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Allen Collins 10/1990

Allen Collins 300October 20, 1990 – Larkin Allen Collins Jr. was one of three lead guitar players in the Southern Rock guitar army Lynyrd Skynyrd. He survived the tragic crash that killed Ronnie van Zant and Stevie Gaines, but succumbed to chronic pneumonia 13 years later. Collins, just 12 years old joined Ronnie van Zant and Gary Rossington to form Lynyrd Skynyrd in the summer of 1964. Even though his life was littered by personal tragedies and illness, he gained super stardom recognition for co-writing many of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s monster hit songs, including Freebird, That Smell and Gimme Three Steps.

Lynyrd Skynyrd says the following about Allen Collins:

Long considered one of rock’s premier guitarists, Allen Collins served as heart to Ronnie VanZant’s soul in Lynyrd Skynyrd. Allen’s unique, firy guitar playing and powerful songwriting helped insure Lynyrd Skynyrd’s place in rock and roll history.

Born at St. Lukes Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida on July 19, 1952, Allen (delivered by Doctor Owens) weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces. Allen’s mother, Eva remembers her son as full of energy and enthusiasm — even before Allen could walk he moved constantly. From his earliest days Allen loved cars — especially race cars — and his favorite summer activity was going to Jacksonville Raceway every Saturday night to watch Leroy Yarborough race. The Collins family first started attending the races when Allen was eight years old and Allen, sitting as high in the stands as possible, would laugh and holler as he pretended to be racing his own car. This early fascination lasted throughout Allen’s life — he later collected an entire fleet of collectible and performance cars that was one of his proudest possessions.

In 1963, Allen lived in Jacksonville’s Cedar Hills area when an older friend received a guitar for his birthday. Allen was hooked. Allen’s parents had recently divorced and times were tough for Allen, his sister and mother. His mother, already working all day at the cigar factory, took a second job at Woolworths in the evenings. As soon as she had saved enough money, she surprised Allen by taking him down to Sears and ordered his first Silvertone guitar and amplifier. Despite no training aside from a few tips from his step-mother and friend, Allen picked up the guitar easily and quickly formed his first band — The Mods.

Together with singer Ronnie VanZant and guitarist Gary Rossington, Allen Collins formed the nucleus of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 by learning what they could from each other and listening to the radio. This early band, first called My Backyard, then the Noble Five also included drummer Bob Burns and bassist Larry Junstrum. Finding a place to practice proved difficult and the choices were limited to the carport at Bob’s house, Ronnie’s backyard, where they were sure to get a full meal or Allen’s living room which usually included Eva’s famous cakes and candies. After several years of practicing, performing and personnel changes, Skynyrd, like any decent group of fledgling rock stars, started gigging the notorious one-nighters.

In 1970, Allen married Kathy Johns. Allen included his band mates in his wedding party, but Kathy worried that their long haired appearance would disturb her parents. Solving the problem required everyone tucking their rock and roll image under wigs for the wedding ceremony. The wedding reception played host to a piece of rock and roll history – one of the first public performances of “Freebird” complete with the trademark extended guitar jam at the end. Allen’s family grew with the birth of his daughter Amie followed quickly by Allison. Times were very difficult since Allen’s musical career barely brought in enough to support the young family. Despite coming close several times, Lynyrd Skynyrd just kept missing that elusive big break.

In 1973, however, things finally started coming together for Lynyrd Skynyrd. During a week-long stint at Funochio’s in Atlanta, the band was discovered by the renown Al Kooper. After signing a record deal with MCA subsidiary Sounds of the South, Skynyrd entered the studio with Kooper producing. The result — Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd — started the band on its rise to fame with standards like ‘Gimme Three Steps’, ‘Simple Man’, and the incendiary, guitar-driven classic, ‘Freebird’.

Gold and platinum albums followed a string of hit songs like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Saturday Night Special’, ‘Gimme Back My Bullets’, ‘What’s Your Name?’, and ‘That Smell’. Over the four years Skynyrd recorded, the memories gradually turned into legends. Opening the Who tour. “Skynning” Europe alive. 1975’s Torture Tour. Steve Gaines. One More From The Road. The Knebworth Fair ’76.

By October 20, 1977, 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.

After several years of recovery, the crash survivors felt the time was right for another try. Gary Rossington and Allen Collins had performed at a few special jams, and slowly began planning a new band. Over the next few weeks they signed on Skynyrd survivors Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson and other local musicians, although the choice of a lead vocalist for the new band remained a perplexing one. Realizing any singer would be faced with inevitable comparisons with Ronnie VanZant, Allen and Gary chose Dale Krantz, a gutsy, whiskey-voiced female backup singer from .38 Special. This change set the Rossington Collins band apart as they entered the 1980s.

The Rossington-Collins Band debuted in June 1980 with the Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere album. Kicked by such songs as ‘Getaway” and ‘Don’t Misunderstand Me’ the album sold more than a million copies and the band toured to enthusiastic, sellout crowds. However the band’s 1981 follow-up effort stumbled in the marketplace despite being well-received critically.

Tragedy struck Allen’s life again just as the Rossington Collins Band started. During the first days of the stressful debut concert tour, Allen’s wife Kathy passed away forcing the tour’s cancellation. Coupled with the lingering effects of losing his friends in the plane crash, Kathy’s death devastated Allen. However, the pull of creating music was too strong for Allen to walk away from. Even when Gary Rossington and Dale Krantz quit the Rossington Collins Band, Allen continued on forming the Allen Collins Band in 1983. Allen originally wanted the name Horsepower for his band, but shortly after completing the new album’s artwork they learned that name was already used. Their one release, Here, There and Back, met with considerable fan approval, but little support from MCA Records which dropped the band shortly after the album’s release.

Once again tragedy struck Allen in 1986. Driving near his home in Jacksonville, Allen crashed his car in an accident which killed his girlfriend and left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. The injuries also limited the use of his upper body and arms. He later plead no contest to DUI manslaughter.

