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Evan Farrell (Magnolia Electric Co./Rogue Wave) R.I.P.

Bloomington, Indiana musician Evan Farrell died on December 23 in an apartment fire in Oakland, California, according to various reports.

Farrell served as bassist for Rogue Wave until early last year and toured with Magnolia Electric Co. this past fall, playing bass and pedal steel. He was also a member of the Secretly Canadian collective the Japonize Elephants, and had a hand in numerous other bands and projects over the years.

On the Rogue Wave website, Zach Rogue wrote, "If you ever saw Evan play music, you would know he was an exceptional and passionate musician. And if you ever had the chance to hang out with him, you would have no doubt been laughing at some point, because he was one of the funniest and most charismatic people ever. Always the extrovert, Evan was meant for the stage. Sometimes I almost felt he was from some other time, some other place."

A post on the Magnolia Electric Co. website echoed these sentiments, concluding, "We love you, Evan, and we are better people for having known you."

Farrell leaves behind a wife and two young children. A memorial fund has been established to help his family during this difficult time. Contribute by clicking here.
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R.I.P. Oscar Peterson, 1925-2007

Oscar Peterson, the legendary Canadian jazz pianist known for his breathtaking displays of speed and agility, died Sunday, December 23 at his home in Mississauga, Ontario, according to various news sources. He was 82 years old. According to the Associated Press, the cause of death was kidney failure.

Peterson was born in Montreal on August 15, 1925. He grew up in a musical family, and was influenced by Art Tatum and Nat "King" Cole at an early age. While only in high school, he played in a band with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and performed regularly on Canadian national radio. In 1949, Peterson performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, launching his international career. He signed to Verve in the early 1950s, and went on to play with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker. His reputation for velocity and virtuosity grew and grew in the decades that followed, and he attracted a large international following. A 1993 stroke weakened his left hand, but Peterson continued to play for years to come.

Throughout his lifetime, Peterson was given countless honors and awards, including many Grammys. He was given his own stamp in Canada and Austria. He also started blogging in 2000.

Since the news of Peterson's death hit on Christmas Eve, tributes from the jazz world have been pouring in. The Associated Press quoted the following statement from Herbie Hancock: "Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today. I consider him the major influence that formed my roots in jazz piano playing. He mastered the balance between technique, hard blues grooving, and tenderness ... No one will ever be able to take his place."

A message from Peterson's family on his website asks that those seeking to honor the pianist's memory can make donations to World Vision or Christian Children's Fund.

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Country Singer J.D. "Cast" King R.I.P.

Just yesterday, December 13, Pitchfork ran a story about the efforts to raise money for J.D. "Cast" King, an 81-year-old country singer and songwriter diagnosed with terminal cancer. The same day, King lost his battle with the disease and passed away at home in Old Sand Mountain, Alabama, according to King's label, Locust Music.

King started playing guitar by teaching himself at the age of 10, and in 1955, he and his band the Country Drifters recorded a few tracks at Memphis' legendary Sun Studio. (The list of people who cut their recording teeth there also includes Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and many others.)

After that time, King seemingly disappeared from any sort of public eye until re-emerging in 2005 with his debut album, Saw Mill Man, which came out on Locust Music.

Even though King has passed, money is still needed to help his family cover medical and funeral expenses. Through its website, the Chicago label is hosting an MP3 of "Saved", a song that would have appeared on a Saw Mill Man follow-up. Just below the MP3 is a link to donate to a PayPal account, 100% of the proceeds from which will go to help King's family.

As previously reported, there will be a benefit concert for King on December 29 at JJ's Bohemia in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The show will feature sets from Citico Stringband, the Bohannons, and Saw Mill Man producer Matt Downer.

Finally, King's music will live on next year, as it provides the backdrop to the closing credits of the forthcoming Gus Van Sant movie Paranoid Park.
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Ike Turner R.I.P.

Ike Turner, rock'n'roll pioneer, r&b legend, and volatile husband to Tina Turner, passed away at his San Marcos, California home today, according to TMZ. Aged 76, he reportedly died in his sleep.

Born Izear Luster Turner, Jr. in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Turner first found fame as leader of the Kings of Rhythm, whose 1951 single "Rocket 88"-- billed to Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats-- is regarded by some as the first true rock'n'roll recording.

Turner's place in popular music history wasn't cemented, however, until he met a young, fiery vocalist by the name of Anna Mae Bullock in 1956. Bullock would eventually take the name Tina Turner, and the pair would enter a relationship, both musical and romantic, as notoriously tumultuous privately as it was electrifying live on stage and on record. Throughout the 1960s and early 70s, Ike and Tina remained at the forefront of rock'n'roll culture, touring with the Rolling Stones, recording with Phil Spector, and churning out hits like "Proud Mary" and "River Deep - Mountain High".

