Now”:

“The Bravest Man In The Universe” (from Womack’s 2012 album for XL):

“Please Forgive My Heart” (from Womack’s 2012 album for XL):

Bobby Womack at Glastonbury 2013:

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blot post —


Audio – R.I.P. Dept.: Hit Songwriter Gerry Goffin Dead at 75

Carole King and her then husband Gerry Goffin.

Songwriter Gerry Goffin, who in the late ’50s on into the ’60s collaborated on songs with his wife, a then-unknown Carole King, died today at hit home in Los Angeles, according to his wife Michelle.

Carole King Tweeted this: “Gerry Goffin 1939-2014 There are no words.”

The cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Goffin-King were one of the songwriting duos who worked out of the Brill Building in New York.

Their #1 hits included “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” recorded by the Shirelles and “The Loco-Motion,” recorded by Little Eva.

Probably their most infamous collaboration was 1962’s “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss),’ which Phil Spector produced for The Crystals.

Here’s The Guardian’s obit

Read the New York Times’ obit here.

Read Rolling Stone’s obit here.

The Shirelles, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”:

Little Eva, “The Loco-Motion”:

The Chiffons, “One Fine Day”:

The Drifters, “Up On The Roof”:

The Crystals, “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)”:

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —

Audio – R.I.P. Dept.: Hard Bop Jazz Great Horace Silver Dead at 85

The late great Horace Silver. Photo via Blue Note Records.

The great jazz pianist, Horace Silver, who co-founded the Jazz Messengers and pioneered ‘Hard Bob,’ died today at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 85.

According to his son Gregory, Silver died of natural causes.

For the Los Angeles Times obit, go here.

For Billboard’s obit, go here.

For NPR’s obit, go here.

Listen now to some awesome jazz.

Horace Silver 5tet – “Song For My Father” 1968:

“Señor Blues” 1956:

“Blowin’ The Blues Away,” Newport 1959:

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – “Nica’s Dream” (Silver on piano) 1956

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —

R.I.P. Dept.: Jesse Winchester Dead at 69

Photo by Cindy Winchester.

Folksinger Jesse Winchester died this morning (April 10, 2014) from cancer, his wife Cindy Winchester told The Commercial Appeal.

Winchester died at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Commercial Appeal wrote:

The mellifluous-voiced author of “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” “Mississippi, You’re on My Mind” and “Biloxi,” the Memphis-raised Winchester had long been a favorite of critics and fellow musicians, covered by a wide array of artists from Wilson Pickett to the Everly Brothers, Jerry Garcia to Reba McEntire. Bob Dylan was famously quoted as saying of Mr. Winchester: “You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him.” In 2007, Mr. Winchester was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from performing rights organization ASCAP for his body of work.

Read more of the obit here.

Here’s a story my wife and I wrote about Jesse in 1977 right after interviewing him.

–A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post —

R.I.P. Dept.: The Stooges Drummer Scott Asheton Dead at 64

Scott Asheton, far right.Photo via Slicing Up Eyeballs.

Scott Asheton, founding drummer for the proto-punk band The Stooges died today. He was 64.

Asheton played on The Stooges’ classic albums: The Stooges, Funhouse and Raw Power.

Asheton had been ill recently, but the ’cause of death has not yet been made public.

On The Stooges Facebook page, Iggy Pop posted:

My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night.

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

Rolling Stone wrote:

Asheton was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan when he was 14. He began playing music with his older brother Ron and their friend Dave Alexander soon after. “We didn’t get very far,” Scott told writer Brett Callwood in his book The Stooges: Head On. “We liked the idea of being in a band, we looked like we were in a band and we’d all hang out together. It wasn’t until…Iggy, got involved that it actually became a real band.”

Under the leadership of Iggy Pop, The Stooges, along with the MC5, became one of the most popular acts around Ann Arbor and Detroit, eventually signing a deal with Elektra and releasing their groundbreaking self-titled LP in 1969. “We didn’t have songs,” Scott Asheton told Callwood. “A lot of that first album was written at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City over two days immediately before we went in the studio.”

