Tag Archives: obits

Atonal Apples, Amplified Heat: Ginger Baker, RIP

There are some people who, it seems, endure long after others would have collapsed in a dissolving heap, people who, even with the deck stacked against them hand after hand, stay at the table, albeit often moved to a table that is somewhere in the darkness, away from the brightness that they once helped generate.

And so we learn of the death of Ginger Baker.

By and large, Baker is known for his superb drumming and awful singing when he was a member of Cream, a band that lived just 2.5 years but which has an afterlife like musical carbon 14.

Of the three members of what is often cited as the first “supergroup,” when there were such things, now having given way to recordings by a given “star” who is performing “with” another “star,” who may or may not be of the same genre, Eric Clapton is really the only one who continued to have a career in the broad public eye. Immediately post-Cream Clapton created Blind Faith, which included Baker, but it really didn’t make much of a stir—brilliant music notwithstanding—as it was mired in controversy because the original cover of its debut album was a color photograph of a topless 11-year-old girl. It was soon replaced with a sepia-toned photo of Clapton, Baker, Stevie Winwood, and Ric Grech, but the proverbial damage was done publicly and given internal acrimony the band lasted a year.

Baker went on to other things like Ginger Baker’s Air Force, which made it to the close out bins at record stores faster than he could hit a tom-tom. (Speaking of which: Baker’s “Toad,” from the “Wheels of Fire” album—incidentally the first double album to go platinum when this was truly the result of people buying physical artifacts—was undoubtedly played on desktops (as in physical classroom furniture) by more teenage boys than any other rhythm before or since.)

Continue reading Atonal Apples, Amplified Heat: Ginger Baker, RIP

Headlights Dim to Dark

Back in 2007 a book titled The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, written by Marilyn Johnson was published. That came to mind when I read of the death of Ric Ocasek because given last week’s piece on the passing of Eddie Money, I didn’t want to be tagged as the Official Glorious Noise Death Correspondent. [Sorry Mac, you’re now officially the Death Correspondent; your new business cards are in the mail. -ed.]

Still, Ocasek deserves more than a few lines on Twitter. First know that he was a 75-year-old male. And according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, Health, United States, 2017, With Special Feature on Mortality (I didn’t make that up), in 2016 life expectancy at birth for a male is 76.1 years. So he wasn’t far from that. And being a male is particularly troublesome vis-à-vis, well, living, as the report says, “In 2016, age-adjusted death rates were higher among males than among females for heart disease, cancer, CLRD, diabetes, stroke, and unintentional injuries,” and if there is any dim light associated with that list of bad things, the sentence continues, “and were lower among males than females for Alzheimer’s disease.” Which one could interpret as saying, “If you’re a male married to a female of approximately your same age, she may not know who you are before she dies.” And if all of the songs about love that we’ve listened to over the years—including those by The Cars—that might be even more heart-rending than death itself.

And before leaving that dark subject, know that, again going back to that Special Feature on Mortality, in 2016 73% of all deaths occurred among those 65 years and older, and lest anyone who is from 45 to 64 feels smug, the number of those dying is 19.7%–and while that number isn’t near 73%, the death rate for those from 25 to 44 is a mere 4.9%, so that 19.7 percent isn’t as good as you might think.

But let’s pull ourselves out of this spiral to oblivion and get back to Ocasek.

Continue reading Headlights Dim to Dark

Eddie Money, R.I.P.

OK. This is admittedly taken from when the news, such as it is, was breaking, but it strikes me as almost haiku-like in its brevity and appropriateness.

The entire first piece from the Washington Post on the reported death of Eddie Money:

“The onetime police officer trainee sang his way to pop rock stardom in the late 1970s, then became a self-deprecating staple of MTV while battling drug and alcohol abuse.

“This is a developing story. It will be updated.”

The story will be. Eddie won’t be. He died, reportedly, from esophageal cancer.

Brutal. Godspeed to him.

Here’s the thing. Eddie Money was a man who had plenty of hits. “Take Me Home Tonight.” “Two Tickets to Paradise.” “Shakin’.”

Great? Nope.

Summer music? Absolutely.

Drink a lot of beer and sing along to these songs? That is arguably why they exist.

Continue reading Eddie Money, R.I.P.

