Cameron Carpenter: Past and Present Tens – If There’s A Rock’n’Roll Heaven
It only makes sense that every year more and more of the musicians I grew up with pass away. Last year, and especially the last few months, we lost a lot of greats. This is just the tip of the 2015 iceberg but here are ten that will be missed.
- Jeff Golub
Although not a household name Jeff was an amazing jazz guitarist, and, if you happened to see Rod Stewart in concert between 1988 and 1995, you would have seen Jeff on stage playing guitar. One day in New York my boss John Alexander and I were having a few afternoon cocktails with Rod’s main guitarist Jim Cregan, as well as the late Ian McLagan, at Kennedy’s on West 57th (a now closed Irish pub). Rod and the boys were hubbed in New York and flying out to their east coast gigs on a private jet and then flying back to their hub hotel. In the late afternoon they headed off to Montreal. They had invited us to go with them but as we both worked for MCA at the time we didn’t think Warner Brothers would be too pleased to see us get off the plane in Quebec. Later that night John and I were next store at our favourite nightclub Le Bar Bat when, around 12:45 Michael the owner came over to say my buddy from Rod’s band was on stage. I looked up and did not see Cregan so I told Michael that the guitarist may have been weaving a tall tale. After the set the guitarist came over to the table and introduced himself as Jeff Golub. They were already back from Montreal, McLagan and Cregan were upstairs at Kennedy’s having a nightcap or two, and Jeff was back on stage doing what he did best.
- Natalie Cole
I only met Natalie once at a Grammy party but spent quite a bit of time with her second husband Andre Fischer. When Andre and Natalie were married (1989-1995) the record producer, and former drummer with Rufus, spent a lot of time with the MCA Publishing family and would often attend our yearly “Confabs” which were held at various resorts across America. Natalie had one of the greatest voices ever and her “duet” with her father was one of those magical music moments. (Editor’s Note – “Unforgettable” wasn’t the only duet Natalie and Nat did “together”. My God, these voices…this song.)
- Scott Weiland
This, regrettably, was not a surprise. Scott’s past history of drug and alcohol abuse foreshadowed this event for many a year. Stone Temple Pilots were a band that I enjoyed on the radio but never ignited the passion in me. I did get to meet Scott one night when he and Slash were at the Bovine promoting Velvet Revolver. Dude sure looked and acted like a rock star.
- Chris Squire
As a way of thanks for doing a few interviews for us I once hosted a dinner for Yes. It was the late nineties and I took them to Red’s as I knew one of the staff and was assured we would have a private area and would not be disturbed. There were about a dozen of us in total. When the band arrived Jon Anderson took me aside and warned me to keep the wine list away from Mr. Squire as he would do a major amount of damage on my Amex card if he knew he could get away with it. I managed to keep it away from him all throughout the immensely enjoyable evening but I let me guard down during dessert and he managed sneak in a $400 bottle of port. Fair dues Chris, fair dues.
- John Bradbury
I never had the pleasure of meeting the drummer from The Specials, and would not have been able to tell you his name up until the time of his passing last month, but man, he was a rock solid drummer and largely responsible for the band’s unique sound.
- Phil Taylor
Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor played drums on ten Motorhead albums, and, in two incarnations, toured with them for almost fifteen years. Ask any hard-core fan and they will tell you that the classic band line-up was Lemmy, Phil and Fast Eddie Clarke.
- B.B. King
When I presented the Canadian premiere of the documentary “B.B. King – The Life of Riley” at the NXNE Film Festival back in 2013 I was secretly hoping the legend would be able to attend the screening at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Unfortunately his health was starting to fade around that time and travel was going to be out of the question. It is a great doc and all aspiring musicians could learn a lot spending two hours learning the story of one of the all-time legends.
- Kim Fowley
The epitome of the old school music hustler. Kim was a record guy, a producer, an artist, a manager, a scene-maker, a showman. He constantly showed up in documentaries as the ultimate L.A. music guy and when I was trying to convince director Neil Norman to premiere his film “The Seeds – Pushin’ Too Hard” at the Reel Indie Film Festival last fall (Kim is in it) I asked Neil about his relationship with Kim and he told me his first record gig was working for his father at GNP Crescendo Records back in the 1950’s. Kim will be best remembered as the “creator” of The Runaways, but if there was ever a rock’n’roll movie to be made it would be about the always colouful life of Kim.
- Gary Richrath
My first exposure with REO Speedwagon (Gary was the guitar player) was in the late seventies when I was sent to Buffalo to see and interview the band. Their star was rising south of the border and it was obvious in their live performance that Gary was the star. They were a working man rock’n’roll band that will never be in the Hall of Fame but they plied their craft with honesty and integrity. Of course their opening act on that tour were Cheap Trick and close to thirty years later they are going into the hall this spring. It is worth a trip to Cheap Trick’s website to pick up their free new single.
More than once I wandered into The Rainbow in the nineties and more than once I ran into Lemmy at his special spot at the bar. I seemed to recall one night seeing him with the late John Entwistle. Every promo or publicity person at a label probably has a story about Lemmy because if you worked in that capacity for any amount of time, Motorhead would probably be recording for your label at one point or another. I had him in the late nineties and we had arranged an interview at MuchMusic. With Lemmy you needed two things to make him happy on a promo trip; a place to drink and a place to smoke. Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to light up at Much and that they would not be happy to see him drink on camera I moved the interview to the Friar & Firkin on John Street across from the station. While waiting we played NTN Trivia and I don’t think Lemmy missed a question. At the end of the round it was pretty cool to see Lemmy as the winner of the round and I am pretty sure that players across North America had no idea when they saw the winner’s name on the screen that they had indeed lost to the Motorhead legend.
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Cameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.