During the 1987 Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute tour Allen served as musical director — selecting the set lists, arranging the songs and setting the stage. However, remaining on the sidelines while his band took center stage proved painful for the guitarist. Part of Allen’s sentence from his car wreck, called for him to use his fame and influence to warn kids of the dangers of drunk driving. Allen used the Tribute tour to go on stage and let his fans know the reason why he couldn’t play with Skynyrd — a powerful, sobering message few fans will forget.

In 1989, Allen developed pneumonia as a result of decreased lung capacity from the paralyzation. He entered the hospital in September where he passed away on January 23, 1990.

Allen Collins – Rossington Collins Band One Good Man

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Tom Fogerty 9/1990

Tom FogertySeptember 6, 1990 – Thomas Richard “Tom” Fogerty (November 9, 1941 – ) was born in Berkeley California and became best known as the rhythm guitarist for Creedence Clearwater Revival and is the older brother of John Fogerty the band’s lead singer/songwriter. He was a founding member of the band that sold 30 million albums in the United States alone and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Tom played on all but one of their albums: Creedence Clearwater Revival-1968, Bayou Country-1969, Green River-1969, Willy and the Poor Boys-1969, Cosmo’s Factory-1970, and Pendulum -1970, producing such hits as “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “Down on the Corner”, “Green River”, “Fortunate Son”, “Travelin’ Band” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.

Tom left the CCR in 1971, the year before the band split. During the few years of the life of CCR, Tom sang backing vocals and wrote songs, but only one of his songs (“Walking on the Water”) was recorded. This lack of opportunity, along with festering, long-standing animosity with his brother, led him to leave the band in 1971.

He began a solo career and worked with the likes of Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, and old band mates Stu Cook and Doug Clifford. Tom’s 1974 solo album Zephyr National was the last to feature the four original band members of CCR. A few of the songs sound much in the Creedence style, particularly the aptly-titled “Joyful Resurrection”. All four members did play on the song, but John recorded his part to the mix separately.

At the October 1980 reception for Tom’s marriage to Tricia Clapper, all four members of CCR reunited and performed for the first time in a decade. They took the stage once more for a final time at a school reunion three years later.

He died on September 6, 1990 from complications from AIDS acquired during blood transfusions needed for a tuberculosis infection.

In just four top years, CCR released 17 Top 40 Chart Hits, including many two-sided hits. Virtually their ENTIRE singles catalog are still played regularly on both Oldies Radio and the Classic Rock Stations: SUZIE Q (#9, 1968), PROUD MARY (#2, 1969), BAD MOON RISING (#2, 1969), GREEN RIVER (#2, 1969), DOWN ON THE CORNER (#3, 1969), FORTUNATE SON (#6, 1969), TRAVELIN’ BAND (#2, 1970), WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN (#2-B, 1970), UP AROUND THE BEND (#2, 1970), LOOKIN’ OUT MY BACK DOOR(#1, 1970) and HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN (#3, 1971) are all radio staples. Lesser known hits, B-Sides and LP cuts like BORN ON THE BAYOU, LODICOMMOTIONRUN THROUGH THE JUNGLESOMEDAY NEVER COMESSWEET HITCH-HIKERI PUT A SPELL ON YOU and their version of I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE also continue to receive a fair amount of airplay. In fact, percentage-wise, they may be the most-represented band on the radio when you consider how many songs get played in relationship to their total career output.  But CCR wasn’t just a singles band … in that same four year period, they released seven albums worth of new material. GREEN RIVER and COSMO’S FACTORY both went to #1 and were triple and quadruple platinum sellers respectively. Their self-titled debut LP, BAYOU COUNTRYWILLY AND THE POORBOYSPENDULUM and MARDI GRAS rounded out the string of hit LPs. In 1969 and 1970, they outsold THE BEATLES. In their four year career, they had seven gold albums (with sales of over 25,000,000) and ten gold singles (with sales of around 12,000,000!)

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Stevie Ray Vaughan 8/1990

Stevie_Ray_Vaughan_And_Double_Trouble-Texas_Flood_(1999)-Interior_TraseraAugust 27, 1990 – Stephen “Stevie” Ray Vaughan was born October 3, 1954 in Dallas Texas, Stevie grew up in the musical shadow of his older brother Jimmie, but he had a knack for guitar playing that went far beyond prodigy or natural talent.

He was three-and-a-half years younger than his brother Jimmie (born 1951)(Fabulous Thunderbirds). Their dad, Big Jim secured a job as an asbestos worker, an occupation that involved rigorous manual effort. The family moved frequently, living in other states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma before ultimately moving to the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. A shy and insecure boy, Vaughan was deeply affected by his childhood experiences. His father struggled with alcohol abuse, and often terrorized his family and friends with his bad temper. In later years, Vaughan recalled that he had been a victim of Big Jim’s violence. Continue reading Stevie Ray Vaughan 8/1990

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Bobby Day 7/1990

July 27, 1990 – Bobby Day was born Robert James Byrd on July 1st 1928 in Fort Worth, Texas.

An African American rock and roll and R&B singer and keyboardist in Texas in the 1940s, Day moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of 15. As a member of the R&B group the Hollywood Flames he used the stage name Bobby Day to perform and record. He went several years with minor musical success limited to the West Coast, including being the original “Bob” in the duo Bob & Earl.

In 1957 Day formed his own band called the Satellites, following which he recorded three songs that are seen today as rock and roll classics. Despite the similarity in personal and group names, this is not the Bobby Byrd that sang with, and was the founder of, the Famous Flames, the vocal group with which James Brown first began his career.

