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The Departed

No, no, this post is not about the new Martin Scorsese movie based on the Hong Kong flick Infernal Affairs (starring Tony Leung, who earlier acted in those fabulous Wang Kar Wai flicks like Chungking Express, 2045 and all).

This is for the musicians, the deceased legendary performers who have joined the great gig in the sky. A tribute to all these heroes (Janis Joplin is not exactly a hero but, why not?) who have somehow defined and enriched Rock music as it is known today.


Most of my heroes are dead. Here is a homage to those heroes with some interesting information about them. I sure must have forgotten to add all of them. You are welcome to list your Rock/metal heroes (deceased ones only) in the comments.

Bon Scott
(July 9, 1946 – February 19, 1980)
a.k.a Ronald Belford Scott

Scott has influenced numerous Rock and Heavy Metal frontmen and been a lasting influence on the Hard Rock genre with even many contemporaries acknowledging his powerful contribution - Three frontmen of Iron Maiden have acknowledged his influence or standing.

While Bruce Dickinson has called him one of the 'fathers of Rock', Paul Di'Anno has called him his hero and Blaze Bayley has said that Bon Scott and Ronnie James Dio were his two greatest influences.

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth has been quoted in a Guitar World interview as saying that AC/DC's Let There Be Rock album and Bon Scott were what inspired him to get into music in the first place.

Chuck Schuldiner
(May 13, 1967 - December 13, 2001)
a.k.a Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner

Death's breakthrough album, Human saw the band evolving to a more technical and progressive style, in which Schuldiner displayed his guitar skills more than ever.

He continued in this style (and continued the success of the band) with 1993s Individual Thought Patterns, 1995s Symbolic, and finally The Sound of Perseverance in 1998.

Schuldiner played guitar in the project Voodoocult on the album Jesus Killing Machine in 1994.

Schuldiner folded Death after this to form a new band called Control Denied, and released The Fragile Art of Existence in 1999.

Schuldiner was also asked to be one of the many guest vocalists on Dave Grohl's 2001 PROBOT project by Grohl himself. Grohl even campaigned to raise funds to help Schuldiner pay medical bills for the brain cancer that would eventually take his life.

Schuldiner succumbed to the disease before any collaboration could happen.

Cliff Burton
(February 10, 1962 – September 27, 1986)
a.k.a Clifford Lee Burton

Burton would reportedly monopolize the tape player in any touring vehicle, and deliberately expose the band to a variety of music styles ranging from The Misfits, Pink Floyd, and Thin Lizzy to legendary classical pianist Glenn Gould playing Bach.

Dimebag Darrell
(August 20th, 1966 – December 8th, 2004)
a.k.a Darrell Lance Abbott
(also known as Diamond Darrell until mid 1992)

Shortly before singer Phil Anselmo joined Pantera, Darrell was invited to join the pre-Rust in Peace Megadeth by Dave Mustaine. According to both Darrell and Mustaine's telling, Darrell was willing to join, but insisted on Mustaine also hiring his brother Vinnie. When Mustaine found out that Vinnie was a drummer and replied that he had already hired Nick Menza, Darrell turned down his offer and stayed with Pantera.

Freddie Mercury
(September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991)
born Farookh Bulsara (a.k.a Frederick Bulsara)

Freddie Mercury was the one Rock star mentioned in singer Kurt Cobain’s alleged suicide note:
"I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now.

I feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example, when we’re backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins, it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddy [sic] Mercury who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is something I totally admire and envy."

Janis Joplin
(January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)
a.k.a Janis Lyn Joplin

Alongside Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, she pioneered an entirely new range of expression for white women in the previously male-dominated world of post-Beatles rock. It is also notable that, in a very short time, she transcended the role of "chick singer" fronting an all-male band, to being an internationally famous solo star in her own right.

Jerry Garcia
(August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995)
a.k.a Jerome John Garcia

Jerry Garcia died on August 9, 1995, of a heart attack exacerbated by sleep apnea. Garcia, who struggled with tobacco and drug addiction (most notably china white Heroin and Cocaine) and sleep apnea for much of his adult life, was staying at the Serenity Knolls drug rehabilitation center in Forest Knolls, California at the time.

On his passing, he was honored by President Clinton as being "an American icon."
Memorial services were held in Golden Gate Park on August 13, 1995. Along with the band members, his family and friends, thousands of fans were present, many singing and playing in drum circles.

