Monday, January 1, 2018

In Memoriam, Part Three: Scott Putesky to Jessi Zazu

Scott Putesky a/k/a Daisy Berkowitz
Scott Putesky a/k/a Daisy Berkowitz
The same year that saw an orange-colored buffoon elevated to the highest position in the land also saw another 365 days of loss and tragedy. Last year was absolutely brutal in terms of musician deaths, and while 2017 tried its best to beat the Reaper, we still lost far too many talents from the ranks of the visionary. Our “In Memoriam” feature is so large again this year that I’ve broken it down into three parts, with each artist's age at death in parentheses. To follow is in tribute to the artists that have made the music we love...

In Memoriam, Part One: John Abercrombie to Dennis Dragon
In Memoriam, Part Two: Roger Ferguson to Paul O'Neill

Scott Putesky (49)
Better known as “Daisy Berkowitz,” Scott Mitchell Putesky was the longtime guitarist for shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, contributing to the development of the band’s Gothic-tinged industrial-rock sound from the band’s inception in 1990 through the 1996 album Antichrist Superstar. Taking his stage name from The Dukes of Hazzard’s Daisy Duke and serial killer David Berkowitz, Putesky left the band half-way through the recording of Antichrist Superstar due to creative differences with band frontman Manson (a/k/a Brian Warner). Over the past 20 years Putesky performed and recorded with a number of bands including Three Ton Gate, Jack Off Jill, the Daisy Kids, and under his nom de plume, Daisy Berkowitz, none of which achieved the notoriety of his original outfit. 

Larry Ray (63)
Larry Ray was founding guitarist of the retro garage-rock outfit Outrageous Cherry. Formed in 1991 in Detroit by Ray and guitarist Matthew Smith (of the Volebeats), Outrageous Cherry released a dozen albums featuring the band’s acclaimed mix of psychedelic-drenched rock, power-pop, and garage-rock, the most recent of which was 2014’s The Digital Age. Ray also played with the bands the Ivories and the Spike Drivers before his death from lung cancer.

George Reiff (56)
A talented bass player, the Austin, Texas based musician was best known as a member of Joe “King” Carrasco’s band, but also played with guitarist Charlie Sexton and a number of local outfits. Reiff was also a popular producer, working on albums by Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shinyribs, and others through the years.

Black Flag bassist C’el Revuelta
C’el Revuelta

C’el Revuelta (56)
Black Flag bassist C’el Revuelta passed away on May 3rd from brain cancer. Revuelta did not appear on any official Black Flag records, replacing Kira Roessler for the band’s 1986 tour with guitarist Greg Ginn, singer Henry Rollins, and drummer Anthony Martinez and appearing in the Dave Markey 1991 documentary film Reality 86’d. Revuelta returned in 2003 for a handful of Black Flag reunion shows with Ginn. Revuelta’s tenure with the band was captured by the bootleg Last Show album and on the Program: Annihilator compilation LP. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Revuelta’s medical expenses.

The Roches
Maggie Roche (65)
One-third of the vocal trio known as the Roches with her sisters Terre and Suzzy, Maggie Roche was a unique vocalist and songwriter who performed from the mid-‘70s until her death. The band is best known for their self-titled 1979 debut album, released by Warner Brothers, produced by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and featuring the talents of Crimson’s Tony Levin and Synergy’s Larry Fast. The Roches would release a dozen albums over the course of their career, and Maggie would collaborate with sister Terre for a pair of albums, including 1975’s Seductive Reasoning for Columbia Records. Maggie also recorded a pair of albums with sister Suzzy for the Red House label in 2002 and 2004.

Dave Rosser (50)
Guitarist Dave Rosser became a member of the Afghan Whigs when the band reformed in 2014, contributing to their 2014 album Do To the Beast as well as the band’s 2017 album In Spades. Rosser had previously played in Whigs’ frontman Greg Dulli’s musical side projects the Gutter Twins and the Twilight Singers. Rosser had also served as a composer and guitarists on albums by Ani DiFranco, Joseph Arthur, and Tim Heidecker.

