Tag Archives: Celebrity/musician deaths

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

RIP Dolores O’Riordan 1971 – 2018

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Heartbreaking news to report today that the leader singer of the Irish alternative rock band called The Cranberries just passed away suddenly today. Her name was Dolores O’Riordan. The Cranberries were an Irish alternative rock band who were big hit makers… they made songs that we all know and love. If you grew up through the 90’s like I did then you probably heard songs like “Dreams”, “Linger”, “Ode To My Family”, “Zombie” and others. MTV were obsessed with their videos and the FM radio stations all over the country were obsessed with their hits during the 90’s.

I used to be a big fan of them when I was in high school. Used to own their first two albums but don’t own them anymore, though. I used to listen to them a lot when I was a teenager. I got into the band ’cause like everyone else it was Dolores’s phenomenal voice that drew me into them. She did have a unique singing voice and she could play the guitar.

Already it’s a sad start for the new year in 2018. This is why you should support your music artists and give them as much love as possible ’cause you never know how long they’ll stay with us.

RIP Delores and thanks for the great music.

Kev

 

RIP: Malcolm Young 1953 – 2017

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Like most, I was pretty bummed to hear the news of the passing of Malcolm Young. He was the longtime rhythm guitarist and founder of the hard rock band, AC/DC. Angus and Malcolm formed the band AC/DC together in 1973.

If you play the guitar whether electric or acoustic then chances are, you’ve probably played AC/DC songs on it. Well, that was all the work of Malcolm Young. Yes, it was MOSTLY Malcolm that wrote AC/DC’s catalogue of music. Malcolm wrote AC/DC songs with his brother Angus, but it was Malcolm who did most of the work. Pretty much, Malcolm was the primary songwriter of the band. All those songs: “It’s A Long Way to the Top If You Want to Rock N’ Roll”, “Highway to Hell”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells”, “Back In Black” etc. It was Malcolm that wrote all those tunes. Sure, Angus helped a little bit, but I remember him saying in an interview that all Angus mostly done was play solos and extra licks for the songs. Everybody wants to mistakenly believe it was Angus who did all the work, but it was all Malcolm. It was Malcolm who brought Ac/Dc a lot of success for the band. Like most bands, Ac/Dc started off as a local band in Australia before becoming a big institution like they are now.

I love Ac/Dc. Always did and always will. Ac/Dc was one of the bands that made me want to become a musician. They helped inspire me to pick an up an electric guitar. I love both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras. I dig all of their music. I admired Ac/Dc so much ’cause they never changed their style of music over the years. They’ve had the same style since the 70’s.

What I love about Ac/Dc is that all of their songs are very simple. Malcolm’s riffs were mostly simple chords. Yeah, all Ac/Dc mostly played guitar wise was mostly power chords and basic open chords but still they wrote killer songs! Ac/Dc proved that you don’t need to be a perfectionist when writing rock n’ roll.

Ac/Dc had fans of people of all ages from little children to full grown adults. I wonder what’s going to happen now that Malcolm is gone? Will they continue or will they break-up? I’m sure we’ll hear from Brian Johnson to see what he says. Angus and Malcolm never did interviews with the press that much. It was always Brian doing interviews for the band so I’m sure we’ll hear from him again soon.

I think it’s a possibility we’ll get one more studio album by Ac/Dc ’cause they’re probably gonna wanna make an album dedicated to Malcolm.

Kev

RIP: Tom Petty 1950 – 2017

I  didn’t want to post this tribute/obit to Tom Petty right away ’cause I was waiting for official confirmation on what was going to happen to him. Yesterday evening, there was a big debate in social media on whether or not Tom Petty was dead. Rumours were swirling social networking that he died after being hospitalized due to being in full  cardiac arrest. The media rushed in to announced his death without official confirmation which helped sparked the debate on whether he was dead then the media retracted the death reports after TMZ stated he was still clinging to life. Later on that evening, Tom’s manager and family confirmed his death and the Heartbreakers officially announced it themselves on their FB page.

Like most, this is a heartbreaker for me too. Tom Petty was a hero of mine musically. He was a big influence in my own singing and songwriting. Yeah, Tom was a hitmaker for sure. He wrote a lot of great hits, but he has tons of other great obscure songs that were never played on the radio. Do you listen to Tom Petty for the hits or for his albums? Well, I listened to him for his albums ’cause he was a phenomenal songwriter. I’ve listened to his music for years. Heard every studio album he did. Shamefully, I never got to see him live in concert when I always wanted to.

Tom Petty got his start in music when he formed his first band called, Mudcrutch. The band Mudcrutch signed a record deal, but it didn’t go so well for them ’cause their first single bombed in sales. They were forced to break-up, and this lead to Tom Petty forming the Heartbreakers later. The Heartbreakers released 13 albums with Tom, and Tom released 3 solo albums. Tom also did two records with the Travelling Wilburys (a supergroup he formed with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne), and then Tom reunited Mudcrutch not too long ago and they released two albums together. Yes, The Mudcrutch album, Mudcrutch 2 was Tom’s final project before he passed. Tom was a pretty hard working musician over the years of his life. Making records and touring pretty heavily; that was pretty much all he did.

I had great respect for him immensely. He was part of the reason I wanted to write my own songs. If you want to know more about Tom Petty’s life and career, watch the “Running Down a Dream documentary on Netflix. Tom Petty was a rock n’ roll genius for sure… everything he did was so good.

Will Tom’s record labels release one more Tom Petty album whether it will be with the Heartbreakers or his solo stuff? We’ll wait and see. I’m sure we will get one more Tom Petty studio album. I’m sure the Heartbreakers are gonna search in their vault ’cause I’m sure the band have plenty of songs that they threw away. They’ll do something for him.

Enjoy my Tom Petty cover tribute video below where I cover the song, “You Wreck Me”. I’m thinking of doing a few more Petty covers too.

RIP Tom and thanks for the kickass music.

Kev