The Suffering Subsides: On the Death of David Berman

The summer of 2019 has been filled with inner turmoil and a return to a depressive state that I haven’t felt in some time. I immediately retreated into a pattern of cleansing abstinence, a trick that I learned in my younger days when I was stronger and able to fool myself that the experience of depression somehow shaped a man, preparing him for more battles of the mind in the future.

But I’m older now. And with each passing year the folly of life becomes more apparent, along with the realization that I’m past the halfway mark. This is the downhill, the point where you begin to pick up steam, only to realize that the caliper brakes have become corroded over time. Life will end in an abrupt crash and not from a slow and steady reduction of speed that affords you the time to reflect on and repair those things you should have addressed before cresting the hill. In other words, I may have become too old and weak to keep fighting depression like this.

My summer of discontent began as a manifestation of personal doubt, professional tribulations and a natural self-loathing that comes from recognizing there’s very little on this planet that requires my involvement. Of course, America’s current political climate only added to the mix, providing an endless brickwall of sonic garbage for both ears, left ‘n right. The words “I want to die where the presidency died!” have become more than just a hipster reference about some drug-fueled indie-rock poet’s bad night, it became a clever suicide note that more people could consider leaving.

Around the same time, I began to think about David Berman. I’d like to believe that it was more than just a passing coincidence–after all, he’d been “retired” and out of the public eye for a decade and I’d heard no hint of his planned return. It was more about, “I wonder how he’s doing,” picturing him disheveled with too-big spectacles, lounging in a chair smoking and reading a book. I never met the man, but I projected enough to think that he resembled an old college roommate of mine, also a depressive sort. It’s amazing how we all seem to find each other with our sad fuck pheromones.

That’s part of it, I guess; the idea that if we all just channel the remaining light we have left that somehow we’ll have enough clarity to make it through the dark times. Then you learn that someone has fallen off and you realize the limitations of your mind’s own illumination.

Continue reading The Suffering Subsides: On the Death of David Berman

Godspeed, Bandit

It’s hard to describe just how unstoppable Burt Reynolds was at his peak in the late 70s, but here’s a quick (if somewhat disconnected) example: I had a babysitter when I was in elementary school whose dad was a Burt Reynolds impersonator. And he was good. He was a dead ringer and he’d even borrow a black Trans Am from a friend’s car lot when he made appearances. And then he’d be mobbed at those appearances. Absolutely mobbed, even though everyone knew he wasn’t actually Burt Reynolds. He was close enough to get everyone in an absolute panic. That’s how long The Bandit’s shadow was; we could all shiver nervously in it as it was rebroadcast from a midwestern dad’s borrowed Pontiac.

Born in 1936, his breakout film role was as Lewis Medlock in Deliverance in 1972 and he played the leading role in The Longest Yard two years later, but let’s be honest: Burt Reynolds as we know him was born in 1977 with his role as Bo “Bandit” Darville. He had the exact mixture of goofiness and bravado to pull off the lead role in a ridiculous road film where he takes a bet of $80,000 to haul 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas back to Atlanta in 28 hours. Yes, that was the premise of one of the biggest movies of the 70s (Wikipedia says the film the film eventually grossed $126,737,428 in North America, making it the second-highest-grossing movie of 1977, right behind Star Wars). That’s how weird it was back then.    

Reynolds proceeded to make a career of basically playing his own rogue-ishly charming self in a variety of films, including Sharkey’s Machine, Six Pack, Stroker Ace and maybe the most ridiculous film I’ve ever seen, Cannonball Run. Seriously, if you haven’t watched that film lately do yourself a favor and catch one of the viewings that are sure to make up cable TV’s programming this weekend. It is insane.

While Reynolds continued to work pretty regularly throughout the 80s and 90s, it was his role as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights that reminded us again how awesome he was and how integral he was to Hollywood in the 70s. It’s particularly fitting that it appears his final role will be as George Spahn, the rancher who owned the property where the Manson Family was arrested in 1969, thus marking the end of the 60s and the dawn of the era of Burt.

Ten-four, good buddy. Keep your shiny side up and we’ll see you at the next Cannonball Run.