Day’s best known songwriting efforts were “Over and Over” made popular by the Dave Clark Five in 1965, and “Little Bitty Pretty One” popularized by Thurston Harris in 1957, Clyde McPhatter in 1962, and the Jackson Five in 1972. However, Day is most remembered for his 1958 solo recording of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 2 hit, “Rockin’ Robin”, written by Leon Rene under the pseudonym Jimmie Thomas. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold record. “Rockin’ Robin” was a song covered by Bob Luman at Town Hall Party on October 28, 1958, The Hollies in 1964, Gene Vincent in 1969, Michael Jackson in 1972, and by McFly in 2006.

In 2012-2013, his uncharted recording, “Beep-Beep-Beep”, was the musical soundtrack for a Kia Sorento television commercial shown nationwide in the U.S.

Day died of intestinal cancer on July 27, 1990 at the age of 62.

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Brent Mydland 7/1990

July 26, 1990 – Brent Mydland was born in Munich, Germany on October 21, 1952, the child of a U.S. Army chaplain. The family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when he was just one and he spent most of his childhood living in Antioch, California, an hour east of San Francisco. He started piano lessons at age six and had formal classical lessons through his junior year in high school. In an interview he commented that: “my sister took lessons and it looked fun to me, so I did too. There was always a piano around the house and I wanted to play it. When I couldn’t play it I would beat on it anyway.” His mother, a graveyard shift nurse, encouraged Mydland’s talents by insisting that he practice his music for two hours each day. He played trumpet from elementary till his senior year in high school; his schoolmates remember him practicing on an accordion, as well as the piano, every day after school.

“In my late teens I went and saw a lot of groups, and thank God I did, because the era didn’t last much longer.” When asked if he had musical aspirations in high school he admitted to wanting to originally be “a high school band teacher or something, I played trumpet in the marching band … then my senior year I got kicked out of the marching band for having long hair … they told me “sorry we’ll lose points for your long hair”, so that was the end of my band career. I gave up the trumpet and concentrated on the keyboards.” Brent graduated from Liberty High in nearby Brentwood, California, in 1971.

Of his early musical experiences Mydland has stated: “Late into high school I got into playing rock ‘n’ roll with friends and it was like I had to start from the beginning almost, because if I didn’t have a piece of music in front of me I couldn’t do much. I changed my outlook on playing real fast after that. I think dope had something to do with that.”

Influenced by rock organists such as Lee Michaels, Ray Manzarek and Goldie McJohn of Steppenwolf. Mydland was in a series of local bands. In the late 1960s he bought the first albums by Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, and during this interview he stated that he was in a band “where I used to sing “Morning Dew” and we did “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” too.”

When asked if that scene, which was based heavily on extended jams, had influenced him musically at all he said: “For a while, yes, but I could never find people that could make that kind of music sound good. We’d jam along and then. It’s nice to have people who add to it and change it instead of “Ok, I’ve got my part”; that gets boring really fast”.

He went on to state that: “In senior year I got together with a guitar player; he knew a drummer and bass player who were both pretty good. We were serious about it for about six weeks or so and then it kind of fell apart. I ended up living in a quonset hut in Thousand Oaks, California, writing songs and eating a lot of peanut butter and bread and whatever else was around. In one of the bands, I played with a guy named Rick Carlos and he got a call from John Batdorf of Batdorf & Rodney asking him to come to L.A, to play with them. A couple months later they were looking for a keyboard player who could sing the high parts, so I went down there and joined the band. I got to do a tour with them which was great experience. Then after that fell apart John and I put together Silver; Silver lasted about two years. We put out an album on Arista and were going to do a second but Clive Davis, Arista’s president, kind of choked it”.

“After Silver I bummed around L.A for about six months and then hooked up with Weir through John Mauceri, who I’d played with back in Batdorf & Rodney, and I joined the Bob Weir Band. With Bobby, at first, I’d say to him: “Well, should I play this instrument on this song, or this other instrument?” And he’d say, “I don’t care. Why not play one this time and the other the next time if you feel like it.” It loosened me up a lot and it got me more into improvisation. I liked it a lot.” So much so that he had no apprehension to join the biggest jamband of the all, when he replaced Keith and Donna Godcheaux on the keyboard for The Grateful Dead.

After two weeks of rehearsals, he played his first concert with the band at the Spartan Stadium, San Jose, on April 22.

Mydland quickly became an integral part of the Dead owing to his vocal and songwriting skills as much as his keyboard playing. He quickly combined his tenor singing with founder members Weir and Jerry Garcia to provide strong three-part harmonies on live favourites including “I Know You Rider”, “Eyes of the World” and “Truckin'”. He easily fit into the band’s sound and added his own contributions, such as in Go to Heaven (1980) which featured two of Mydland’s songs, “Far From Me” and “Easy to Love You”, the latter written with frequent Weir collaborator John Perry Barlow. On the next album, In the Dark (1987), Mydland co-wrote the defiant favorite “Hell in a Bucket” with Weir and Barlow; he also penned the train song “Tons of Steel”.

Built to Last (1989) featured several more of Mydland’s songs: the moody “Just a Little Light”, the environmental song “We Can Run”, the live performance driven “Blow Away” and the poignant “I Will Take You Home”, a lullaby written with Barlow for Mydland’s two daughters.

Mydland wrote several other songs that were played live but not released on any studio albums, such as “Don’t Need Love”, “Never Trust A Woman”, “Maybe You Know”, “Gentlemen Start Your Engines”, and “Love Doesn’t Have To Be Pretty”; the latter two written with Barlow. He also co-wrote “Revolutionary Hamstrung Blues” with Phil Lesh collaborator Bobby Petersen, although the song was performed live only once.

His high, gravelly vocal harmonies and emotional leads added to the band’s singing strength, and he even occasionally incorporated scat singing into his solos. Mydland’s vocals added colour to old favorites such as “Cassidy”, “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”, “Ramble on Rose”, the Band’s “The Weight”, and even wrote his own verse for Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster”. He sang lead on many covers, including Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”, and the Meters’ “Hey Pocky Way”.

