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Frank Zappa 12/1993

Frank ZappaDecember 4, 1993 – Frank Vincent Zappa was born on December 21, 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland with an Italian, Sicilian, Greek and Arab ancestry. With his dad employed as chemist/mathematician in the Defense industry, the family often moved to the extent that he attended at least 6 high schools. He began to play drums at the age of 12, and was playing in R&B groups by high school,

Zappa grew up influenced by avant-garde composers such as Varèse, Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern, as well as R&B and doo-wop groups (particularly local pachuco groups), and modern jazz. His own heterogeneous ethnic background and the diverse social and cultural mix in and around greater Los Angeles in the sixties, were crucial in the forming of Zappa as a practitioner of underground music and of his later distrustful and openly critical attitude towards “mainstream” social, political, religious and musical movements. He frequently lampooned musical fads like psychedelia, rock opera and disco. Television also exerted a strong influence, as demonstrated by quotations from show themes and advertising jingles found in his later works. Continue reading Frank Zappa 12/1993

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Albert Collins 11/1993

Albert CollinsNov 24, 1993 – Albert Collins was born on October 1, 1932  in Leona Texas. The blues guitar came to him through his cousin Lightnin’ Hopkins, who lived in the same town and often played on family gatherings. Although initially a student of piano, he became the bluesmaster who played an altered tuning. Collins tuned his guitar to an open F minor chord (FCFAbCF), and then added a capo at the 5th, 6th or 7th fret. At the age of twelve, he made the decision to concentrate on learning the guitar after hearing “Boogie Chillen'” by John Lee Hooker.

In the early days Collins worked as a paint mixer and truck driver to make ends meet. In 1971, when he was 39 years old, Collins worked in construction, since he couldn’t make a proper living from his music. One of the construction jobs he worked on was a remodeling job for Neil Diamond. This type of work carried on right up until the late 1970s. It was his wife Gwen that talked him into returning to music. Continue reading Albert Collins 11/1993

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Criss Oliva 10/1993

criss_olivaOctober 17, 1993 – Christopher “Criss” Michael Oliva was lead guitarist and co-founder of the heavy metal band Savatage, born in Pompton Plains, NJ on April 3rd 1963. In 1976 the Oliva family moved to Dunedin, Florida and it was here that Criss and his brother Jon formed a band Avatar, in 1978.

But in 1983 as success was looming on the horizon, they had to change their name and decided on Savatage. Under that name they released their first two albums, Sirens in 1983 and The Dungeons Are Calling in 1985. Savatage continued to flourish, releasing a further 6 albums after signing with Atlantic Records in 1985.

The band toured relentlessly, with Criss winning critical acclaim, his biggest dream was for Savatage’s 1991 album Streets: A Rock Opera to achieve platinum status. Streets was Savatage’s biggest mainstream success, and Criss enjoyed the exposure the record gave the band, allowing new fans to be found for their music.

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Randy Jo
Hobbs
8/1993

August 4, 1993 – Randy Jo Hobbs was born on March 22nd 1948 in Winchester, Indiana.

Already fronting his own band the Coachmen at age 17, he soon joined brothers Rick (later known as Rick Derringer and Randy Zehringer, a Union City Indiana garage band called The McCoys (originally Rick and the Raiders) from 1965 to 1969 during which time their hit “Hang On Sloopy” became a global hit. The song sold some 6 million copies and was the McCoys entry in the big league, opening up for giant acts of the era like the Rolling Stones. When the song’s popularity ran out of steam, they became the house band for a popular New York hotspot called Steve Paul’s The Scene where they were introduced to Texas guitar God in the making Johnny Winter.  Lacking more hits the band soon turned into backing guitar phenomenon Johnny Winter in the seventies.

As a band the McCoys called it quits in 1973 and Hobbs stayed a while longer with Johnny Winter but later played in brother Edgar Winter’s White Trash from until around 1976. White Trash was comprised of Southern musicians, one of which was another guitar giant, Ronnie Montrose. This led to Randy playing with a later version of Montrose,  on the ‘Jump on It’ album, released in 1976.

