Man, what a way to round out a year and ring in a new one, with the loss of so many talented artists. Jeez. I won’t even attempt comprehensive bios for these people; if you know them, you already know what a sad thing it is; each of them (even Don & Gerry) leaving the stage before their time. If you don’t know them, get on Google and find out, and seek out the music – because each of these artists laid down some impressive work. From the avant-garde to classic-rock radio, in no particular order, let’s raise our glasses to the following cool cats…
Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson – musician/sound maker/designer/video director, best known as one quarter of industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle, the infamous ‘wreckers of civilisation’; then going on to play with Psychic TV; then going on to form Coil; and who was also a member of Hipgnosis, the legendary design group responsible for the iconic album covers for many 70s bands (most notably prog kings Pink Floyd); if that wasn’t enough, he also directed countless videos for a wide variety of artists from Nine Inch Nails to Hanson.
Passed away on 25th November 2010, aged 55.
Mick Karn – multi-instrumentalist/songwriter, primarily known as the bass player of influential New Wave/Post-Punk/Synth-pop band Japan (their 1979 album Quiet Life, is one of my favourite albums), but he would also go on to release solo albums, form other groups, and guest star his signature fretless sound on a number of recordings (dig his playing on Kate Bush’s The Sensual World).
Passed away on 4th January 2011, aged 52.
Steve Prestwich – drummer/songwriter with ‘Oz Rock’ legends Cold Chisel, and responsible for their hits “When the War is Over” and “Forever Now” (and co-writing “Flame Trees” with Don Walker). A creative rock-solid drummer who brought a class and nuance to a uniquely Australian band that could effortlessly rock-your-socks-off and tug-the-heart-strings in equal measure.
Passed away on 16th January 2011, aged 56.
Trish Keenan – singer/songwriter with Broadcast, who came to the attention of Warp Records in the mid-90s, releasing three epic albums and a swag of EPs, winning over a devoted fan base with their sensual brew of lo-fi electronica, 60s psychedelia and rhythmic sound experimentalism, all of it laced with Keenan’s dreamy vocal melodies.
Passed away on 14th January 2011, aged 42.
Don Van Vliet – singer/songwriter/poet/visual artist, aka Captain Beefheart, the man behind the fabled growl that would inspire a legion of experimental punk rockers and intrepid free-jazz explorers with his seminal wild & woolly recordings with The Magic Band. A genre unto himself. One of the giants.
Passed away on December 17th 2010, aged 69.
Gerry Rafferty – who doesn’t dig the sax and guitar solo in “Baker Street”?…classic stuff. And if you’re my age, you might remember your Dad playing it constantly in the car back in the late 70s. That stuff gets in your blood.
Passed away on January 4th 2011, aged 63.
by Decoy Spoon