Tag Archives: Celebrity/musician deaths

RIP: Hal Ketchum 1953 – 2020

In the early 90’s, Hal Ketchum a Greenwich native in my hometown was a country star who was commercially successful in the mainstream of country music. Thanks to his hit song “Small Town Saturday Night” which is one of the biggest country songs of all time and made Hal a superstar. The album “Past the Point of Rescue” became one of the biggest selling albums of all time because of that song.

When I was a kid in high school, I was a huge fan of Hal’s music. Owned three of his records on CD which I still have sitting on my CD shelf: “Past the Point of Rescue”, “Sure Love” and “Every Little Word”. He was a mainstream star then with those three albums. After those three albums, though, people started losing interest in his music and people totally forgot who he was over the years. Despite all that, he kept releasing records and touring so it wasn’t about the fame and money for him at all. It was about the music for him.

Admittedly, I stopped buying Hal’s albums after “Every Little Word” but I’ve always respected him and admired him. I try to follow his career to see what he’s up to and even though he no longer had the superstar status like he had in the 90’s, he continued to play live up until dementia hit him. He never gave it up. Kept playing and touring until he couldn’t do it anymore. He no longer play those huge arena shows anymore and went back down to playing smaller venues but that didn’t matter. It was about the music for him. He loved performing live. When he perform live before dementia hit him, he was still playing all the hits that was all over country radio. He continued to play live with his longtime guitar player and collaborator, Kenny Grimes.

If you want to listen to real country music, listen to Hal Ketchum. This is what real country is supposed to sound like. Too bad country music doesn’t sound like this anymore.

I got to meet the man briefly myself at a show backstage at the Washington County Fairgrounds back in the 90’s, I think. It was just a “Hello” and a handshake and he signed my CD too which I still have. I’ll never forget that show, though.

We lost another good one. A hometown hero in my hometown of Greenwich, N.Y. Hal had a helluva a voice and his songs were awesome. Definitely an inspiration with my own music as well.

RIP Hal and thanks for the great music.

Kev

RIP Alex Trebek: 1940 – 2020…

I usually don’t get into game shows on TV much over the years… used to watch game shows when I was young. Some of the game shows I used to watch were “Family Feud”, “The Price is Right” w/ Bob Barker as host, “Wheel of Fortune” and of course, there’s “Jeopardy”. Alex Trebek was one game show host that I had the most respect for, though. The guy is legend… one game show host who is iconic.

Alex been hosting “Jeopardy” for over 30 years, started in 1984, I think. Ever since then he remained “Jeopardy” host until he couldn’t do it anymore. He definitely did stayed as host until he died. Last year when he went on national TV and told the whole world he was sick with cancer, that was ballsy and it made me respect him even more. Usually famous people keep these things private but Alex was never afraid to be publicly open about this stuff. Even though he was sick with pancreatic cancer, he continued to host “Jeopardy” for a little while but they were tapings due to the pandemic.

He definitely loved hosting the show “Jeopardy”… it was his passion and you can clearly tell that it wasn’t just for the money for him. He definitely loved the supporters and viewers of “Jeopardy”, that was why he went on the show to talk about his cancer publicly ’cause he didn’t want to leave his viewers wondering.

I definitely watched “Jeopardy” a lot over the years. I’m sure we all did. Now that Alex is gone, I don’t see how the show is gonna survive without him, though. Show is probably gonna go on but I predict the ratings will go down and no one will watch… simply because Alex is irreplaceable, ya know? I think they should just cancel the show but they probably won’t.

2020 took another good one. RIP Alex and thanks.

Kev

RIP: Sean Connery 1930 – 2020…

Yes, Sean Connery was mostly known as the original Bond… he played in 6 Bond films in his career. Some of you probably know by now that Sean Connery passed away yesterday on Halloween day. Predictably, when the news came of Sean’s passing… all people are going to be talking about is mostly his famous role as James Bond. He was the first actor to play Bond, the 007 movies.

Just to remind you all that Sean Connery is way more than just James Bond and most people don’t even know he starred in many other great films over the years. His other well known roles which people probably forgotten were Henry Jones Sr. in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Sean only played Henry Jones Sr. once but it was one of his best roles for sure and he was also famous for the role of Captain Ramius in “The Hunt For the Red October” in which he starred alongside Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan. Sean had many other great roles too, though such as “Highlander I and II”, “The Rock” (an action movie that he starred with Nicolas Cage), “Rising Sun”, “Just Cause”, “Entrapment”, “The Untouchables”, etc.

Sean has done movies in pretty much every genre and he wasn’t afraid to star in violent action movies either. I grew up watching Sean Connery movies and every role he has done was enjoyable and entertaining as hell. Not once did he disappoint us with his acting. He killed it in everything he did really. Sean was acting since the 1950’s and retired in early 2000’s with his final film being “The League of the Extraordinary Gentleman”. He never did a live action film ever again after that.