For the rest of the Rolling Stone obit, head here.

Listen to The Stooges amazing first album:

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

R.I.P. Dept.: Onetime New York Dolls Manager Marty Thau Dead at 75

Marty Thau. Photo via the New York TImes website.

Marty Thau, who managed the New York Dolls and figured in the careers of Richard Hell, Blondie, the Ramones and Suicide, died on Feb. 13 in Richmond, Va. He was 75.

The cause was complications of renal failure, his daughter, Leslie Bernard, told the New York Times.

Writing about his discovery of the New York Dolls in early 1972, Thau wrote in a blog post:

At first I couldn’t get past the sight of them. They were visually remarkable. While everybody in America were wearing army coats and earth shoes, here were these guys decked out in leather and leopard skin with bouffant hairdo’s, black nail polish, lipstick, six-inch platform boots, chopped jeans, feather boa’s, armbands and pantyhose. It was a style beyond femininity and thrown together in such a way as to appear natural. Then I zeroed in on their music … loud and hard ghetto music about girls, sex, drugs, loneliness, heartbreak and the rites of teenage romance. In other words … real rock ‘n’ roll.

I had never seen or heard anything like it and instantly knew they made everyone else look tired, which at that time meant David Bowie, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music. Betty and I looked at each other and smiled. One thought was spinning through my mind … “what would the world think of the Dolls indeterminable gender bending … is this too real?”

For more, head to the New York Times obit.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

R.I.P Dept.: Devo Guitarist Bob Casale Dead At 61

Bob Casale, a founding member of the Akron, Ohio pre-punk band Devo, died suddenly on February 17th of heart failure. He was 61.

Bob Casale helped create the futuristic rock sound that was at its most extreme on Devo’s radical 1978 debut album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

In a statement, Gerald Casale said: “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.”

Alan Myers, Devo’s drummer during the group’s creative peak, died last year of stomach cancer. He was 58.

Read Rolling Stone‘s obit here.

Devo’s cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” appeared on Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”:

“Whip It”:

“Come Back Jonee”:, France 1978:

“Gut Feeling” / “Slap Your Mammy,” France, 1978:

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

In The News: Beck, X, Savages, Dylan, U2, Sky Ferreira, Prince & More

Sky Ferreira will perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on February 28, 2014.

Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld has a new EP and you can stream it right now.

U2 will perform “Ordinary Love” for the first time live at the Oscars on March 2, 2014.

Former X singer Exene Cervenka is holding a four-day garage sale that started today, getting rid of decades worth of cool stuff so she can relocate from L.A. to Austin, Texas. “I have eight guitars – nobody needs eight guitars!” she said. — Rolling Stone

Maggie Estep, an important figure in the early-’90s slam poetry movement died Wednesday, two days after suffering a heart attack. She was 50. — New York Times

Bob Dylan will perform two shows in Ireland this summer. He’ll be in Cork at Live at the Marquee on June 16, 2014, and then play in Dublin at the O2 on June 17, 2014. — The Independent

Beck will appear on “Saturday Night Live” as musical guest on March 1st, the Saturday following the release of his new album, Morning Phase.Rolling Stone

Savages will release an EP later this year that will include the track “Fuckers.” Singer Jehnny Beth told Australia’s Tripple J radio: “We’re going to release a song that we play live called ‘Fuckers’. We recorded it live from a show did in London last fall at The Forum. It’s going to be available on vinyl as well. We’re also be covering a Suicide track called ‘Dream Baby Dream’.”

Kitten’s new “Money” video features Chloe Chaidez in bed with Ariel Pink. I reminds me of Andy Warhol’s film, “Beauty No. 2” staring Edie Sedgwick.

“Beauty No. 2”:

Prince performing “Chaos and Disorder” in Shepherd’s Bush Empire on February 9, 2014:

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Video: Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in ‘Almost Famous’

Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead this morning (Sunday, February 2, 2014) of an apparent drug overdose at an apartment in Greenwich Village, the New York Times reports.

He was in a lot of films.

I love this scene in “Almost Famous” where he’s Lester Bangs talking to the kid.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-