Rock n' roll is now well over fifty years old so it is eminent that its practitioners go over to the other dimension regardless on how they conducted themselves here on Earth. As my good friend Tuna observed, "It's only gonna get worse". Have a drink for those who have served.
Mickey Dread - reggae musician and producer (died on March 15, 2008, aged 54 of a brain tumor)
Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Dread first made waves as the host of the overnight JBC radio show Dread At The Controls. The pioneering show was the first Jamaican radio program to focus on then-underground reggae music. Dread championed the cause by playing artists like King Tubby, Augustus Pablo and Linval Thompson, none of which could otherwise be heard on the conservatively run station. Moving into producion Dread was a vital contributor to the Clash, producing their "Bank Robber" single and co-producing the Sandinista! full length. While in the UK he narrated a six-part series on Jamaican culture for the BBC entitled Deep Roots Music. The early 80s also gave rise to important solo full lengths such as `81's Beyond World War 3 and `84's Pave The Way. A true pioneer who will be missed.
Mike Smith - lead singer of The Dave Clark Five, died Thursday Feb 28, 2008 aged 64.
The cause was pneumonia, a complication of a spinal cord injury he sustained in 2003.
The Dave Clark Five were a big part of the British Invasion of the early 1960s and had lots of hits including “Glad All Over,” “Catch Us If You Can” and “Over and Over.” The band made 12 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show by 1966. Smith also played keyboards and co-wrote songs for the band, which was founded by its drummer, Dave Clark.
Mike Conley - vocalist for early eighties hardcore outfit M.I.A. (found dead in a hotel parking lot early on Feb 28th 2008).
While never hugely popular in comparison with heavyweights such as Black Flag or Dead Kennedys, M.I.A. did have a decent following due to some excellent melodic hardcore. As time went on, their sound changed and progressed much to the ire of influential punk zine Maximumrockandroll.
At the time of writing, the coroner report stated that he appeared to have suffered head injuries and his death is deemed as being suspicious.
Willie P. Bennett - Canadian folksinger and mandolin player (died Feb 15, 2008 of a heart attack, aged 56)
This revered singer-songwriter was a veritable institution at folk festivals across the country during the 1970's. After several records under his own name and with other groups, he became of prominent member of country-folk singer Fred Eaglesmith's Flying Squirrels band playing harmonica and mandolin.
He gained renewed fame in the late 1990s, when the band Blackie and The Rodeo Kings (Stephen Fearing, Tom Wilson and Colin Linden) formed to do a tribute album to him. The band itself was named after one of Bennett's songs. He had suffered a heart attack in 2007 and had effectively retired from Eaglesmith's touring band but was reportedly in good health just before his death.
Sean Finnegan - drummer Void (died January 30, 2008, aged 43 of a heart attack)
Alas, does anyone remember Void? The one heavy band to come out of the DC hardcore era will forever be enshrined into the hardcore punk hall of fame for that incredible split album they released with fellow punks The Faith in September 1982 known simply as the Faith/Void split. Their song Who Are You is alone worth the price of admission and Sean's drumming is manic to say the least.
Dave "Day" Havlicek - banjo player The Monks (died January 10, 2008 as result of injuries suffered during a heart attack)
Anyone familiar with The Monks will know that they were the least conventional of all the proto punk sixties garage bands. For one thing, they were all US marines stationed in Germany and secondly they had a banjo player that made that instrument sound like something from another dimension. No, these were not ordinary guys. Thanks to this golden age of reissues, their fantastic landmark album Black Monk Time is readily available from finer record shops in your area.