Once again, as the calendars change, resolutions are carelessly thrown about, and we look forward to what wonders await us in this new year, we here at mxdwn would like to take a few moments to look back, to reflect on the fallen characters who helped to mold this thing we call music.
Dave Brockie (August 30, 1963 – March 23, 2014)
Lead singer of the theatrical metal band GWAR, where he played the character Oderus Urungus, Dave Brockie helped push the boundaries of what a great metal stage show could be. With many loyal followers all over the world, GWAR brings a theology and storyline to their music that has helped them continue to make fans and tour since 1984. Brockie’s, Oderus Urungus, was the only character to exist in every version of the band.
Joe Cocker (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014)
Known for his gritty soulful voice and his gyrating live performance, Joe Cocker put everything he had into every single note he sang. Rising to fame in 1969 with his cover the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends”, Cocker went on to win a Grammy and an Academy Award for “Up Where We Belong”, the theme song to the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. Cocker is also well known for his version of “You Are So Beautiful”.
Wayne Static (November 4, 1965 – November 1, 2014)
Founder, lead vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist for the metal band Static-X, Wayne Static could not be mistaken with his his signature spiky hair and beard.
Mark Bell (c.1971 – 12 October 2014)
Collaborating with artists the likes of Bjork and Depeche Mode, Mark Bell was a member of the British electronic group LFO.
Ikey Owens (December 1, 1974 – October 14, 2014)
The touring keyboardist for Jack White at the time of his death, Ikey Owens was also known for his work with The Mars Volta and other Long Beach bands.
Jack Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014)
Bassist for the legendary 60’s British rock band, Cream, Jack Bruce also had a very successful solo career which included 14 solo albums. Bruce and the rest of the band Cream, including Eric Clapton were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Big Bank Hank (January 11, 1956 – November 11, 2014)
Big Bank Hank broke records and musical barriers as a memeber of the iconic rap group Sugarhill Gang with their 1979 smash hit, “Rapper’s Delight”. The song went on to be the first rap song to break into U.S. Billboard’s Top 40 charts.
Robert Throb Young (1964 or 1965 – 9 September 2014)
Robert Throb Young was the former guitarist for the Scottish alternative rock band, Primal Scream.
Paul Revere (January 7, 1938 – October 4, 2014)
Most known for their 1971 #1 smash hit, “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)”, Paul Revere along with his Raiders also found much success with songs like “Kicks” and “Hungry”.
Tommy Ramone (January 29, 1949 – July 11, 2014)
Once manager turned drummer for the legendary punk rock band The Ramones, Tommy Ramone also co-produced their first three albums.
Bobby Keys (December 18, 1943 – December 2, 2014)
As a touring and a sessions musician, Bobby Keys played in many horn sections as a saxophonist for artists such as The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, Harry Nilsson, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Joe Cocker.
Johnny Winter (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014)
Ranked as the 63rd greatest guitar player by Rolling Stone, Johnny Winter was at Woodstock, recorded with artists such as Eric Clapton, and Muddy Waters, and was the winner of three Grammys.
Phil Everly (January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014)
Half of the classic 60’s country influenced rock and roll duo The Everly Brothers, Phil Everly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 as part of that group.
Bobby Womack (March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014)
Legendary soul singer, Bobby Womack, began working besides such icons as Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Sly and the Family Stone. After a string of his own hits including “Woman’s Gotta Have It”, “No One Wants You When You’re Down and Out”, and Womack’s top single, “Lookin’ for a Love”, he was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
Ian McLagan (12 May 1945 – 3 December 2014)
English keyboardist, Ian McLagan played alongside legendary singer Rod Stewart in the band Faces. McLagan also played with the Rolling Stones.
DJ E-Z Rock (Died April 27, 2014)
DJ for MC Rob Base, E-Z Rock etched his name into the classic party jam archives with their 1988 hit “It Takes Two”. Produced by Teddy Riley, “It Takes Two” has been sampled by the likes of Snoop Dogg, featured in movies such as The Proposal, and the 2004 hugely successful video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Shane Gibson (February 21, 1979 – April 15, 2014)
Touring guitarist for the metal band Korn, Shane Gibson also played for stOrk and Jonathan Davis also of Korn.
Bob Casale (July 14, 1952 – February 17, 2014)
Guitarist and keyboardist for the popular 80’s band Devo, responsible for the classic “Whip It”, Bob Casale later worked in TV and movies including “Four Rooms”, “Happy Gilmore”, “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Rugrats Go Wild”.
Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)
One of the founders of the New York Folk Festival, Pete Seeger was a huge inspiration on artists such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez,
and the Byrds. He eventually created the Civil Rights rally song “We Shall Overcome”.
Jason McCash (Gates of Slumber) (Died April 5, 2014)
Receiving large recognition in Germany and England, Jason McCash was bassist for the doom metal band The Gates of Slumber.
Frankie Knuckles (January 18, 1955 – March 31, 2014)
Working with such artists as Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston and Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Knuckles was an innovator and a pioneer as a house DJ.
Larry Smith (Run DMC producer) (June 11, 1951 – December 18, 2014)
Known for his production techniques that helped boost Run DMC to stardom, Larry Smith was featured on the first commercially successful rap song “Breaks” by Kurtis Blow.
Corey Mitchell (Housecore Horror Film Fest) (Died October 27, 2014)
Not only was he the co-founder of the Housecore Horror Festival, which showcased metal and horror films, Corey Mitchell was also a nationally acclaimed horror novelist, contributor of over 150 articles to the metal magazine MetalSucks, band manager and metal radio disc jockey.
Raphael Ravenscroft (Baker Street sax) (4 June 1954 – 19 October 2014)
The man behind the “haunting” saxophone solo on Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”, Raphael Ravenscroft also worked with artists such as Pink Floyd, ABBA, and Daft Punk.
Tim Williams (Suicidal Tendencies) (Died August 27, 2014)
The bassist for the american crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, Tim Williams also played for Boyz II Men and Toni Braxton.
Joe Young (Antiseen) (Died April 30, 2014)
Founder of the 80’s punk rock band Antiseen, Joe Young was a guitarist and a politician. Young was said to have created that buzz saw wall of grind trademark axe.
Oliver Withoft (Century Media Records) (January 21, 2014)
Indie label legend and founder of Century Media Records, Oliver Withoft helped create a home for over 100 people for over 25 years including Lacuna Coil, Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence, In This Moment, Otherwise, Iced Earth, Die Broilers, Arch Enemy and Heaven Shall Burn.
Casey Kasem (April 27, 1932 – June 15, 2014)
Beginning his broadcasting career while serving in the Korean war, Casey Kasem became the voice of the top 40 from 1970 to 1988 and the voice of Shaggy and many other characters on Scooby Doo. Kasem was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1985.
In the words of Mr. Kasem,
“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”