Earlier Randy had played bass with Jimi Hendrix on some 1968 live sessions which were later released unofficially as Woke Up This Morning and Found Myself Dead in 1980 and New York Sessions in 1998, and officially as Bleeding Heart in 1994. At this time he unfortunately developed a huge heroin dependency that ultimately would cause his demise in 1993

In 1978 he also played bass on Rick Derringer’s album with Dick Glass, “Glass Derringer”.

Drug abuse took a toll on Randy Hobbs, and ultimately consumed his career as a musician.  A front man can stumble out onto the stage and sleepwalk through the set, but an out-of-control side player is done for.  Randy Hobbs was fired from Johnny Winter’s band and returned to Randolph County where he lived out his life.

Randy Jo Hobbs was found dead in a Dayton hotel room on August 5, 1993 – Rick Derringer’s birthday. The cause was heart failure. He was 45.

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Richard
Tee
7/1993

July 21, 1993 – Richard Tee was born Richard Ten Ryk on November 24th 1943 in Brooklyn, New York, where he spent most of his life and lived with his mother in a brownstone apartment building.

Tee graduated from The High School of Music & Art in New York City and attended the Manhattan School of Music. Though better known as a studio and session musician, Tee led a jazz ensemble, the Richard Tee Committee, and was a founding member of the band Stuff. In 1981 he played the piano and Fender Rhodes for Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert In Central Park.

Tee played with a diverse range of artists during his career, such as Paul Simon, Carly Simon, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Peter Allen, George Harrison, Diana Ross, Duane Allman, Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, Art Garfunkel, Nina Simone, Juice Newton, Billy Joel, Etta James, Grover Washington, Jr., Eric Clapton, Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, David Ruffin, Lou Rawls, Ron Carter, Peter Gabriel, George Benson, Joe Cocker, Chuck Mangione, Tim Finn, Peabo Bryson, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Phoebe Snow, Doc Severinson, Leo Sayer, Herbie Mann and countless others. He also contributed to numerous gold and platinum albums during his long career and joined the band Stuff led by bassist Gordon Edwards. Other members of the band included guitarist Cornell Dupree, drummer Chris Parker and later adding guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Steve Gadd to the line up.

After a 16-year relationship with Eleana Steinberg Tee of Greenwich, Connecticut, the couple was married in Woodstock, New York, by New York State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Wright. The couple moved to the Chelsea Hotel in 1988, and later to Cold Spring, New York.

Tee died of prostate cancer on July 21, 1993 in Cold Spring, New York at the age of 49. He is buried in the Artist Cemetery in Woodstock, New York.

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Mia Zapata 7/1993

July 6, 1993 – Mia Zapata (The Gits) entered this world August 25, 1965 in Louisville, Kentucky, where she also was raised. As the story goes, Mia’s father was distantly related to Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican revolution.

She grew up a smart and sensitive kid with a natural connection to music and performing. Influenced by rock as well as jazz, blues and R&B singers such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Hank Williams and Sam Cooke, Mia learned how to play the guitar and the piano by age nine.

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Mick Ronson 4/1993

Mick_Ronson_&_Ian_HunterApril 29, 1993 – Mick Ronson was born May 26, 1946 in  in Kingston upon Hull, England. As a child he was trained classically to play piano, recorder, violin, and (later) the harmonium. He initially wanted to be a cellist, but moved to guitar upon discovering the music of Duane Eddy, whose sound on the bass notes of his guitar sounded to Ronson similar to that of the cello.

He moved to London in 1965, after having outplayed the local bands.

After several attempts through the ’60s of making it in London, he got his break in early 1970, when he joined David Bowie’s new backing band called The Hype. The Hype played their first gig at The Roundhouse on 22 February 1970.

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