Last night, the memory of the late great Motorhead bassist Mr. Lemmy Kilmister was forever immortalized with the installation of a life-size bronze statue that was unveiled at the famous Rainbow Bar & Grill. The musician was very well known at the Rainbow because during the many years that he lived in the immediate vicinity, he could often be found at a space at the bar playing a video poker machine. While I was unable to be a part of the unveiling, I learned that a musician from my neighborhood had taken the trip out there to be a part of the night. Thanks to him, I have a few photos from the scene and some inside scoop about the event. Behind that sign is the statue and the unveiling was going to be soon.
As I write this brief memorial note I am ready to rename 2016 into “The Year That Hated Music” for as I map out thoughts, the news is circulating faster and more furious about the passing of Prince Rogers Nelson who the music fans of the world knew simply as Prince. He was 57 years of age.
The news was alarming for sure when I heard this thanks to a very dear friend as we chatted on Facebook and it instantly made me recall hearing that just the other day how Prince’s plane was landed immediately based on illness that the musician was dealing with. There were reports of flu and possible pneumonia but he was given the once over and released. Earlier today he was found in his Minnesota home and for many of his fans the world stopped moving as they coped with the news. The musician was surely one of the most flamboyant and influential to so very many. I was always among the more casual fans and loved his guitar player along with the incredibly iconic release of “Purple Rain”. When that album came out I didn’t know a single person that didn’t own a copy in some format whether it be LP, cassette tape and yes even on 8-track cassette tape since those were still a thing back then. Personally speaking I had already been a bit of a follower of his tunes from before that time but only for a brief time after the legendary album. I was moving into different sounds and focusing on the heavier side of music life but would always be able to return to those tunes I loved to find some musical piece of mind. Prince was also notably known for being a staunch supporter for the rights of the musician and even began referring to himself with an unpronounceable symbol for a number of years. At times he might have been thought of as arrogant but I always attributed it to his stratospheric level of talent. He composed and performed on numerous instruments as well as creating the style and image of all of his varied incarnations. In some sense Prince had a lot in common with the late great David Bowie who the world also lost early this year. 2016 has been a very rough one for fans of music for sure. On behalf of my humble outlet I’d like to wish his family, friends, band mates and worldwide fans the deepest of condolences. Thank you Prince for being such a talent, inspiration and person who was on top of his game over and over again. Losing your ideas is a tremendous blow to artists rights and musical creativity and one that is not easily bounced back from. Though you explored numerous styles over the course of your career (Jazz, Funk, Power Pop, Blues in addition to Rock) I always felt you were one who best showed what being a Rock star was all about. The opening to his milestone “Purple Rain” begins with the spoken words of “Dearly beloved, We are gathered here today, To get through this thing called life”. Let’s do that in his honor today and in the coming weeks as it all begins to hit us harder. Gather together, and be together. Love one another stronger if at all possible as we only have so much time together. Goodnight Prince.
There is so much to know about Prince the musician which I did not touch upon here since it can all be learned on his very documented Wikipedia entry. Click the link below to learn what is to be learned. Make sure you go to your music library and pull out any of the albums that you might have from this iconic performer because you will not find much on Spotify or even YouTube since he was quite protective of his music.
I’m really getting tired of these sort of announcements but alas there has been need to do it again for it was just making the rounds on the web that Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s legendary keyboardist/composer Keith Emerson had passed away. The master musician was 71 years old.
The announcement was made via the band’s Official Facebook page and official website and very simply reads….
“We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, aged 71. We ask that the family’s privacy and grief be respected”.
There’s far too much to note about the level of accomplished musician that Emerson was so I’ll just mention that I have personally been a fan of his work for many years now and actually am well into the third decade and closing in on the fourth. My Stepfather had a copy of “Brain Salad Surgery” in his record collection and while I didn’t hear this work at the time of its initial 1973 release (I think it was closer to 1979-90), it quickly became one of my very favorite albums based on the overall musical acrobatics being performed by Emerson and Palmer all over it. Sadly, I never got to witness ELP in concert nor see Emerson performing as a soloist and it was mostly due to the availability of those gigs in my overall life. ELP originally disbanded in 1979 and while they reformed some years later, the gigs for my part of the world were few and far between. Fortunately, the world of mass media has given us numerous albums and video releases to enjoy so many of us can relive the very classic years over and over in the comforts of our own home. Upon hearing the news about Keith’s passing I began spinning my “Essential Emerson, Lake and Palmer” to help me deal with yet another giant loss for the music world. The great thing about Emerson is that you always knew it was him based on his innovative and iconic sound. He was truly the master of any keyboard that he touched and his developments in composition with the creations of Dr. Moog inspired generations of players. On behalf of the PiercingMetal outlet, I send heartfelt condolences to Keith’s family, band mates, friends and worldwide fans. The great band in the sky has officially become a supergroup now that Emerson joins the likes of David Bowie, Chris Squire, Paul Kantner, Lemmy and so many other amazing talents. Each of them left us just a little too soon. Goodnight Mr. Emerson and thank you for the sounds that took us to realms previously uncharted.
UPDATE: Several hours after this memorial reflection went online it was disclosed that Emerson had died from a self-inflicted single gunshot wound to the head. Suicide. Reports state that a degenerative nerve disease in his hands had compromised his abilities and left him despondent. What a shame that he took this route as opposed to continuing to inspire the masses. It sucks learning this was the case.
It’s with great sadness that I share the news about the passing of the legendary Bluesman B.B. King who died last night in his home. It was just about two weeks ago when the musician announced that he was resting at his home and in hospice care at this time. King was 89 years old at the time and he would have reached his 90th in September. To say that he will be missed by musicians young and old in every corner of the globe is an understatement. He was a legendary figure among legendary figures and his inspiration remained strong up until the moment of his passing.
King was born Riley B. King in 1925 and according to research got his first guitar at about twelve years old. As a young man he sang in the churches Gospel choir and when he began learning to play the guitar would also play at those services. In 1949 he began his professional recording career and the rest was as they say….history. Though I’ve always enjoyed the music I heard from B.B. King I was never able to catch him in concert for one reason or another and that truly saddens me based on just how much impact he had on music in general. I’ve been a regular media patron of the club that bears his name in Times Square for more than twelve years of course but that is not the same. It’s clear that his spirit will be watching over countless performances in this space going forward. There’s far too much to line out about this man in a humble memorial such as this so I will defer you to his official Wikipedia entry where you can indulge deeper into his storied career over a cup of coffee with his music playing in the background on Spotify or whatever medium you are using to stream music. Goodnight Mr. King, you’ve done the music world so right for so long and we shall all miss you but your sounds will live on forever. Thank you and Rest In Peace. We send extended condolences to Mr. King’s family, friends and worldwide musical partners everywhere.
Someone is having a very special milestone of a birthday today and yes you are correct it is the one and only Mr. Johnny Winter, a guitar legend among guitar legends. On behalf of the PiercingMetal readers and myself, I would like to say “Happy Birthday Sir”
Usually I would just post a single photo on the PiercingMetal Facebook but this is a special one and hence gets its own posting on our Blog. Johnny and his band are actually performing later on this evening at B.B. King Blues Club for the final show of what they call “Winter In Winter”. I plan on being there to raise a glass in his honor that’s for sure and you readers at home can count on a full report on the proceedings. Just in case you don’t have a fair mental appreciation of his body of work, I have embedded several links that are worth checking out. They will follow his official website.