Turner's reputation was, of course, mottled at best. He has been painted as an abusive and domineering husband to Tina, who left him in the mid-1970s. Turner also landed in prison in the early 1990s after various drug charges, and was in fact incarcerated when Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Yet Turner had, by most accounts, cleaned up his act in subsequent years. He also regained some of his footing musically, winning a Best Traditional Blues Grammy this year for Risin' With the Blues. He was also apparently working with the Black Keys and Danger Mouse on a forthcoming album.
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Karlheinz Stockhausen R.I.P.

Photo by Harald Fronzeck (via Stockhausen.org)

Renowned German composer and electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen passed away December 5 at his home in Kuerten, Germany, according to statement released today by Stockhausen-Verlag. He was 79.

Born August 22, 1928 in a village near Cologne, Stockhausen rose to prominence in the 1950s with a number of pieces that broke decidedly with convention. Across a career that extended into this century, he invoked both awe and controversy with his unorthodox works, noted for their innovation and complexity.

A man content to exist outside the classical establishment, Stockhausen saw his influence extend beyond it as well. Among his advocates were the Beatles, who included the composer on the collage cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The 362 works Stockhausen composed include the world's longest opera cycle (Licht, completed in 2003), the first annotated and published piece of electronic music (1954's Electronic Study II), and a piece for string quartet that also called for four helicopters (1993's Helicopter String Quartet). Like John Cage, he demonstrated a fascination with aleatory composition, that which accounts for an element of chance. Early in his career he was also a proponent of serialism, composition based on mathematical formulas.

Stockhausen studied under Olivier Messiaen and Les Six member Darius Milhaud, among others. He was a highly respected teacher as well, whose students included several of krautrock's prominent figures, including Can's Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt.

"In friendship and gratitude for everything that he has given to us personally and to humanity through his love and his music," wrote longtime collaborators Suzanne Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer in the Stockhausen-Verlag statement, "we bid farewell to Karlheinz Stockhausen, who lived to bring celestial music to humans, and human music to the celestial beings, so that Man may listen to God and God may hear His children."

Licht will be performed in its entirety for the first time at October 2008's Donaueschingen Festival in Germany.
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R.I.P. UGK's Pimp C

Pimp C, legendary rapper/producer of Houston-based rap duo UGK, was found dead in a Hollywood hotel room this morning, according to TMZ.com. Born Chad Butler, the unmistakable, charismatic wordsmith was 33. TMZ reports that L.A. firefighters responded to a 911 call at the Sunset Strip's Mondrian Hotel, where they found the rapper dead in his bed. No information on cause of death has been given at this time.

Formed some 20 years ago by longtime friends Butler and Bernard "Bun B" Freeman, UGK are largely responsible for the deliberate, loping Houston sound further pioneered by the duo's good friend, the late Robert "DJ Screw" Davis. Pimp C spent from 2002 to 2005 incarcerated in a Texas prison on an aggravated assault charge, leading to the ubiquitous "Free Pimp C" rallying cry throughout the hip-hop industry.

UGK spent much of the '00s away from the studio, but were enjoying a banner 2007 with the release of the stellar, sprawling Underground Kingz LP and its triumphant, Outkast-boosted single "International Player's Anthem".

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Donda West, Mother of Kanye, Dead at 58

Dr. Donda West, mother of Kanye and an educator, author, and businesswoman, died Saturday night, November 10, in Los Angeles, according to an AP report. She was 58 years old.

A BBC report quotes Dr. West's publicist as saying her death was "the result of complications from a cosmetic surgical procedure."

Dr. West was the former chairwoman of the English department at Chicago State University, where she had worked since 1980, according to the AP report.

In 2004, she left academia to help manage Kanye's career. She was the chief executive of West Brands LLC, the company that handles Kanye's various business ventures, and she also served as the chairwoman of the board for education-oriented nonprofit the Kanye West Foundation, where she helped her son create its first initiative, "Loop Dreams".

On a more personal note, Dr. West raised Kanye herself after his father left when he was three years old, according to the AP report. Earlier this year, she published a book titled Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star. The two Wests' relationship was also touchingly documented in Kanye's "Hey Mama", a song from 2005's Late Registration.

According to the BBC, "West's spokesman said the family 'asks for privacy during this time of grief.'"

Kanye has a run of shows scheduled to begin November 17 in Paris; no word yet on whether or not they are canceled. [MORE...]