Continue reading Godspeed, Bandit

Wrapping up a lousy year: 2017

A lot of people died this year. This happens every year, and we’re all gonna die someday, of course, but it’s still a drag that we’re no longer inhabiting the same plane of existence as Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. We also lost Glen Campbell, Tom Petty, Walter Becker, Grant Hart, Clyde the Funky Drummer Stubblefield, Charles Bradley, J. Geils, Malcolm Young and his brother George, Tommy Keene, Maggie Roche, Gregg Allman, David Cassidy, Mel Tillis, Don Williams, Jim Nabors, Chris Cornell, Al Jarreau, Pat DiNizio, Prodigy, Chester Bennington, Charlie Murphy, Joanie Cunningham, Benson, Batman, Judge Wapner, Roger Moore, Jerry Lewis, Chuck Barris, Hugh Hefner, Don Rickles, Mary Tyler Moore, Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Landau, Dick Gregory, Jonathan Demme, Sam Shepard, Kevin Garcia (Grandaddy), Frank Deford, and Jake Lamotta.

Phew. That’s a lot. Rest in peace.

We also lost a common definition of reality, and although it had been on its deathbed for a while, it was still a little shocking when it finally kicked the bucket. I remember getting wasted with pals in the early 90s and bullshitting about memetics and alternate realities and it’s very weird to see it all come true. Or, maybe not “true” since truth no longer exists, but whatever. Oh well. Never mind.

One good thing that happened in 2017 is that Glorious Noise started posting new content regularly again for the first time since 2011. Shortly after our 16th anniversary online in February we committed to posting something new every weekday. Did you notice?

It’s been fun. I’ve listened to a lot of new music that I might have skipped over had we not set that goal. There’s tons of new stuff released every week and some of it is actually good! It’s become our mission to find the good stuff and share it with you.

There are plenty of sites that post every new press release that hits their inbox. Glorious Noise does not do that. We listen to stuff and if it’s boring or if it sucks we ignore it. Just like you should. Unless it’s noteworthy or hilariously bad or we think we should warn you about its suckiness. We will filter out the crap.

We are not an algorithm. We are a few dudes with dayjobs and strong opinions who tend to gravitate toward guitar music with something to say. You can trust us.

In fact, we’ve been compiling the songs we’ve posted about this year into a massive playlist which you can stream for yourself to decide if our taste jibes with your own. Dig it. And have a happy new year.

Continue reading Wrapping up a lousy year: 2017

Thank you for a funky time, Prince

The first time I remember seeing or hearing Prince was the “Little Red Corvette” video. I was at a sleepover at a friend’s house. I was 11 years old and I was pretty sure I knew everything about everything. I was, of course, wrong.

We laughed about his fruity look and completely missed most of the dirty references (“a pocket full of horses, Trojans, and some of them used”). Who was this guy? None of my pals were into Prince…yet.

When seventh grade started in September there was a new kid in school. Rich was a Latino kid who moved from New York, and he knew how to do the wave. I sat by him in Mr. Bergin’s homeroom and he regaled me with stories about breakdancing competitions back home. Our school district was extremely white, and we must have made Rich feel like an exotic alien. He was a badass. By the end of the year a bunch of classmates — led by Rich — had their own breaking crew who blew away everyone else in the talent show.

That summer, my friends and I would go to the Plainfield Dance every Saturday night. It was held in a roller skating rink and attracted kids from all over the area, including the inner city. You follow where I’m going with this? It was my first opportunity as a kid to be around black people. My friends and I were too self-conscious to dance, but we’d walk around the rink looking at girls and listening to music.

Plainfield Skating Center

The music was different from what was being played on the radio, including strange electro grooves that would end up triggering us to make a big circle around the breakdancers as they impressed everybody with their latest moves. They’d challenge each other and battle on the floor. The coolest thing I ever saw was when Rich — after a dizzying assortment of helicopter spins — concluded by coming to an abrupt halt and simultaneously grabbing his nuts with one hand and pointing at a rival with the other. The place exploded.