Deborah Koons Garcia and Bob Weir, just after dawn on April 4, 1996, spread Garcia's ashes on the Ganges River 155 miles north of New Delhi, the idea of which came to Weir in a dream.

Note: I had written a song on Jerry Garcia, during my Rock n roll days, called as 'Resting in Ganges', it is about a skeleton that sits on field gaping at the sun and Garcia's guitar lying in the field with no one to pluck her strings since Garcia is resting in the Ganges... so it goes...
Someday I'll post my poems/songs that I had written over the years since my high school days.

One of Garcia's legacies is the Jam band scene the Dead spawned. Phish, Umphrey's McGee and dozens of other groups not only play in the Dionysian spirit of the Dead, but keep the Deadhead spirit alive through shows that are, at their best, as much about community as they are about music.

Soundgarden has released an instrumental piece called 'Jerry Garcia's Finger'.

Jim Morrison
(December 8, 1943 - July 3, 1971)
a.k.a James Douglas Morrison

Biographers have consistently pointed to a number of writers and philosophers who influenced Morrison's thinking and, perhaps, behavior.

While still in his teens, Morrison discovered the works of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (after Morrison's death, John Densmore opined that the nihilism of "Nietzsche killed Jim").

He was also drawn to the dark poets of the 18th and 19th century, notably the British poet William Blake, and the French poets Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud.

Beat Generation writers, such as Jack Kerouac, also had a strong influence on Morrison's outlook and manner of expression; Morrison was eager to experience the life described in Kerouac's On The Road.

He was similarly drawn to the works of the French writer Céline. Céline's book, Voyage au Bout de la Nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) and Blake's Auguries of Innocence both echo through one of Morrison's early songs, "End of the Night."

Eventually Morrison got to meet and befriend Michael McClure, a well known beat poet. McClure had enjoyed Morrison's lyrics but was even more impressed by his poetry and encouraged him to further develop his craft.

Jimi Hendrix
(November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970)
a.k.a James Marshal Hendricks

Throughout the four years of his fame, Hendrix often appeared in impromptu jams with various musicians.

A recording exists of Hendrix playing in March 1968 at Steve Paul's Scene Club, with blues legend Johnny Winter followed by Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles in which a very intoxicated Jim Morrison grabbed an open microphone and contributed a growling, obscenity laced vocal accompaniment.

The band continued to play behind him, and Hendrix can be heard on the tape announcing Morrison's presence and offering him a better microphone.

The recording, circulated among Hendrix and Doors collectors, is titled Morrison's Lament. Albums of the recording were sold under various titles (originally Sky High, then Woke Up this Morning), some falsely claiming the presence of Johnny Winter's band.

John Bonham
(May 31, 1948 – September 25, 1980)
a.k.a John Henry "Bonzo" Bonham

Despite rumours that Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Simon Kirke, or Bev Bevan would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members disbanded Led Zeppelin after Bonham's death.

They issued a statement, once and for all clarifying that the band would not continue without its irreplaceable drummer....
"We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were".

John Lennon
(October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)
John Winston Lennon

During live performances of "I Want to Hold Your Hand", Lennon often changed the words to "I want to hold your gland" (meaning breast/mammary gland), because no one could hear the vocals anyway, above the noise of the screaming audiences.

John displayed his usual brand of humour when a reporter asked him:
"Does it bother you that you can't hear what you sing during concerts?"
John: "No, we don't mind. We've got the records at home."

Johnny Cash
(February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003)
a.k.a J.R. Cash

Cash, to his amusement had been declared "The Godfather of Gangsta Rap."

Bob Johnston, Johnny's old friend and legendary producer who also came by to visit, recalls "one of the rap guys telling me, 'You're talking about us being bad? I grew up on Johnny Cash singing 'I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die!'"

Kurt Cobain
(February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994)
a.k.a Kurt Donald Cobain

Kurt Cobain is legally recognized to have committed suicide. However, others contend that Cobain may have been murdered.

The first to publicly object to the report of suicide was Seattle public access host Richard Lee. A week after Cobain's death, Lee aired the first episode of an ongoing documentary covering Cobain's death called Kurt Cobain Was Murdered.

Making note of several discrepancies in the police reports, including several changes in the nature of the shotgun blast, Lee insisted that Cobain was murdered.

Lee acquired a video that was shot on April 8 from the tree outside Cobain's garage and showed the scene around Cobain's body, and noted an absence of blood for what was reported as a point-blank shotgun blast to the head.

