Category Archives: In Memoriam

As applicable this category will be used to remember those entertainment personalities that we lost.

R.I.P. Scott Columbus formerly of Manowar (4/4/2011)

I’m saddened and shocked to add the name of drummer Scott Columbus to the list of 2011 memorial notes but alas it is true as earlier this afternoon the reports of the musicians passing started to hit the Internet.  He was 54 years old and that is too young.  The full details of his death are unclear at this time of my posting.

Manowar are one of the many bands that I have enjoyed from the beginning and how could a young Metal fan not be affected by the music found on the bands debut “Battle Hymns”?  Of course the drums on that release were by Donnie Hamzick but the band replaced him with Columbus soon after and he is the drummer who was on some of their most important work.  Scott played what were referred to as “Drums Of Doom” based on their being crafted from stainless steel.  He apparently destroyed conventional drums and this brought a more powerful backbone to an already thundering band.  Scott’s work on “Into Glory Ride”, “Hail To England”, “Sign Of The Hammer”, “Fighting The World” and “Kings Of Metal” is nothing short of amazing and these are works that all Metal fans should have in their music library be it physical or digital. If you liked kick ass Metal drumming, Scott was the guy to watch.

We send condolences out to his family, former band mates and fans during this time.  Rest in Peace Scott and thanks for the Metal.

R.I.P. Don Hill, Legendary NYC Club Owner: 3/31/2011

Don Hill photo by Patrick McMullan

This afternoon PiercingMetal.com learned about the passing of NYC club owner and promoter Don Hill who died after collapsing while on the way to a New York hospital.  He was a legendary figure in the New York City music scene, and ran the club that bore his name “Don Hills” for almost two decades.  He was sixty six years old according to reports.    The Soho club Don Hills was not one of my usual haunts but I knew so many people that were regulars there and knew Don from the fantastic music scene that he helped make even better by opening its doors.  Having only met Mr. Hill a handful of times I can simply say that he always greeted you with a firm handshake and a smile.   He was visibly passionate about the music scene and doing some good for New York bands and a wide reaching music fan in general.   It’s always a shame when someone like this leaves us because its a void that is not easily filled.

The Don Hills club was actually sold very recently to Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan and it is being renovated to some extent.  Over the years the venue was a regular showcase for local and national talent and hosted gigs by bands like Green Day, Quiet Riot and The Strokes along with up and comers such as ZO2 and many more.   I hope whatever renovating the space gets allows this kind of scene to flourish going forward.  I think Don would have liked that to be the case.  His full name was Donald Mulvihill and he leaves behind a Brother, a Sister and too many musicians and NYC nightlife legions to mention.  Rest in Peace Don, thanks for all that you did for the music world.  You will be missed for sure.

R.I.P. Mike Starr, former bassist of Alice In Chains (3/9/2011)

Bassist Mike Starr

The PiercingMetal Command Center was saddened to learn of the death of bassist Mike Starr today who was found dead in his Salt Lake City, Utah home at the age of 44.  The police DO NOT expect foul play as the cause but the results from the medical examiner will take a few months to determine. The musician appeared on the third season of “Celebrity Rehab” where he showcased his own personal struggle with addiction and while he seemed a bit frantic during this particular season, he did end up getting it together for the case of his own health. He and fellow show participant Tom Sizemore each appeared on the season four showing of this program and had been sober/clean for a number of months. Starr was arrested in February of 2011 with possession of several controlled substances so perhaps his own sobriety was not as long lived as his family and friends would have hoped. Let’s see what the medical experts report when they make that assessment.

Musically speaking, Starr was a founding member of the Alice In Chains band and appeared on their earliest and most seminal works such as “Facelift”  (1990), “Sap” (1992) and “Dirt” (1992).  Although he does NOT appear on the bands “Unplugged” album he can be heard on two tracks on the bands “Live” album.   I don’t think I need to speak more on how important the band was to the Seattle Sound and the Grunge Movement as a whole, but I will say that out of the crop of bands that appeared during this time, how Alice In Chains with Mike as a member were one of the best and most promising.

We express our deepest condolences to his family and fans as well as his former band mates.  If the cause gets cited as being from an overdose then I will feel all the more sad, because I hate when this kind of shit takes talented people away from us.   Some view the “Celebrity Rehab” show as sensationalizing the addiction recovery process, but I think at the end of the day it does good and showcases just how hard it is to overcome this kind of problem.

Photo used comes credited to “Iris Peace and Love”.

R.I.P. Gary Moore, Legendary Guitarist (2/6/2011)

2011 was already off to a bad start in the eyes of music fans as it had taken both Phil Kennemore (from Y&T) and Don Kirshner from us in January and now it is with great sadness that I announce that the music world has lost the legendary guitar slinger Gary Moore.  He was 58 years old.

The Legend Has Left Us: Gary Moore Is Gone

For many fans Gary Moore first came into public prominence with his band Skid Row and no, not the Hard Rock/Hair Metal group that was fronted at one time by Sebastian Bach but instead a Dublin based Blues Band.  He knew musicians like Phil Lynott and Brian Downey since his high school days and resultant of this had a very early association with their band Thin Lizzy.  He was actually a member at three different points in time which I found very interesting.   Aside from the work with the legendary Irish band, Gary was also known for a nothing short of prolific solo career.  While I was one of those casual fans it was thanks to the efforts of my own music circle that I would enjoy albums like “Corridors of Power” and “Victims Of The Future”.   It was great stuff when you took a larger look at it and Gary’s talents shined like a beacon over much of his competition.   It’s also important to remember just how great and powerful a voice that the musician had under his command.  He was influential to many a Hard Rock and Metal guitar player during these years and even found his music inspiring the Finnish juggernauts Nightwish, who offered the world their take on “Over The Hills and Far Away”.  They did a nice job and you should do a search for it to see for yourself.

In 1990, Moore returned to performing Blues music and while this might have surprised his heavy music fans, it did not at all disappoint them since he did this genre so much justice.  The album “Still Got The Blues” was a fantastic journey into his musical talent and he would remain on this particular road for many more years.   I was never able to enjoy Gary’s talent in the live sense and instead only got to see him on videos, and to listen to his music on record, tape and eventually CD.  He was one of the many that I had hoped to see in my lifetime, but now that is no longer possible.

Gary was vacationing in Estepona, Spain at the time of his death.  No other information has been released.

The impact of Gary’s legendary skills  are far-reaching and we would love to find your own views about the master being left on this memorial as comments.  Please feel free to share your stories about shows attended, the music that inspired you or even your encounters with him in person.  Rest in Peace Gary Moore.  You are once again jamming with Phil Lynott and perhaps even working on material being overseen by Ronnie James Dio.  Thanks for all of your musical gifts to the world.  You shall never be forgotten.

R.I.P. Don Kirshner, Legendary Music Producer (1/17/2011)

Today the music world mourns the death of legendary music producer and “Man with the Golden Ear”, Don Kirshner who passed away at the age of 76. The famous producer was very well known for his work with both The Monkees and The Archies but most of us Hard Rock fans remember him the best from the program “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”.

Continue reading R.I.P. Don Kirshner, Legendary Music Producer (1/17/2011)