Brent was also a capable songwriter whose credits include “Hell In A Bucket,” “Tons Of Steel,” “Just A Little Light,” “Blow Away” and the tender “I Will Take You Home.” “He could take something and turn it into a fully scored, well-thought-out, harmonically structured masterpiece in about a minute and a half,” songwriting partner John Perry Barlow told the New York Times. “Brent could pick his way through anything immediately, which meant he had the special requirement it was going to take to walk into the Dead overnight. He was musically central to the band, but he was so good at what he did that he was able to become fundamental to everything that the band was doing musically without it being immediately apparent to the audience.”

Mydland’s voice and approach was also on display for a number of covers the Dead performed during his time in the group such as “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” “Hey Pocky Way” and “Gimme Some Lovin’.” The keyboardist died just days after the Grateful Dead completed Summer Tour 1990 at The World in Tinley Park, Illinois on July 23, 1990. The encore that night was the Dead’s recently debuted cover of “The Weight” by The Band. All of the Dead’s vocalists sang lead for one verse of “The Weight.” Brent’s verse ends and the final words he sang as lead vocalist were “I gotta go, but my friends can stick around.”

The keyboardist who had been with The Grateful Dead for 11 years, longer than any other keyboardist, died of a drug overdose at his home in Lafayette, California, on July 26, 1990. He was 38. He was known mostly as a drinker, but in his later years he turned to hard drugs as he was struggling to cope with family issues and severe depression.

Watch the eerie and emotional performance of “The Weight” from July 23, 1990.


• In 1994, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead.

• After joining the Grateful Dead, Mydland played in Bob Weir’s Bobby and the Midnites during 1980 and 1981.
• In 1982, he recorded and mastered a solo studio album, but it was never released.
• In the Summer of 1985, he performed with fellow band member Bill Kreutzmann in their band Kokomo’ along with 707’s Kevin Russell and Santana’s David Margen.
• Also in 1985, he performed at the Haight Street Fair with Weir, John Cipollina, and Merl Saunders, among others.
• In 1986, Mydland formed Go Ahead with several San Francisco Bay area musicians, including Bill Kreutzmann, also former Santana members Alex Ligertwood on vocals and David Margen on bass, as well as guitarist Jerry Cortez. The band toured during the time Jerry Garcia was recovering from a diabetic coma, and also briefly reunited in 1988.
• He also did numerous solo projects and performances, as well as duo performances with Bob Weir numerous times throughout the 1980s, with Weir on acoustic guitar and Mydland on grand piano.
• Brent had a love for Harley Davidson motorcycles, and was an avid rider. A Harley which was owned by Mydland was featured on a 2013 episode of Pawn Stars.

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Jim Hodder 6/1990

jimhodderJune 5, 1990 – Jim Hodder  was born on December 17, 1947 in in the small Long Island hamlet of Bethpage, New York in 1947. He graduated from Plainedge High School in the Plainedge Union Free School District in 1965 and relocated thereafter to the Boston area, where he became active in the local music scene.

As drummer and lead vocalist, he joined the Boston-based psychedelic rock group The Bead Game, named after Hermann Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game. The group built a local following before attracting the attention of Avco Records and producer Gary Kannon, later known as Gary Katz. Their first album, Baptism, was cancelled, though it would receive a posthumous release in 1996 with a limited run.

In 1970 they appeared in the film The People Next Door in which they performed two songs, and soon thereafter recorded the album Easy Ridin’ as part of the collective Freedom Express. 1970 also saw the release of the band’s only proper album, Welcome, on Avco/Embassy. This album showcased a late psychedelic/early progressive crossover sound, and featured Hodder singing lead vocals on all tracks.

In 1972, Hodder accepted an invitation from Katz and Boston guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter to relocate to Los Angeles and join Steely Dan, a new group built around songwriters Donald Fagen and Walter Becker with whom the two were working. He made the move with his girlfriend Kathi Kamen Goldmark, later a successful author and musician. He barely knew the other band members prior to beginning tracking for their first records.

Hodder acted as the group’s drummer, but was also given occasional lead vocal duties thanks to Fagen’s insecurities as a vocalist. He sang lead on “Dallas”, the A-side on their initial two-song single, and the “Midnite Cruiser” cut on their debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill. The band soon embarked upon extensive touring in the wake of their early commercial success. Hodder’s drumming featured on the entirety of the follow-up album, Countdown to Ecstasy, a band-focused effort recorded the following year after the group’s sound had cohered on the road.

Jim Hodder, “percussionist, bronze god, pulse of the rhythm section,” was the original drummer for Steely. Burly, with large hands, Hodder brought a syncopated, pert style to the music. He exemplified “tasty,” a common term then used among musicians to describe one who was creative but not overly flashy. His drumming seemed part BJ Wilson from Procol Harum, part Bobby Colomby from Blood, Sweat & Tears, and part Ringo. He wed lots of straight 8th notes on the hi-hat with snappy tom fills. An attention to detail is apparent from his articulate press rolls on “Dirty Work” to the rags-style bossa groove he played on “Do It Again.”

“Bodhisaitva,” the first song on Countdown to Ecstasy, kicks off with snare drum/hi-hat blasts from Hodder. Along with the rest of the band, Hodder’s playing reflects a new looseness and confidence. Instead of striking a closed hi-hat with the tip, more of a swinging bash is employed, using the shank. He’s more aggressive, playing Richie Hayward-ish fusion on the sci-fi “King of The World”.

Like Idris Muhammad or Herbie Lovelle from the l960s Prestige-era jazz recordings, Hodder maintained a snakey, slinky touch. He was still playing rock, but with a jazzer’s approach. His drums were tuned a bit lower; and the cymbals seemed to ring more, matching the Indian flare of “Your Gold Teeth” or the country twang of “Pearl Of The Quarter.” However, by 1974 this was it for Hodder as far as Steely Dan was concerned. Though a strong drummer and timekeeper, he lacked the definitive personality that might have kept him on Becker and Fagen’s first-call list.

