As 2014 is just about at an end, we take a moment at Geeks Of Doom to remember the fallen musicians who left us this year. A large array of heavyweights, cult heroes, pioneering figures, and sentimental favorites are among those who have left us in a physical sense, but the memories that they made in the past and the ones that each of their fans have in regards to them will never leave.
A list of some of our (and probably yours as well) fallen heroes is below.
Tommy Ramone was one of the founding members of the legendary early punk quartet The Ramones, taking care of the backbeat. The drummer also had a hand in production and songwriting, co-penning some of their most well known classics, like “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Ramone was the last surviving member of the original group when died on July 11th, at the age of 62.
Jack Bruce was a pioneer in terms of the electric bass, and with Cream, one of the first power trios (with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker), who churned out now-classic tunes “White Room,” “Sunshine Of Your Love,” and “Strange Brew.” The front man was at the apex of the creation of the white man’s English electrified blues genre that was the norm during the late 1960s. Bruce also was an eclectic, literal jack-of-all-trades musician who played in various lineups and created solo projects, all which stretched his wide-eyed vision. Bruce passed away on October 25th at the age of 71.
The low-fi soundwise, yet hi-fi in terms of sheer, raw power drumming of Scott Asheton was a key component in the ominous and intense tightly wound embryonic punk sounds that Iggy Pop-fronted group The Stooges were musically manifesting, winding up influencing scores of musical generations, as strong as ever to this day. Asheton played with a simple, yet brass-knuckled ferocity that was light years away from the things that people like Keith Moon or John Bonham were doing at the time, but yet, in its own way, remains equally as powerful. Asheton, who played on punk staples like “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” 1969,” and “Search and Destroy,” was 64 years old when he died on March 15th.
Where English bands like Cream and The Yardbirds were electrifying the blues sounds musically, gruff-voiced singer Joe Cocker was doing the same thing at the same time, but doing it vocally. Cocker, with his almost-spastic Jerry Lewis-style physical traits on stage, coupled with a voice that at once boomed like a bullhorn and had a low register like a rusty freight train going through a desert during a pitch black night, dazzled audiences for around 50 years with hits that ranged from high octane covers (The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends”), to Top 40 duets (“Up Where We Belong”) to the most tenderest ballads (“You Are So Beautiful”) delivered in a style that only Joe Cocker could deliver. Cocker died on December 22nd from lung cancer.
Wayne Static, the frontman for the band Static X, which was a major player in the industrial/nu metal genre and broke up in 2013 after much success about 15 years prior, passed away at the age of 48 on November 1st. Static was instantly recognized by his unorthodox hairstyle, but he was much more than just to be taken at face value for shock value. Static X remains a benchmark ensemble for stalwarts and zealots of the genre and in the wake of Static’s passing, should now pass into legend within that genre.
Bob Casale (aka “Bob2″) was the guitarist and keyboardist for Devo, which was one of the more successful new wave bands, on the strength of their super hit to the highest degree “Whip It.” Devo were more than hits, however, and remained a cult band to many loyal followers in the wake of “Whip It.” Casale, with his flower-potted head gear and black T-shirt, was with the band during their most successful years and also joined the group for a reunion in the mid 1990s. Casale died from heart failure on February 17th at the age of 61.
Dick Wagner cut his musical teeth playing guitar with luminaries like Lou Reed, KISS, and Alice Cooper, and in doing so, wound up becoming a luminary himself on his respective instrument. The guitarist can be heard on albums like Alice Coopers Welcome to My Nightmare. Wagner died on July 30th from respiratory failure at the age of 71.
As front man Oderus Urungus for GWAR, the shock rock metal band which was cloaked and shrouded in mystery as members wore outlandish Vikings meet mythological meet Salvador Dali surrealism costumes, Dave Brockie used that to his and the band’s best advantage musically and visually. GWAR, which started around the late 1980s, produced scores of records which, when all the crazy visual pomp and circumstance are taken away, are actually kick ass metal records. Brockie, who was a founding member of the group, was with GWAR until his death at 50 on March 23th.
Jimi Jamison was almost the quintessential archetype for a classic 1980s pop metal front man. Joining the group Survivor just after the band reached number one success with “Eye of the Tiger,” Jamison wound up singing on many of the bands hits (“I Can’t Hold Back,” “Is this Love?,” “Burning Heart,” “The Search Is Over”) as the band was able to sustain its success post-“Eye of the Tiger.” Jamison died of a heart attack on August 30th, at the age of 61.
The Everly Brothers amassed hit after hit in the 1950s, which was a nice counterpart and bookend to the more shrieking rock and roll that was going on via people like Elvis and Little Richard. Phil, with his brother Don, sometimes publicly had the kind of sibling rivalry which strained their relationship professionally and personally, but the duo still managed to create some of the best known songs of their era: “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Suzie,” “Birddog,” and the memorable ballad, “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” Everly died on January 3rd of lung disease. He was 74.
One of the great guitar heroes of all time, Johnny Winter was able to take what he heard on record from the Delta in his formative years and parlay that with his own style to create some of the most formidable and soulful blues music ever transmitted through an amplifier. Winter had laurels of praise and success heaped upon him since he came to first national prominence and attention in 1968. A massive loss for the genre and the entire industry, Winter was in frail health when he died on July 16th at the age of 70.
We also remember the following In Memoriam, for their contributions to the music industry and to the art:
Jonathan Athon (bassist/singer for Black Tusk)
Randy Coven (bassist)
Franny Beecher (lead guitarist for Bill Haley & His Comets)
Ernie Chataway (played guitar for Judas Priest)
Glenn Cornick (original Jethro Tull bassist)
Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen (Trillion, Angel, LeRoux, Toto, Survivor)
Shane Gibson (Korn)
Gerry Goffin (songwriter, Carole King’s ex-husband)
Big Bank Hank (Sugar Hill Gang)
Jake Hooker (The Arrows, co-wrote “I Love Rock and Roll”)
Bobby Keys (saxophonist for The Rolling Stones)
Ian McLagan (Faces/Small Faces keyboardist)
Billy Rath (Johnny Thunders band)
Rick Rosas (bassist for Neil Young)
Pete Seeger (folk musician)