Johnny Sandlin (72)
Johnny Sandlin began his career as a musician as drummer with a band called the Five Minutes before joining Hour Glass with Duane and Gregg Allman. Sandlin would later work as a session musician in Miami, playing drums, bass, and guitar before moving to the other side of the glass to become known as a recording engineer and producer. The legendary producer helped shape classic albums like Johnny Jenkins’ Ton-Ton Macoute!, the Allman Brothers Band’s Brothers and Sisters and Eat A Peach, and Gregg Allman’s Laid Back solo LP. Sandlin became the de facto house producer for Southern rock specialists Capricorn Records, working on albums by artists like Elvin Bishop, Cowboy, Hydra, Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Bramlett, Wet Willie, and the ABB’s Dickey Betts. Sandlin also produced albums by artists as diverse as Widespread Panic, the Dixie Dregs, and Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit.  

Mark Selby's More Storms Comin’
Mark Selby (56)
Born in Enid, Oklahoma but later relocating to Nashville, talented guitarist Mark Selby was an in-demand session musician, a hit songwriter, and a modestly-successful solo artist with several albums released by Vanguard Records, including 2000’s critically-acclaimed More Storms Comin’. Selby wrote a string of hits with bluesman Kenny Wayne Shepherd, including the award-winning “Blue On Black.” Selby also co-wrote the Dixie Chicks’ first #1 single, “There’s Your Trouble,” with his wife Tia Sellers, earning the Chicks a Grammy® Award. The pair also had hits recorded by artists like Wynonna, Trisha Yearwood, Jo Dee Messina, and Keb’ Mo’ and Selby lent his talents to recordings by Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd, among others.

Barry Eugene “Frosty” Smith (71)
Barry Eugene “Frosty” Smith was a beloved member of the Austin, Texas music community. The talented drummer performed and recorded with local artists like Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Soulhat, Roky Erickson, Greezy Wheels, Jimmie Vaughan, Delbert McClinton, and many others. Born in Bellingham, Washington but raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Smith made a name for his talents with his contributions to Lee Michaels’ self-titled 1969 album and 1970’s Barrel before co-founding the band Sweathog, which enjoyed a national hit in 1971 with the song “Hallelujah,” Smith recording a pair of albums with Sweathog before the band broke up. Smith would later play with Funkadelic, Rare Earth, and Sly & the Family Stone before moving to Austin for the lengthy and successful second chapter of his storied career.

Raging Slab
Elyse Steinman (N/A)
Founding member of hard rockers Raging Slab, guitarist Elyse Steinman passed away after a three-year battle with cancer. The guitarist performed and recorded with the band until her death. Described in a 1989 Guitar World magazine review as “Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Metallica,” Raging Slab was formed in 1983 and released a pair of indie label albums – 1987’s Assmaster and 1988’s True Death – before being signed by RCA Records, which released the band’s self-titled label debut in 1989. Steinman and band vocalist/guitarist Greg Strzempka purchased a farm in rural Pennsylvania with their RCA money and built “Slabby Road,” the band’s personal recording studio. Other members lived on the farm and they recorded a pair of albums – From A Southern Space and Freeburden – neither of which RCA would release, the label disagreeing with the band’s musical direction.

Producer Rick Rubin, an early fan of the band, would buy out the remainder of their RCA contract and Raging Slab recorded their Def American debut, Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert, with producer Brendan O’Brien. Rubin refused to release the band’s second Def American album, Black Belt In Boogie, and their third and final album for the label, 1996’s Sing Monkey, Sing!, was released on the re-named American Recordings imprint and would be under-promoted as the label lost its distribution deal. Waiting out the end of their contract, Raging Slab finally signed with Tee Pee Records for a pair of albums, the most recent being 2002’s Pronounced: Eat Shit. Over the course of a career that would span four decades, Steinman and Raging Slab would tour with artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Monster Magnet, White Zombie, Molly Hatchet, and Guns N’ Roses.    