Sean was a genius and he has always been one of my favorites. Loved him in the Highlander movies too which were underrated movies, in my opinion.

2020 took another good one. RIP Sean and thanks for the great films.

Kev

RIP: Eddie Van Halen 1955 – 2020…

Today is a sad day in the rock music world and 2020 did it again. Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso was known to starting the band Van Halen with his brother, Alex. At the start, Eddie and Alex began on the piano at first when they were little kids. Then Eddie got interested in the drums for a little bit until he got interested in the guitar inspired by his brother, Alex. Eddie would learn and practice guitar for hours when growing up. Eddie would even walk around in his home as a teen with his guitar strapped on. Yes, Eddie loved the guitar that much.

Eddie and Alex formed Van Halen in 1972 w/ bassist Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth on the lead vocals. The band released their first record in 1978 which included their hits, “Ain’t Talking About Love”, “You Really Got Me” (the Kinks cover) and their iconic instrumental “Eruption” which became their anthem of some sort.

The band became a commercially successful band in the late 70’s and early 80’s… the Roth era were hit makers and had a string of hits that everyone loves. The band went through some lineup changes over the years and had a few singers come and go. Sammy Hagar joined the band in the late 80’s and stuck with them through the late 90’s. Gary Cherone joined the band as a singer but only made one album with them, “Van Halen III”. Then David Lee Roth re-joined and released their 12th and probably gonna be their last album, “A Different Kind of Truth” released in 2012.

Eddie is one of the most respected guitarists in the history of music. If you play the guitar yourself, you were probably inspired by him. People of all ages loved Eddie’s guitar playing, even little children looked up to him. When you listen to Eddie play, you can’t help but listen and be mesmerized by him. While Eddie was known for his shredding and his two handed-tapping technique, he was also a great rhythm player too which not many people talk about. He wrote some pretty great riffs.

I’ve always been a fan of Van Halen myself. I don’t have all their records but I’ve heard a lot of ’em. I only have a very few Van Halen records in my collection but planning to get more.

Eddie was more than just a guitar genius, he was also a genius at guitar tone and sound. He always knew what he wanted his guitar and amp to sound like. He was definitely a tech genius when it comes to that guitar stuff. I’m sure he played all brands of guitars but one thing no one wants to talk about are his custom signatures that he’s known for… of course, everybody knows his custom Frankenstein guitar with those weird colors but he had other custom guitars too. He also had a few custom guitar amps most notably the 5150. Eddie worked with guitar companies to make him his own guitar signatures. Eddie definitely had a good ear when it comes to sound and tone. He took guitar sound very seriously and was a perfectionist.

Eddie was one of the reasons I play guitar myself, he helped inspired me of course. He’s definitely one of my top 10 favorite guitarists.

Eddie passed today at 65 years old after a long battle with throat cancer. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and his bandmates.

Remember when David Lee Roth said that “Van Halen is finished” and everybody thought he was crazy and never believed him? Well this is a good time for David to say, “I toldyaso”. David wouldn’t talk about Eddie’s health and wouldn’t go any further ’cause he respected Eddie’s privacy. Eddie was a very private man. Everybody knew he had throat cancer but no one knew how he was since he was so private about it. Eddie was one to never talk about his private life publicly and I respect that. He was all about the music.

RIP Eddie and thanks for the great music.

Kev

RIP: “Mean” Gene Okerlund… 1942 – 2019

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There have been many wrestler interviewers in the WWF/WWE over the years. At the top of my head, I can think of other wrestler interviewers such as Kevin Kelly, Jonathan Coachman, Michael Cole, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon Jr. (Vinnie Mac started out as an interviewer/color commentator before becoming a full time performer) and many others but none of them could top what “Mean” Gene Okerlund did.

Mean Gene was the best backstage and in ring interviewer of all time. Without him then WWE/WWF and WCW wouldn’t have gotten so huge in the industry. He was the one who helped get people interested in professional wrestling. That’s what a backstage/in ring interviewer’s job is supposed to do, get people interested and draw in viewers. Gene was the best at that. I’ve always loved to hear his fast-talking voice and the way he spoke. He was enjoyable to listen to when he interviewed wrestlers.

In WWF/WWE, he interviewed everyone on TV from Hulk Hogan to Ultimate Warrior to Macho Man to Roddy Piper to Ric Flair to Bret the Hitman Hart and the list goes on. In WCW, Gene interviewed pretty much all the stars there on TV too: Sting, Lex Luger, DDP, Eric Bischoff and the list goes on.

Even if all wrestlers didn’t get to be interviewed by Gene on TV, they were inspired by him in some way. Mean Gene was an important figure in professional wrestling. All of us looked up to him like a father even the fans. We all watch wrestling and support wrestling ’cause of Mean Gene. “Wrestlemania” wouldn’t have continued on if it wasn’t for this guy.