Nonetheless, Countdown is the album that set the course for Steely Dan. They continued to refine and redefine their music with each successive album, becoming more exacting and demanding with the performances and the overall sound, while writing more stunning compositions.

Hodder continued working as a session musician. He played drums on Linda Ronstadt’s 1974 single “You’re No Good”, and tracks on the 1976 albums Nine on a Ten Scale by Sammy Hagar and Sibling Rivalry by The Rowans. He later appeared as the sole drummer on David Soul’s Playing to an Audience of One and Rocky Sullivan’s 1984 Caught in the Crossfire record.

Jim Hodder drowned in his swimming pool on June 5, 1990. He was 42.

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Stiv Bators 6/1990

stiv-batorJune 4, 1990 – Stiv Bators was born Steven John Bator on October 22, 1949 in Youngstown , Ohio.

As the frontman for the Dead Boys, Stiv Bators terrorized audiences with his snotty, in-your-face punk rock style. But after the Dead Boys, Bators embarked on a musical journey that saw him touch upon new wave (the Wanderers), goth rock (the Lords of the New Church), and power pop (during a brief solo career), as well as a fling with movie acting. Born Steve Bator on October 22, 1949, in Youngstown, OH, Bators took a liking to garage rock and proto-punk early on — a story he liked to tell is that it was he who handed Iggy Pop the jar of peanut butter that he smeared across his chest and threw around while walking on the audience during the Stooges’ televised infamous 1970 rock festival in Ohio (additionally, Bators befriended the Ramones during the quartet’s first Ohio performance). As a result of his interest in the burgeoning punk movement, Bators hooked up with friend/guitarist Cheetah Chrome and others to form the short-lived local outfit Frankenstein. Sensing that there was little chance of launching a successful music career in Ohio, Bators convinced a handful of fellow local musicians (Chrome, guitarist Jimmy Zero, and drummer Johnny Blitz) to relocate to New York City in 1976, resulting in the formation of the Dead Boys.

The ploy worked, as the Dead Boys not only became an instant part of the CBGB’s punk scene, but they also enlisted the club’s owner, Hilly Kristal, as their manager, and signed a record deal with Sire. By specializing in a heavily Iggy Pop-influenced live show (which included Bators flailing himself around until he was battered and bloody, and faux-hanging himself on stage), the group built a buzz, which only intensified after the release of its 1977 debut, Young Loud & Snotty. Despite a promising start, the group would quickly disintegrate — issuing only one more album that failed to replicate the debut’s fire, 1978’s We Have Come for Your Children, before splitting up.

In the wake of the Dead Boys’ split, Bators decided to try shedding his wild man image by reinventing himself as a new waver, as he demoed power pop material and issued several singles via the Bomp! label (later collected on the 1994 L.A., L.A. compilation). In 1980 his full-length solo debut, Disconnected, was released; it saw Bators mix his new power pop direction with his punk roots. But rather than fully embark on a solo career, Bators opted to return back to a band, as he formed the Wanderers with ex-Sham 69 members Dave Parsons (guitar), Dave Tregunna (bass), and Rick Goldstein (drums). The group issued only one album, the schizoid concept album Only Lovers Left Alive, which forsake its members’ punk past in favor of a sterile production and ambitious futuristic storyline. With punk fans still scratching their heads as to the career path Bators had embarked on since his Dead Boys days, the singer decided to give acting at try, with a bit part in the hilarious 1981 John Waters-directed movie, Polyester.  Seven years later, Bators made a memorable cameo appearance as “Dick Slammer”, lead singer of “The Blender Children”, in the offbeat comedy, Tapeheads, starring John Cusack and Tim Robbins.

A union with ex-Damned guitarist Brian James followed soon after, resulting in the formation of the Lords of the New Church. And once more, the group didn’t sound like what you’d expect from a pair of punk veterans, as they specialized in goth rock (reminiscent of Bauhaus). The Lords became notorious for their live shows. A devotee of Iggy Pop, Bators had developed a fearless reputation in his Dead Boys days and continued such antics with The Lords, the most famous being the time he reportedly hanged himself during a show. Bator’s stunt went awry and he was pronounced clinically dead for several minutes. Unlike his other post-Dead Boys musical projects, the Lords lasted longer, as they issued a trio of albums during the early ’80s — 1982’s The Lords of the New Church, 1983’s Is Nothing Sacred?, and 1984’s The Method to Our Madness .

In December 1985 Bators flew to New York with his best friend Michael Monroe to work on Artists United Against Apartheid music video.

The late ’80s saw Bators briefly work with ex-Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe, appear in another movie, 1988’s Tapeheads, and the Sun City music video, plus sporadic reunion gigs with the Dead Boys. Having relocated to Paris, France, little was heard from Bators subsequently, although it became known in later years that he attempted to form a punk rock supergroup featuring ex-New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders and ex-Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone. But besides a few rehearsals, nothing ever came of the union.

On June 4, 1994 Bators was struck by a taxi in Paris during a bank holiday. He was taken to a hospital but reportedly left before seeing a doctor, after waiting several hours and assuming he was not injured. Reports indicate that he died in his sleep as the result of a concussion. Bators, a fan of rock legend Jim Morrison, had earlier requested that his ashes be spread over Morrison’s Paris grave at Pere Lachaise Cemetery and his girlfriend Caroline complied.

In the director’s commentary of the film Polyester, which starred Bators, the director and producer John Waters stated that Bators’ girlfriend Caroline confessed to him that she snorted a portion of Stiv’s ashes to be closer to him.

