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Simon Holmes 7/2017

July 13, 2017 – Simon Holmes (The Hummingbirds) was born on March 28, 1963 in the southern beachside suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The family lived in Bentleigh, before shifting to Turramurra in 1967, before going overseas for three years, in upstate New York, where Holmes started school at Myers Corner. The family then moved to Geneva, Switzerland. He spent part of his childhood in Canberra, attending the AME School: an alternative education institution and then Hawker College. Holmes moved to Sydney in the early 1980s. He started studying anthropology and archaeology at the University of Sydney, but left after two years. Continue reading Simon Holmes 7/2017

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Noel Neal 6/2017

June 19, 2017 – Noel Neal (James Cotton Band) was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1963. The Neal family from Baton Rouge is known nationwide as a blues family with numerous performers, Kenny probably being the most famous one.

Neal journeyed to Chicago early on where he played with James Cotton for over 30 years, touring and recording for the late Chicago blues star and harmonica virtuoso  James Cotton, who also recently passed on March 16 of this year. He also recorded with his late father, Raful Neal, and his brother, Kenny Neal. Continue reading Noel Neal 6/2017

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Laurie McAllister 8/2011

laurie mcallister, bass with the runawaysAugust 25, 2011 – Laurie McAllister was born Laurie Hoyt on June 26, 1957 in Eugene Oregon.

Laurie McAllistar was a bassist who is perhaps best remembered for being the last one to play in the influential 1970s all-girl rock band, the Runaways. McAllister landed in Hollywood in her early twenties where she played in such local punk outfits as the Rave Ons and Baby Roulette. In November 1978, McAllister was asked to join the Runaways (replacing Vickie Blue for health reasons as it was reported), whose line-up at the time was Joan Jett, Cherie Curie, and Sandy West. Laurie was referred to the band by her neighbor, Duane Hitchings, who played keyboards on And Now… The Runaways. Continue reading Laurie McAllister 8/2011

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Teena Marie 12/2010

teena marieDec 26, 2010 – Teena Marie was born Mary Christine Brockert on March 5, 1956 in Santa Monica, CA. She was of Belgian, Portuguese, Irish, Italian, and Native American ancestry.

She took to singing naturally, performing Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat Song by age two. She also developed a fondness for singing Motown songs, and her self-professed “gift from God” would become fine-tuned as the years progressed.

When she was eight years old, her parents began sending Tina on auditions which, among other things, netted her an acting role on The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. She also sang at the wedding of Jerry Lewis’ son when she was 10 years old. Reared in a Roman Catholic household, she learned to play the piano under the tutelage of two nuns, and later taught herself the guitar, bass, and congas. She would go on to form a semi-professional R&B band with her younger brother Anthony and their cousin.

In the early 1970s, after the family moved to Venice, Los Angeles, Brockert spent her adolescent years in the historically black Venice enclave of Oakwood, nicknamed “Venice Harlem”. There, she would acquire a strong spiritual influence from neighborhood matriarch Berthalynn Jackson, an African American who would become her godmother.

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Johnny Jackson 3/2006

Johnny JacksonMarch 1, 2006 – Johnny Jackson was born March 3, 1951 in Gary, Indiana was noted for being the drummer for The Jackson 5 from their early Gary, Indiana days in 1967 when he replaced original drummer Milford Hite, until the end of their famed career at Motown in 1975.

The label presented Johnny as the cousin of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, but contrary to popular belief, Johnny Jackson was not related to the Jackson family of entertainers.

Jackson grew up a few blocks from the Jackson family and had made a name for himself as a drumming prodigy before he started high school, said Gordon Keith, who has sued Jackson family members over the rights to their early recordings made for his Steeltown Records.

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Luther Vandross 7/2005

luther_vandrossJuly 1, 2005 – Luther Vandross was born on April 20th 1951 in Manhattan, New York to Luther and Mary Ida Vandross. He was the youngest of the four Vandross children.