Several pathology experts have noted that a shotgun blast inside the mouth often results in less blood, unlike a shotgun blast to the head.
Lee's TV series continues to run, but often focuses on general issues regarding the Seattle Police Department.

Layne Staley
(August 22, 1967 - April 5, 2002)

Like several other musicians in the Seattle grunge scene, Staley experimented with heroin. By the 1990s, Staley was battling an addiction.

The darker side of addiction had its influence on Staley's lyrics.

The Alice in Chains album (Dirt) showed this preoccupation in songs like "Angry Chair", "Godsmack" and "Junkhead", while guitarist Jerry Cantrell's lyrics focused mainly on the thoughts of death.

"Would?" in particular addresses the death of Andrew Wood, singer of Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990.

Randy Rhoads
(December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982)
a.k.a Randall William Rhoads

In 1979, ex-Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne was forming a new band.

Future Slaughter bassist Dana Strum recommended Rhoads to Osbourne. Rhoads got the call for the audition just before the last Quiet Riot gig.

He walked in with a Les Paul guitar and a Fender practice amp and started warming up; Osbourne immediately gave him the job.

Rhoads recalled later, "I just tuned up and did some riffs, and he said, 'You've got the gig.' I had the weirdest feeling, because I thought, 'You didn't even hear me yet.'"

Osbourne described Rhoads' playing as "God entering my life."

Rhoads subsequently recommended his friend Greg Leon, who also taught guitar at Musonia for Rhoads' mother, to replace him in Quiet Riot, as Rhoads packed his bags and headed off to the UK.

Ronnie Van Zant
(January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977)
a.k.a Ronald Wayne Van Zant

By October 20, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd's songs had become radio staples. Their latest album, Street Survivors, had just been released to critical and popular acclaim.

Their ambitious new tour, just days underway, saw sellout crowds. Then it all fell away at 6000 feet above a Mississippi swamp.

At 6:42 PM, the pilot of Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair 240 airplane radioed that the craft was dangerously low on fuel. Less than ten minutes later, the plane crashed into a densely wooded thicket in the middle of a swamp.

The crash, which killed Ronnie VanZant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, road manager Dean Kilpatrick and seriously injured the rest of the band and crew, shattered Skynyrd's fast rising star as it cut a 500 foot path through the swamp.

Lynyrd Skynyrd had met a sudden, tragic end.

Stevie Ray Vaughn
(October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990)
a.k.a Stephen Ray Vaughn

Vaughan's blues style was strongly influenced by many blues guitarists.

Foremost among them were Albert King, who dubbed himself Stevie's "godfather", and Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Jimi Hendrix. He was also strongly influenced by Lonnie Mack.

Stevie is recognized for his distinctive guitar sound, which was partly based on using heavy thirteen-gauge guitar strings that he tuned down one half-step.

Vaughan's sound and playing style, which often incorporated simultaneous lead and rhythm parts, drew frequent comparisons to Hendrix; Vaughan covered several Hendrix tunes on his studio albums and in performance, such as "Little Wing", "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", and "Third Stone from the Sun".

Syd Barrett
(January 6, 1946 – July 7, 2006)
a.k.a Roger Keith Barrett

In an interview for the 2001 BBC documentary The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story, which aired in the US in January of 2002 as a VH1 special, Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett: Legends, Rick Wright spoke about the session, saying:
"One thing that really stands out in my mind, that I'll never forget; I was going in to the "Shine On" sessions. I went in the studio and I saw this guy sitting at the back of the studio, he was only as far away as you are from me.

And I didn't recognize him.

I said, 'Who's that guy behind you?'

'That's Syd.'

And I just cracked up, I couldn't believe it... he had shaven all his hair off... I mean, his eyebrows, everything... he was jumping up and down brushing his teeth, it was awful.

And, uh, I was in, I mean Roger was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears.
It was very shocking... seven years of no contact and then to walk in while we're actually doing that particular track.

I don't know – coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful".
In the same episode, Nick Mason stated:
"When I think about it, I can still see his eyes, but... it was everything else that was different".
In that same interview, Roger Waters has said:
"I had no idea who he was for a very long time".
David Gilmour stated on Legends:
"None of us recognized him. Shaved...shaved bald head and very plump".

I still find it hard to end posts like this, this is all I have to say, "Thank you for the music."

Facts Courtesy: Wiki



1 Responses to “The Departed”

  1. # Blogger metalmaniac

    Hey Annie, this is excellent to read on the lost ROCKY souls !!!!!!  

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