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Richard Sohl 6/1990

richard-sohlJune 3, 1990 – Richard Arthur Sohl  (Patti Smith Group) was born May 26th 1953 in Queens, New York City.  He grew up in a Seventh Day Adventist family that encouraged music. Still in his late teens he became a classical piano player in a world of New York Proto Punk, Punk rock and rock and ultimately became best known for his work as songwriter, pianist and arranger with the Patti Smith Group.

This is what guitarist Lenny Kaye said about Richard Sohl in an interview in 1996:

What about a piano player for the stage show. Do you see yourself eventually finding someone to replace Richard Sohl? 

“Well, as you know Richard Sohl passed into the great beyond, and he was always our perfect piano player.  So when the right person comes along… We don’t just want someone to put organ pads underneath the songs. We want someone who will help us move forward creatively, in the same way that Richard did. You know when it was just me, Richard and Patti, there was a real immediacy to the work we did. Richard was the right person.

Patti told us a funny story about the time you were auditioning piano players. When Richard Sohl first walked in, you said, “D.N.V” right away, because he looked liked the young boy, Tadzio, from Visconti’s Death in Venice. 

Yeah, he had that stupid sailor suit on, and he was just so like, “I’m beautiful, I know it, I’ll play some great piano.” “Okay, sure!” and then he’d go roomn, wramn, wramn.

Sohl also played with genre greats like Iggy Pop, Nina Hagen and Elliott Murphy. Richard Sohl well known as the keyboardist of the Patti Smith Ggroup was a soul of many creative and sensitive faces and facets of expression that occupied a space in the New York City Punk/Music scene. Richard Sohl in the Patti Snith Group has still to derive proper recognition from that association where Patti Smith has continiously derived profit and benefit from her association with others much like Andy Warhol those others have seemingly derived little benefit from her.

He died on June 3, 1990 of a heart attack while vacationing on Fire Island, New York.

More telling than anything of the little information I could find on Richard Sohl are the wonderful words from Elliot Murphy:

“But so much of the finesse came from Richard Sohl whose piano playing was so modest, so classically composed, so right. Richard didn’t like synthesizers and didn’t care to learn; preferred to travel light. I only heard of his sad passing months after he died; didn’t know who to call or write. We met in ’73 or ’74 at a party and spent many nights in the photo-booths of Times Square with friend Steven Meisel and Geraldine. Later, he found his place with Patti Smith and finally (again) with me; countless nights at Tramps and some memorable European tours – Montreuz Jazz Festival ’83, on the beach in Sete and an infernally hot Italian summer – from Milano to the boot… Oh, Richard, we miss you… And whenever I play LAST CALL, I think of you smiling at that terrible upright at Tramps, seemingly asleep at the keys while I braved it through my sob story.”

“People hear songs, music but to the musicians who write the songs, play the music; we hear time, places, faces, sometimes too much to bear as Richard Sohl’s stunning piano intro to THE STREETS OF NEW YORK brings it all back…where? Not home, anymore. But someplace else, even closer to the heart.
I didn’t know it for a few years later, but this album was my swan-song to New York City where I spent fifteen years searching for the soul of a city and finally gave up intent upon finding my own, at last.”

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Ric Grech 3/1990

rick grechMarch 17, 1990 – Ric Grech (Blind Faith) was born Richard Roman Grechko in Bordeaux, France’s famous wine area on November 1st 1946. He was educated at Corpus Christi RC School, Leicester, after attending Sacred Heart Primary School, where he played violin in the school orchestra.

He originally gained notice in the UK as the bass guitar player for the progressive rock group Family. He joined the band when it was a largely blues-based live act in Leicester known as the Farinas. He became their bassist in 1965, replacing Tim Kirchin. Family released their first single, “Scene Through The Eye of a Lens,” in September 1967 on the Liberty label in the UK, which got the band signed to Reprise Records. The group’s 1968 debut album Music in a Doll’s House was an underground hit that highlighted the songwriting talents of Roger Chapman and John “Charlie” Whitney as well as Chapman’s piercing voice, but Grech also stood out with his rhythmic, thundering bass work on songs such as “Old Songs New Songs” and “See Through Windows,” along with his adeptness on cello and violin.

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Andrew Wood 3/1990

March 1990, Seattle, Washington, USA --- Rock Band Mother Love Bone --- Image by © Karen Mason Blair/CORBIS

March 19, 1990 – Andrew Wood was born in Columbus, Mississippi on January 8th 1966. Raised on Bainbridge Island, Washington, he was the youngest of three children; brothers Kevin and Brian. Wood and his brothers were exposed to various music by their parents, who also supported their children when they were learning how to play instruments. Wood became a fan of acts such as Elton John, Queen, Aerosmith, and Kiss.

In 1980, at the age of 14, Wood formed Malfunkshun with his brother Kevin, recording their first demo tape in April 1980. Drummer Regan Hagar joined soon after with the band, playing shows in Seattle, Washington.[2] Each member adopted onstage alter egos, with Andrew becoming Landrew the Love Child, Kevin becoming Kevinstein, and Hagar becoming Thundarr. Unlike most grunge groups in Seattle, Malfunkshun were influenced by glam rock with Wood described as “a hippie, glammed-out rock & roll god, equal parts Marc Bolan and Jim Morrison,” with his look and vocal style influenced by frontmen such as Freddie Mercury, Paul Stanley, and Marc Bolan. By 1985, Wood had started to rely heavily on drugs to help with his “rock star” persona, and entered rehab the same year.

Malfunkshun recorded a number of demos in 1986, two of which, “With Yo’ Heart (Not Yo’ Hands)” and “Stars-n-You”, were included on the “legendary” Deep Six compilation album released by C/Z Records the same year. The band continued to play shows in Seattle, opening for Soundgarden, The U-Men, and Skin Yard. However, in 1988, Malfunkshun disbanded.

Although the band never released an album and were also turned down by Sub Pop for “not [being] grunge enough,”Malfunkshun, along with Green River, are often cited as “founding fathers” of the Seattle’s grunge movement.