He attended Taft High School but cut short his formal education at the Western Michigan University to answer his musical calling. He was studying Engineering. After leaving college, Luther worked a series of odd jobs, including a Teacher’s aide at a Junior High School and a customer service rep at S&H Green Stamps.

As a teenager, he worked with the musical theatre workshop, Listen My Brother. The workshop was affiliated with Harlem’s Apollo Theatre.

It was at this workshop he met lifetime friends and colleagues Nat Adderly Jr (who later became his band director), Carlos Alomar, and Robin Clark. Listen My Brother” performed on the very first episode of Sesame Street aired in November 1969.

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Robert Palmer 9/2003

robert palmerSeptember 6, 2003 – Robert Palmer (Power Station) was born 19 January 1949 in Batley, Yorkshire, England. He was known for his distinctive voice and the eclectic mix of musical styles on his albums, combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae and blues.

He found success both in his solo career and in the supergroup Power Station, and had Top 10 songs in both the US and the UK. His iconic music videos for the hits “Simply Irresistible” and “Addicted to Love“, featured identically dressed dancing women with pale faces, dark eye makeup and bright red lipstick. Sharp-suited, his involvement in the music industry commenced in the 1960s, covered five decades and included a spell with Vinegar Joe. Among other awards he was a two time Grammy Award winner with “Addicted To Love” and for “Simply Irresistible”.

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Mick Tucker 2/2002

mick tuckerFebruary 14, 2002  – Mick Tucker (the Sweet) was born in Harlseden, Northwest London on July 17th 1947.

As a boy, his first interest was drawing art. By fourteen he had changed to drums, influenced by Sandy Nelson, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa. Tucker’s father bought him a drum kit but only if he take’s drumming seriously. Hubert Tucker encouraged his son even getting him his first gig, sitting in for Brian Bennett of legendary British beat group the Shadows at a local workingman’s club. “He did well”. say’s Tucker’s wife, Janet, “If he had known who he was replacing, he would have been so scared!”

In 1965, Mick and vocalist Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) formed a soul band Wainwright’s Gentlemen and embarked on a career in pop music, playing around pubs and clubs. Vocalist Brian Connolly replaced Gillan when he moved on to DeepPurple fame, while Wainwright’s Gentlemen kept playing a mixture of R&B, Motown, and early psychedelic sounds. The band split in 1968.

He then became a founding member of the band “Sweetshop” in January 1968 along with Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, and Frank Torpey, who was later replaced by Mick Stewart who was himself succeeded by Andy Scott. The name “Sweetshop” was a reflection of a sugary trend in Rock and Roll with bandnames like Marmalade, Strawberry Jam, Clockwork Orange, Tangerine Peel etc. and  was shortened to “The Sweet” in 1968 as a name that instigates all of the sweetness of flower power.

Sweet became one of the main glam rock acts in the 1970s. During the early years of 1971 and 1972, Sweet’s musical style followed a marked progression from the bubblegum style of the first hit, “Funny Funny”, to a Who influenced heavy rock style supplemented by a striking use of high-pitched backing vocals. The band achieved notable success in the UK charts, with thirteen Top 20 hits during the 1970s alone, with “Block Buster” in 1973 topping the chart, followed by three consecutive number two hits in “Hell Raiser” and “The Ballroom Blitz” both in 1973 and “Teenage Rampage” in 1974. Their first self-written and produced single “Fox on the Run” in 1975 also reached number two on the UK charts.

Sweet extensively toured the US and had a strong following in America. On an objective view Mick Tucker was a very talented drummer with a range of complex rhythms who could have helped any band considerably. Steve Priest said of Tucker “He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England,”. ″He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvelous. His timing was impeccable, and yet he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing.” Tucker was able to improvise tirelessly and played a seemingly never-ending flow of creative solos. Tucker began and ended his drum solos with his rendition of Elmer Bernstein’s theme from the 1955 film The Man With the Golden Arm.

