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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

R.I.P. The Jacka, an Iconic Voice in East Bay Hip-Hop

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 12:27 AM

The East Bay rapper known as The Jacka — born Dominic Newton, though he converted to Islam at a fairly young age and went by Shaheed Akbar for much of his adult life — died Monday night of a gunshot wound in East Oakland, according to several Bay Area news sources. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots around 8:15 p.m. near the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and 94th Avenue, and police responded to the scene soon after.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

R.I.P. Joe Cocker

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Joe Cocker, one of the true greats, 1944-2014.
  • Joe Cocker, one of the true greats, 1944-2014.

Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer known for his unmistakable, gravelly voice, wild stage presence during live performances, and soulful covers of popular rock songs — most notably his rearrangement of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends," which reached No.1 in the U.K. in 1968 (though anyone born after 1980 probably first encountered it as the theme to The Wonder Years) — died today at age 70 after a battle with lung cancer, his publicist confirmed to BBC News

Born in Sheffield in 1944, Cocker began singing at age 12 and played in bands throughout college. At the helm of the Grease Band, he embarked on his first U.S. tour, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and playing Woodstock in 1969. The following year, after dissolving that band, he formed a new group, allegedly to fulfill contractual obligations for another U.S. tour. Thus began the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, a marathon at sprint-pace through 48 cities with 30 musicians, including band leader Leon Russell, three drummers, and highlighting backup singers Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear on vocals — a crew that drummer Jim Keltner later described as "a big wild, party."

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

R.I.P. Bobby Keys: 5 Songs to Honor a Saxophone Great

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Bobby Keys, 1943-2014. - ERIC ENGLAND
  • Eric England
  • Bobby Keys, 1943-2014.
As has been reported elsewhere, Bobby Keys, saxophonist for the Rolling Stones and one of the most in-demand session players of the 1970s, died yesterday at the age of 70. 

Though best known for his work with the Stones, Keys cut a staggering, zigzagging path through rock history, touring and recording with greats like Buddy Holly, John Lennon, The Faces, Marvin Gaye, Dr. John, Harry Nillson, Chuck Berry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, Joe Cocker, and George Harrison, among many others. At a time of heavy cross-pollination between American and British blues, and rock and soul musicians, Keys and trumpet player Jim Price could frequently be found providing a solid backbone to a chorus or ripping a rhythmic, driving solo. 

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Monday, November 3, 2014

RIP Wayne Static: The Metal World Mourns

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 9:55 AM

click image AMAZON
  • Amazon

Expressions of shock and sadness flooded social media over the weekend, as the rock world learned of the sudden passing of Wayne Wells, a.k.a. Wayne Static, best known for his work with popular L.A. metal outfit, Static-X. The news was announced in the early hours of Sunday morning via the band's Facebook page, but offered few details about the vocalist's passing. 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

There Goes Another One: The Uptown In Oakland Will Close Next Week

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM

The Uptown
  • The Uptown
In an already sad week for Bay Area clubs, Larry Trujillo, owner of The Uptown on Telegraph (not to be confused with the Mission dive), has confirmed the bar/venue will close its doors for good a week from today, after "the King of Surf Guitar" Dick Dale plays his scheduled show Nov. 5. 

The club, with a capacity of 300, has a prime location in the middle of Oakland's booming Uptown district — though that name wasn't quite so widely used, nor was the area highly attractive to young people, when The Uptown first opened in 2005.

According to Trujillo and financial partners Ray Yeh and Robbin Green-Yeh (who came on board when the club re-opened in 2007, after a rocky first year and a half caused the club to close temporarily), the venue is simply no longer financially viable: Green-Yeh told the Oakland Tribune that in 2014 alone, the team had spent $70,000 in "unexpected infrastructure bills." 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Richie Havens' Soothing Voice Rescued the Beginning of Woodstock

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Richie Havens in 1972.
  • Richie Havens in 1972.

Richie Havens was an old soul, singing with the voice of an ancient wise man even when he was young. Every artist strives to find their own voice, but it seemed to come naturally to Havens. His deep sandpaper and honey baritone came from some inner place of power and transformation. He was able to make every song he sang his own. Havens gained a national following when he played the Monterey Pop Festival, but it was his performance on the first day of the Woodstock Festival, Friday, August 15, 1969, that made him an international presence.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng Dies at 42

Posted By on Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM


Music fans in Northern California and across the globe are in mourning today after the sad death of Deftones bassist, Chi Cheng, early Saturday morning. Chi had been in a partially-conscious state after a car crash in 2008, but bandmates, friends and fans never gave up hope that the Sacramento musician and poet would recover and return full-time to the band he had helped found. Cheng was 42.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

R.I.P. Robert Zildjian, Founder of Sabian Cymbals

Posted By on Mon, Apr 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM



Cymbal-making was in Bob "RZ" Zildjian's blood. As the first generation of his family to be born on American soil, he helped shepherd in a new era of Western prosperity for the 350-year-old family brand. And when tradition got in the way of his career and aims for Zildjian, he cemented his reputation as a passionate innovator by founding Sabian -- now the second biggest cymbal manufacturer in the world.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

R.I.P. Steve Brodsky, Beloved S.F. Music Manager and Promoter

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Steve Brodsky with his wife, Anna.
  • Steve Brodsky with his wife, Anna.

Steve Brodsky, an artist manager, show promoter, and executive who left his mark on many aspects of the San Francisco music scene, passed away Friday night of complications from leukemia. He was 34.

Among other endeavors, Brodsky worked with local acts like Wallpaper., Midi Matilda, and others with David Lefkowitz at Figurehead Management. Brodsky was also involved in helping launch the WillCall concert app. Prior to becoming an artist manager, Brodsky worked with Mr. Roboto Presents, a promotion outfit that put on shows by YACHT, A-Trak, Too $hort, the Morning Benders, Justice, Mos Def, and many others in San Francisco.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Patti Page: What Did She Mean By "Throw Mama From the Train?"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Patti Page, R.I.P.
  • Patti Page, R.I.P.

I'm staggering through Walgreens Wednesday night, my brain in slo-mo, and my body numb. I'm getting a cold and I'm hoping to diminish its severity with some mass-produced placebos. My head is thick, the walls are moving and the floor is tilted. I come to a shelf packed with various remedies all promising instant relief. I blink my eyes, trying to focus, when suddenly a familiar voice comes floating through the air, singing a song I haven't heard in decades:

"Throw mama from the train a kiss, a kiss

Wave mama from the train a goodbye...."

At first, I think I'm hallucinating. The garbled syntax of the lyric echoes my own muddled thinking, but then the old memory cells kick in and I'm transported back to my youth.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"