Wood and Hagar began playing with Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Green River, which disbanded in 1988, performing, on occasion, as the cover band Lords of the Wasteland. Former Green River guitarist Bruce Fairweather was added to the lineup, while former 10 Minute Warning and Skin Yard drummer Greg Gilmore replaced Hagar, forming Mother Love Bone the same year.

The band soon signed a deal with PolyGram, and, through their own subsidiary label Stardog, issued a six-song EP, Shine, in 1989. John Book, of Allmusic, stated that the EP “contributed to the buzz about the Seattle music scene.” The band spent the rest of the year touring, including shows supporting The Dogs D’Amour, and recording their debut album. With high expectations of the album, Wood checked himself into rehab due to his struggle with heroin addiction, hoping to get clean for the release of album, staying there for the remainder of the year.

In 1990, the band continued to play shows in Seattle, waiting for the release of their album, Apple.
On March 16, 1990, Wood was found in a comatose state by his girlfriend, having overdosed on heroin. Wood was taken to Harborview Hospital and placed on life support. Despite being responsive, Wood had suffered a hemorrhage aneurysm, losing all brain function. On March 19 physicians suggested that Wood be removed from life support.

The album Apple was released posthumously later in the year, receiving positive reviews. David Browne of The New York Times wrote that “Apple may be one of the first great hard-rock records of the 90s” and that “Wood could have been the first of the big-league Seattle rock stars.”

In the year following his death, Wood’s former roommate Chris Cornell of Soundgarden wrote two songs, “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven”, in tribute to his late friend. Cornell then approached Gossard and Ament about releasing the songs as singles before collaborating on an album. Adding drummer Matt Cameron, future Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready, and future Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, they formed Temple of the Dog in 1990 to pay tribute to Wood, releasing one self-titled album in 1991.

Fellow Seattle band Alice in Chains dedicated their debut album Facelift to Wood. The song “Would?”, included in their second album Dirt, was written about Wood and other singers who had died as a result of drugs. In the liner notes of Alice in Chains’ Music Bank box set collection, Jerry Cantrell said of the song:
“I was thinking a lot about Andrew Wood at the time. We always had a great time when we did hang out, much like Chris Cornell and I do. There was never really a serious moment or conversation, it was all fun. Andy was a hilarious guy, full of life and it was really sad to lose him. But I always hate people who judge the decisions others make. So it was also directed towards people who pass judgments.”    

In 1992, PolyGram reissued both Shine and Apple as the compilation album Mother Love Bone, while the song “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” was included on the soundtrack to the film Singles. The same year, Los Angeles band Faster Pussycat wrote the song “Mr. Lovedog”, from the album Whipped!, in tribute to Wood. Bradley Torreano of Allmusic stated that the song “offered a sad elegy to another charismatic figure in the metal world.”

Seattle rockers War Babies, which briefly featured Mother Love Bone’s Jeff Ament on bass, dedicated the song “Blue Tomorrow” off their eponymous 1992 debut album to Wood.

In 1993, Seattle post-grunge band Candlebox released their self-titled debut featuring the single “Far Behind,” which was written in memory of Wood.

Wood’s former band mate Stone Gossard compiled Malfunkshun recordings From 1986-87 and released the studio album Return to Olympus through his Loosegroove Records label in 1995.

In 2005, director Scot Barbour completed production on the documentary Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story. The film documents Wood’s music career as well as his family background. The film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival. In October of the same year, the film was screened at the FAIF Film Festival in Hollywood, California. The film was released in 2011 on DVD as part of a 2CD+DVD set entitled “Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story” including the Return to Olympus album, a bonus CD including many interviews and demos, and the movie on the DVD disc.

He died of a heroin overdose coupled with a cerebral hemorrhage on  March 19, 1990 at age 24.

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Del Shannon 2/1990

Del ShannonFebruary 8, 1990 – Del Shannon was born born Charles Weedon Westover on December 30, 1934 in Grand Rapids Michigan and grew up in nearby Coopersville. He learned ukulele and guitar and listened to country and western music, including Hank Williams, Hank Snow, and Lefty Frizzell. He was drafted into the Army in 1954, and while in Germany played guitar in a band called “The Cool Flames”.

When his military service ended, he returned to Battle Creek, Michigan, and worked as a carpet salesman and as a truck driver in a furniture factory. He found part-time work as a rhythm guitarist in singer Doug DeMott’s group called “The Moonlight Ramblers”, working at the Hi-Lo Club.

In 1958, he took over a band as leader and singer, with the name Charlie Johnson, and renaming his band the Big Little Show Band. In early 1959 he added keyboardist Max Crook, who played the Musitron (his own invention of an early synthesizer). Crook had made recordings, and he persuaded Ann Arbor disc jockey Ollie McLaughlin to hear the band. McLaughlin took the group’s demos to Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik of Talent Artists in Detroit. In July 1960, Westover and Crook signed to become recording artists and composers on the Bigtop label. Balk suggested Westover use a new name, and they came up with “Del Shannon”, combining Mark Shannon—a wrestling pseudonym used by a regular at the Hi-Lo Club—with Del, derived from the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, his favorite car.

He flew to New York City, but his first sessions were not successful. McLaughlin then persuaded Shannon and Crook to rewrite and re-record one of their earlier songs, originally called “Little Runaway”, using the Musitron as lead instrument.On January 21st 1961 Del Shannon recorded “Runaway”, which reached No.1 in the Billboard chart in April and made its way around the globe.

This hit was followed with “Hats Off to Larry”, which peaked at No.5 on the Billboard and No.1 on Cashbox in 1961. Other hits included “So Long, Baby,” and “Little Town Flirt”. He continued his success in England, where he had always been more popular. In 1963, he became the first American to record a cover version of a Beatles song, “From Me to You” which charted in the US before the Beatles. After these hits, Shannon was unable to keep his momentum in the U.S., but continued his success in England, where he had always been more popular.