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Ex-Ramones Manager/Seymour Stein's Ex-Wife Slain

Linda S. Stein, staple of the 1970s New York scene and ex-wife of Sire Records chief Seymour Stein, was-- according to a report in The New York Times-- bludgeoned to death Tuesday night (October 30) in her Manhattan apartment. She was 62.

In the late 70s, Ms. Stein co-managed the Ramones, who were at the time signed to her husband's label. Following her divorce from Mr. Stein, Linda became "real estate agent to the stars," arranging the transfer of property between her famous friends and acquaintances.

Stein was found with a severe injury to the skull, and the death was officially ruled a homicide yesterday. Authorities have yet to comment on any possible motive.

Stein is survived by two daugthers and one granddaughter.
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Country Music Legend Porter Wagoner, 1927-2007

Country music legend and Grand Ole Opry star Porter Wagoner died Sunday, October 28, from lung cancer at the age of 80, according to a Reuters report. The report cites Wagoner's publicist, Darlene Bieber, who said Wagoner entered a hospice facility in Nashville several days before his death.

A Grammy winner and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Wagoner was known for his penchant for flashy rhinestone suits. In addition to his solo career as a musician, entertainer, and television host, he nurtured the career of a young Dolly Parton as both a mentor and duet partner. He was allegedly the inspiration for Parton's classic song "I Will Always Love You".

The Howell County, Missouri native was a fixture of the Grand Ole Opry for 50 years, though he didn't shy away from controversy just to tow the party line. For example, in 1979, he invited James Brown to perform on the Opry stage, despite the objections of other Opry members.

Just this past June, Wagoner released his last album, Wagonmaster on Anti- Records. He opened for the White Stripes at Madison Square Garden in July.
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J Church's Lance Hahn R.I.P.

Lance Hahn, longstanding member of the punk community and leader of Austin, Texas-based punks J Church, died Sunday (October 21) due to complications from his lengthy battle with kidney disease.

In addition to his work in J Church, Hahn (a native Hawaiian) played with Hawaii-based punks Cringer for most of the 1980s, and even moonlighted on guitar with Beck in 1994. Hahn, in addition to his strictly musical pursuits, owned and ran Honey Bear Records, was a frequent contributor to the venerated Maximum Rock'n'Roll magazine, published the Some Hope and Some Despair zine, and was working on a book on anarchist punk history at the time of his death. He was 40.
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Killing Joke/Ministry Bassist Paul Raven R.I.P.

Photo by Steffan Chirazi

Paul Vincent Raven-- bassist for post-punk pioneers Killing Joke and, in more recent years, industrial elder statesmen Ministry-- was found dead Saturday, October 20 in a private home in a small French village on the border of Switzerland, near Geneva. According to initial reports, his death was the result of a heart attack.

The 46-year-old Raven was in the thick of a couple different musical projects at the time of his death. He was in Geneva to record with French band Treponem Pal, and he planned to release an album by Mob Research-- a collaboration with members of Warrior Soul and the Mission UK-- on Ministry leader Al Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records next year.

After Raven's death, Jourgensen released a statement saying, "I am in total shock. The world of music is a sadder, emptier place. Not only was Raven an extraordinary talent, but one of my closest dearest friends. Our condolences and prayers go to his immediate family. He will be truly missed by artists, musicians, and his fans the world over."

For a statement on behalf of the Raven family, visit Mob Research's MySpace blog here.

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Psychic TV's Lady Jaye R.I.P.
Band cancels fall tour

Sad news from the Psychic TV camp. According to a post late last week on the website of Psychic TV / Throbbing Gristle head agitator Genesis P-Orridge, Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge-- the Psychic TV keyboardist Genesis described as his "other half"-- passed away on October 9. She was 38.

The post reads:
Lady Jaye died suddenly on Tuesday 9th October 2007 at home in Brooklyn, New York from a previously undiagnosed heart condition which is thought to have been connected with her long-term battle with stomach cancer. Lady Jaye collapsed and died in the arms of her heartbroken "other half" Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.

Being overwhelmed by the enormity of their loss, Genesis and the other surviving band members of Psychic TV/PTV3 are not able to properly meet the demands of touring and performance. Obviously, her absence onstage, the conspicuous loss of her unique charisma, music and humour would be an unbearable emotional reality to confront night after night.

The group, who have been touring to promote their first studio album in 12 years, will announce future plans after an appropriate period of mourning.
Psychic TV has created a memorial MySpace page for their fallen comrade, where fans may share thoughts and memories in tribute to Lady Jaye.

The band had already cancelled a run of European dates for logistical reasons. Both these and the now cancelled North American dates-- which were to be in support of Psychic TV/PTV3's 2007 release Hell Is Invisible...Heaven Is Her/e-- lie ahead. [MORE...]
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