Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rough Day

I can only handle so much death in one day. As if learning four out of the five identified Blues Jam players were dead wasn't enough...

I decided to spend today organizing my big pile of negative sheets. That meant alphabetizing them, creating a data sheet in excel, maybe scanning a few and doing a little dead or alive researching as I went along. James Cotton happened to be on the top of the pile and since his name came up in the comments of the Blues Jam post, I did a contact scan and also sent an email to his management to see who the band members were...just in case.

Next on the pile was Ace. They were the band from England that had a huge hit with the song, "How Long" - you know, the one that sounded like a love song? I didn't scan them yet - they're still alive - but I did take lots of pics of them including backstage stuff. They were cool guys. I distinctly remember meeting them for breakfast the morning after the concert. Didn't do a sleepover or anything like that, just had breakfast with a couple of them. That's when they told me "How Long" was written about an incident within the band that almost broke them up.

Next on the pile: Badfinger. Another English band. Do you remember Badfinger? That little Beatle-prodigy foursome that signed with Apple in '68 and had there first hit, "Come And Get It," written for them by McCartney?

So, I look them up on Wikipedia and am casually reading through a bio when I come to a section titled, "Death and Decline." What? The next line read, "On 24 April 1975, Pete Ham, financially broken and despairing, hanged himself in his garage studio in Surrey." Shit. That's horrible. And by the way, what igloo was I hiding out in when that came across the wire? Not even a year had passed since I shot them.

Time to scan a contact and find the Pete Ham shots. As I scan, I keep reading. Get to the last line, "Mike Gibbins died in his sleep at his home in Orlando, Florida on October 4, 2005." Are you kidding? Two out of four, dead? Right now, I'm about two thirds the way through scanning. Here's a little taste of Badfinger:
Tom Evans, Joey Molland, Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins

How Beatle-esque is this? Looks like they could have been playing on Ed Sullivan...or maybe it's my living room.

Sadly, this makes 6 new adds today to my already crowded dead rock star list. Think I'm done for the day. Chuck Berry is next on the stack. Last time I checked, he was still breathing. Please stay home tonight, Chuck. And first thing tomorrow, call your doctor for a check-up...just in case.


Brett said...


I recall chuckling at an interview wherein Paul Carrack (member of Ace, writer of "How Long," singer on Squeeze's exceedingly excellent "Tempted," etc etc etc) laughed at himself for "coming up with those opening chords to 'How Long' and feeling a little too proud that I must have been the first man ever to discover minor chords..."

He came across as a refreshingly sane guy, and lord knows the man can sing.

Damn. Now I'll be stuck with Carrack singing in iTunes all day....
pulling mussels from a B

mernitman said...

How sad is All This! Glad to hear from Brett that Mr. Carrack is still with us... isn't he?!