In late 1964, Shannon produced a demo recording session for a young fellow Michigander named Bob Seger, who would go on to stardom much later. Shannon gave acetates of the session to Dick Clark (Del was on one of Clark’s tours in 1965), and by 1966, Bob Seger was recording for Philadelphia’s famed Cameo Records label, resulting in some regional hits which would eventually lead to a major-label deal with Capitol Records. 

Shannon signed with Liberty in 1966 and revived Toni Fisher’s “The Big Hurt” and the Rolling Stones‘ “Under My Thumb”. Peter and Gordon released his “I Go to Pieces” in 1965.

Shannon also discovered country singer Johnny Carver, who was then working in the Los Angeles area. He got Carver a contract with Liberty Records’ subsidiary Imperial Records, writing, producing and arranging both sides of Carver’s debut single “One Way or the Other”/”Think About Her All the Time”. Carver went on to have nearly 20 Country-chart hits during the late 1960s and 1970s. The liner notes to his debut Imperial album acknowledge Shannon’s role in his being brought to the label.

In the late 1960s, not having charted for several years, Shannon turned to production. In 1969, he discovered Smith and arranged their hit “Baby, It’s You”, which had been a hit for the Shirelles in 1963. In 1970, he produced Brian Hyland’s million-seller “Gypsy Woman”, a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s hit.

During Shannon’s Liberty Records tenure, success on a national scale eluded him, but he did score several “regional” US chart hits with “The Big Hurt”, “Under My Thumb”, “She”, “Led Along” and “Runaway” (1967 version). That version (recorded in England and produced by Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham) also did well on Canadian and Australian pop charts. In early 1967 Shannon recorded the album Home and Away in England, with Oldham at the helm. Intended by Oldham as the British answer to Pet SoundsHome and Away was shelved by Liberty Records, although a handful of singles were issued. It was not until 1978 that all of the tracks were eventually issued (with three non-related tracks) on a British album titled And The Music Plays On. In 1991, all of the tracks were released in the US as part of the Del Shannon–The Liberty Years CD. In 2006, 39 years after it was recorded, Home and Away was finally released as a stand-alone collection by EMI Records in the UK. This CD collected the 11 original tracks in stereo and the five single releases (US, UK and Philippines) in their original monaural mixes.

In September 1967, Shannon began laying down the tracks for The Further Adventures of Charles Westover, which would be highly regarded by fans and critics alike, despite disappointing sales. The album yielded two 1968 singles, “Thinkin’ It Over” and “Gemini”. In October 1968, Liberty Records released their tenth (in the US) and final Del Shannon single, a cover of Dee Clark’s 1961 hit “Raindrops”. This brought to a close a commercially disappointing period in Shannon’s career. In 1972, he signed with United Artists and recorded Live In England, released in June 1973. Reviewer Chris Martin critiqued the album favourably, saying that Shannon never improvised, was always true to the original sounds of his music and that only Lou Christie rivaled his falsetto. In April 1975, he signed with Island Records.

After he and his manager jointly sought back royalties for Shannon, Bug Music was founded in 1975 to administer his songs.

A 1976 article on Shannon’s concert at the Roxy Theatre described the singer as “personal, pure and simple rock ‘n’ roll, dated but gratifyingly undiluted.” Shannon sang some of his new rock songs along with classics like “Endless Sleep” and “The Big Hurt”. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Shannon’s haunting vignettes of heartbreak and restlessness contain something of a cosmic undercurrent which has the protagonist tragically doomed to a bleak, shadowy struggle.”

In 1978 Shannon stopped drinking and began work on “Sea of Love”, released in the early 1980s on his album Drop Down and Get Me, produced by Tom Petty. The album took two years to record and featured Petty’s Heartbreakers backing Shannon. However, RSO Records, to which Shannon was signed, folded. Further work on the LP was done for the Network Records label (which was distributed by Elektra Records). Seven songs are Shannon originals with covers of the Everly Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Frankie Ford and “Sea of Love” by Phil Phillips. It was Shannon’s first album in eight years.

In February 1982, Shannon appeared at the Bottom Line. He performed pop-rock tunes and old hits. New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden described an “easygoing pop-country” manner. On “Runaway” and “Keep Searchin'”, Shannon and his band rediscovered the sound “in which his keen falsetto played off against airy organ obbligatos.” In the 1980s, Shannon performed “competent but mundane country-rock”. In 1986 he enjoyed a top-ten hit as a songwriter when pop-country singer Juice Newton released a single of her cover of Shannon’s “Cheap Love”, which reached #9 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.

Shannon enjoyed a resurgence after re-recording “Runaway” with new lyrics as the theme for the NBC-TV television program Crime Story. In 1988, Shannon sang “The World We Know” with the Smithereens on their album Green Thoughts. Two years later, he recorded with Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, and there were rumors he would join the Traveling Wilburys after Roy Orbison’s death. Previously, in 1975, Shannon had recorded tracks with Lynne, along with “In My Arms Again”, a self-penned country song recorded for Warner Brothers, which had signed Shannon in 1984.

In 1988, Del sang on “The World We Know” with The Smithereens on their album Green Thoughts. Shortly after, in 1990, he recorded with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra and there were rumors he would join The Traveling Wilburys after Roy Orbison’s death. Previously, in 1975, he had recorded tracks with Lynne, along with In My Arms Again, a self-penned country song.

Suffering from depression, he was working on a comeback album with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra, when Shannon fatally shot himself in the head with a .22 calibre rifle. His wife thought his death might have been related to his recent use of the prescription drug, Prozac. He died  February 8, 1990 at age 55.

Following his death, the Traveling Wilburys honored him by recording a version of “Runaway”. Lynne also co-produced Shannon’s posthumous album, Rock On, released on Silvertone in 1991.

Shannon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.