Tucker also used two projection screens that was above his drum riser. One screen played a videos of him playing the drums, simultaneously the other video showed him playing timpani. He would trade off solos with these videos, then came out front and play the timbales along with a fast Christmas-style recording. Just before the band would come back, he would play the Bernstein melody on tubular bells and timpani. Tucker tried to make sure his solos appealed to all of the audience. Tucker understood that a great performance consisting of great played technique and presentation in equal doses.

His style reminded of an early Keith Moon. Mick was one of the few double bass drummers that didn’t let the second bass drum get in the way of a swinging tune like ‘Ballroom Blitz.’ He had a great feel on double bass, played them effortlessly.

“And those guys knew how to have fun,” Cheap Trick drummer Bun Carlos once said. “We’d call them back on stage during our encores and jam on ‘Let It Rock.’ Mick would play my kit with the 26″ bass drum and just rock out with us. I’d hop up on the riser with him, playing guitar and watching him play. We had some great times together.”

Other drummers who where influenced by Tucker fans are J and Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Dream Evil, Mercyful Fate, IllWill, Notre Dame and Memento Mori).

Jack Irons of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Wallflowers stated of Tucker, “Mick was a great drummer.” “He had that fluid, ’60s/’70s rock ‘n’ roll freedom. His drumming was super-tight and musical, technical, and rocking.”

Snowy Shaw, said of Tucker, “Mick’s tastefulness, precision, and strong signature put him at the very top of the list of drumming heroes I had when I was trying to master the profession,” he says. Technically, he was right up there with Ian Paice and John Bonham. Like a kid in a candy store, I devoured his selection of trademark tricks and licks, which he delivered so musically, and with conviction and grace like no one else. It may have been Peter Criss who first got me into drums, but it was Mick Tucker whose drumming most influenced me and who taught me how to play music.”

In 1997 Tucker had a bone marrow transplant from his brother to combat his leukemia. He had recurring infections however, before succumbing to the illness at the hospital in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Southeast England. He was 54 years old when he died on 14 February 2002.

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Herman Brood 7/2001

July 11, 2001 – Herman Brood was born on November 5th 1946 in Zwolle, the Netherlands. In the early years, his influences included Fats Domino and Little Richard. He always liked to paint and play piano.

He started playing the piano at age 12 and founded beat band The Moans in 1964, which would later become Long Tall Ernie and the Shakers. He also briefly played piano with Dutch premier blues band Cuby and the Blizzards, but was removed by management when the record company discovered he used drugs.

For a number of years in the late 1960, early 1970s Herman spent time in jail for dealing LSD, or moved abroad, while he had a number of short-term engagements with The Studs, the Flash & Dance Band, Vitesse.

In 1976, Brood started his own group, Herman Brood & His Wild Romance, (and started work with photographer Anton Corbijn) initially with Ferdi Karmelk on guitar, (Nina Hagen’s romantic partner and father of her daughter), Gerrit Veen (bass), Peter Walrecht (drums), and Ellen Piebes and Ria Ruiters (back vocals). They played the club and bar circuit, first in Groningen, In 1977 the band released their first album, Street.

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Oliver 2/2000

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February 12, 2000 – William Oliver Swofford was born on February 22, 1945 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He began singing as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the mid 1960s. He was a member of two popular music groups — The Virginians and, later, The Good Earth — and was then known as Bill Swofford.

His clean-cut good looks and soaring tenor voice were the perfect vehicle for the uptempo single entitled “Good Morning Starshine” from the pop/rock musical Hair, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1969, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. a month later. Later that fall, a softer, ballad single entitled “Jean” (the theme from the Oscar-winning film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) bested his previous effort by one, reaching No. 2 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart. Written by poet Rod McKuen, “Jean” also sold over one million copies, garnering Oliver his second gold disc in as many months. Performing both hits on a number of TV variety shows and specials in the late 1960s, including The Ed Sullivan Show, helped both songs.

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