Mean Gene was the voice of wrestling. Each time you heard him on TV, you can’t help but listen to him. He was that enjoyable. That man was such a professional interviewer. All he would do is just ask the wrestlers the questions and he would let them talk and just listen. Mean Gene was one of the few who helped popularized professional wrestling, there’s no denying that at all. There’s no other interviewer/announcer like him.

Mean Gene certainly loved the business and he loved his wrestlers, you can tell when he does his interviews over the years.

Kev

RIP Stan Lee: 1922 – 2018…

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I wasn’t a huge Marvel fan but I respected Stan Lee the genius that he really was. He was the man who brought us Spiderman, X-Men, The Punisher, Deadpool, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, etc. The list goes on and on. He also had cameo roles in almost every Marvel film there is.

I didn’t read a lot of Marvel comics but I’ve seen plenty of Marvel films over the years.

A sad loss in the world of comics and Hollywood. Thank you Stan for the entertainment.

Kev

RIP Aretha Franklin:1942 – 2018

Like most, I respected her talent over the years myself. I never really bought Aretha’s studio albums but the only music album I own of hers is just the greatest hits album you see pictured above which I listened to a lot. I’m familiar with her famous hits and all the covers she has done over the years.

Aretha’s music was pretty amazing stuff, though especially her music back in the 60’s. Her stuff back then was powerful. She had the pipes back when she was younger. Even though she was a liberal and a Democrat and she sang for the Obamas a few times, my respect for Aretha is immense ’cause she’s a music legend and icon. They don’t call her the “Queen of Soul” for no reason. I never really listened to her new stuff much but her old stuff was pretty sick.

Sad loss in the music world. I loved Aretha too. I listened to that Greatest Hits album above a lot in the past and it was good to listen to it again today. I’m going to have to listen to more Aretha now.

Kev

 

RIP: Vinnie Paul 1964 – 2018…

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Announced this morning by the band Pantera on their official facebook page, the band broke the news that their founding drummer has died. The band didn’t give any more further details as to what happened to him which is understandable. I don’t want to speculate on what happened to him, but I’m sure we’ll know more in the future.

I am pretty bummed about this one ’cause Vinnie Paul was one of the best drummers in metal and he also seemed like a great guy too. While Vinnie was most famous as the drummer in Pantera, he played drums for a few other bands over the years; the other bands he played for were Damageplan, Rebel Meets Rebel and Hell Yeah.

The music industry just lost another legend which pretty much sucks. Now he’s up there jamming with his brother, Dimebag. Thanks for the kick ass drumming, Vinnie.

Kev

RIP: Margot Kidder 1948 – 2018…

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I think I’m pretty bummed about this one. Margot Kidder most famous for playing the role of Lois Lane for the original Superman movies also starring Christopher Reeve. Margot starred in all 4 Superman flicks. While she was the leading co-star in most of the movies, she wasn’t in Superman III all that much. Right after her role of “Superman: The Movie” which made her famous, she starred in the classic horror film “The Amityville Horror” which we all should know about. I also remember she had a role in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II”.

I grew up watching the Superman movies with Chris Reeve my whole life. Seen the 4 movies many times. Now I own the 4 Superman movies in a bluray boxed set which I’m proud to have. While I’m a huge fan of the original Superman films, the first two films will always be the best one in the series. I did like part III and part IV “The Quest For Peace” was just okay.

A sad loss in Hollywood ’cause she was great. I’m sure we all looked up to her ’cause the original Superman movies were important to us all.

Kev

RIP Verne Troyer 1969 – 2018

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Kind of bummed about this one ’cause Verne Troyer was awesome. Yes, like most I’ve first heard about him through the two Austin Powers movie that he starred in alongside with Mike Myers. Verne wasn’t in the first Austin Powers movie but he was in the 2nd and third. I watched all 3 Austin Powers movies and liked all 3 of them. I mostly watch Action and horror movies but sometimes I like a good comedy film.

Verne has starred in other movies besides Austin Powers. He was a stunt man for some films and had small roles in other movies like Harry Potter and Men In Black. Verne was also a big WWE fan as he was a RAW General Manager guest host once in which he did a good job at (see video below).

Even though the guy was an alcoholic for most of his life and had loads of personal problems in his private life, he seemed like a really good dude publicly, though. He seemed like a nice guy for sure even if I never met him.

No cause of death has been announced yet but I’m sure we’ll hear something soon. It was probably alcohol related or suicide. Lot of people speculating suicide but maybe it was something else? Maybe Verne had too much to drink one night and given by the size of his body, his body couldn’t take it. We’ll know what happened soon.

RIP Verne. He was a good one.

Kev