Continue reading Thank you for a funky time, Prince

Prince Dead at 57

This video has long been my go-to mood enhancer. Of the many, many amazing performances Prince has recorded over the years, this is the one I go back to again and again. There are so many reason why, but a few that come to mind are:

    • If I could play guitar like anyone it would be Jay Bennett, George Harrison or Prince. This hits two of the three
    • Prince’s inclusion elevates the performance from a tribute from pals (famous and talented ones, at that) to a celebration of a song and its writer who inspired and affected so many people
    • Prince absolutely mops the floor with his solo
    • His guitar disappears at the end. Seriously, where did it go?
    • The look on Dhani Harrison’s face throughout Prince’s solo is pure gold

Prince’s Guitar Solo during “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions

Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others -- "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

There are few celebrity deaths that would affect me personally—unlike that of a family member or friend, I might miss their artistry, but not their person. Prince’s death has affected me though. I am genuinely sad to hear of his passing. I think it’s because his public persona, the character he’s created and refined throughout his years as a public figure, is exactly what we want musicians to be. Yes, he was successful financially. More importantly, he was unique but cognizant and respectful of what had come before him. He confounded us with genre mash-ups and confusing name changes. He was the guy who wrote “Darling Nikki” and then extolled the virtues of being a Jahovah’s Witness. He was…interesting. Endlessly interesting.

He really seemed to exist on a higher plane.

If anyone felt music, it was Prince. You can see it in his face and his body. He created the wavelengths and then let himself be taken by them. He had that golden combination of science and soul. I don’t think Prince ever once in his life simply ran scales.

So yes, I am sad today and will genuinely miss Prince’s existence in the world. And I’ll lean heavily on my go-to mood enhancer to get through it.

Godspeed to his Purple Badness.

The Peoples Poet is Dead: Rik Mayall Dead at 56

There were sweaty summer days in the late 80s where we’d sit around the house watching TV and chugging Mello Yello. We were American teens with a thing for British culture and in addition to the NME and Melody Maker, most of our understanding of Arcadia came from The Young Ones.

This passage from one of our favorite episodes is the best tribute we can think of for Rik Mayall, who died today at 56:

This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, “But why are the kids crying?” And the kids will say, “Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!”

Hands up, who likes Rick? This time, all hands are raised.

Adam Yauch is Dead

I knew this day was coming. When the Beastie Boys announced that Adam Yauch would be to unable attend the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame my first thought was, Oh shit.

Three weeks later, my fears proved correct.

I loved the Beastie Boys the first time I heard them. A girl I knew told me there was a new song that I had to hear, that she knew I would love it. She was right, of course. What snotty 15 year old boy could resist the charms of “Fight For Your Right (To Party)”?

I bought the tape and enjoyed it for a while but then I pretty much forgot about them until college when friends turned me on to Paul’s Boutique. I remember thinking they were crazy to even bother giving that “joke” group a second chance. Boy, was I wrong. This was the very early 90s and I was just discovering Funkadelic and marijuana and N.W.A. and I was amazed these Bud-swilling dorks had gotten so cool.

I followed them from then on and started collecting the records they sampled on vinyl. In the early days of the internet I contributed everything I knew to a list of Paul’s Boutique Samples and References, including erroneously attributing the “Good God!” to Edwin Starr’s “War.” I tried for years to correct my mistake, but by then it was part of internet history. So yeah, that was me. Sorry.

I read an article somewhere that compared the three Beasties to three parts of the human psyche. Adrock was the id (impulsive), Mike D was the ego (organized), and MCA was the superego (the conscience). This always made sense to me and these verses from “Sure Shot” seemed to prove it:

MCA:
I want to say a little something that’s long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through
To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends
I want to offer my love and respect to the end

Mike D:
Well you say I’m twenty something and I should be slacking
But I’m working harder than ever, and you could call it macking
So I’m supposed to sit upon the couch and watching my TV
Still listening to wax, I’m not using the CD

Adrock:
I’m that kid in the corner
All fucked up and I wanna so I’m gonna
Take a piece of the pie, why not, I’m not quitting
Think I’ma change up my style just to fit in

The theory oversimplifies things (in the next line Yauch rhymes about his underwear) but there’s some truth in it. And now the Beastie Boys have lost their conscience.

On January 7, 2011, in response to media reports that he had beaten his cancer, Yauch posted the following to the Beasties web site: “While I’m grateful for all the positive energy people are sending my way, reports of my being totally cancer free are exaggerated. I’m continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future.”

That didn’t happen. Cancer claimed another life. I’d love to believe that he’s in a better place, but I’m at least comforted by the fact that he’s no longer suffering from that horrible fucking disease.