Rick Stevens (77)
Early-period Tower of Power member Rick Stevens provided lead and backing vocals to the Oakland band’s 1970 debut album East Side Grease and he would take over the microphone from Rufus Miller for the band’s 1972 breakthrough album Bump City. Stevens left Tower of Power after the release of Bump City, performing with another Bay Area band, Brass City, but he would fall prey to drug addiction and, in 1976, was convicted of three murders. Stevens would spend 36 years in prison, converting to Christianity and counseling other inmates before he was paroled in 2012.

Marvell Thomas (75)
The son of Memphis R&B legend Rufus Thomas and brother of Stax Records artist Carla Thomas, Marvell made a name for himself as a talented session keyboardist and producer. Thomas first started playing in the studio at age 17 and can be heard on Stax recordings by William Bell, Clarence Carter, and Wilson Pickett as well as his father and sister. Thomas also recorded sessions at Muscle Shoals with artists like Albert King, the Staple Singers, Little Milton, and Etta James, among others. Thomas co-produced and played on Isaac Hayes’ classic Hot Buttered Soul, toured with the Temptations, and would later become Peabo Bryson’s music director.

Allman Brothers Band's The Fillmore Concerts
Claude Hudson “Butch” Trucks (69)
Drummer Butch Trucks was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida Trucks lent his talents to a number of regional bands before joining the ABB in 1969. In spite of the legendary band’s many break-ups and reformations, Trucks and his steady, assured timekeeping was a constant presence throughout the Allman Brothers Band’s lengthy, 45 year career. Paired with fellow drummer Jaimoe (a/k/a Jai Johanny Johanson) in the band, the two percussionists created a unique rhythmic signature for the Allmans that was crucial to the band’s overall sound.

Trucks never strayed from the band’s fold to pursue a solo career, but after the ABB’s final bow in 2014, he led a band called Butch Trucks & Very Special Friends which subsequently evolved into Les Brers, which included Jaimoe and other ABB members. Trucks also performed with a band called Butch Trucks & the Freight Train Band. Trucks was also related to other musicians; his nephew Derek Trucks, was a longtime member of the Allman Brothers Band and later formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Another nephew, Duane Trucks, played drums for Widespread Panic and Hard Working Americans while Trucks’s son, Vaylor, plays guitar with Atlanta’s The Yeti Trio.

Robert “Bilbo” Walker (80)
Robert “Bilbo” Walker, Jr. was born in Clarksdale in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and, inspired by artists like Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, and Chuck Berry, taught himself guitar, piano, and drums. He began playing professionally as a teenager in and around Clarksdale, but began making trips to Chicago and forming a band with bassist David Porter. Walker inevitably moved to Chicago, where he lived and performed for 17 years. After playing a gig in Bakersfield, California Walker decided to relocate to Southern California, buying farmland and growing cotton and watermelons while playing shows in the region as well as in Chicago and Mississippi. Walker only released three albums over the span of his lengthy career, including the critically-acclaimed 1997 set Promised Land for the Rooster Blues label. Walker also appeared in the 2015 documentary film I Am The Blues, which also featured fellow Mississippi bluesmen Bobby Rush, Henry Gray, and Jimmy “Duck” Holmes.

Pete “Overend” Watts (69)
‘Overend’ Watts was a founding member of British rock legends Mott the Hoople, the bassist contributing to all seven of the band’s studio albums between 1969 and 1973. When Mott guitarist Mick Ralphs left for Bad Company and singer Ian Hunter left the band to pursue a successful solo career, Watts and drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin formed the British Lions, the band releasing two moderately-successful albums in 1977 and 1982. Watts would later move into the studio, producing albums by Hanoi Rocks, Kirsty MacColl, XTC, and the Mission U.K. 

Leo Bud Welch's Live at the Iridium
Leo “Bud” Welch (85)
Mississippi Hill Country bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch enjoyed a notable last chapter in a career spent largely out of the spotlight. Working for better than 30 years on a logging crew, Welch honed his craft by teaching himself guitar, harmonica, and fiddle and playing parties, picnics, and juke joints; when the audience for blues music waned, Welch moved towards a bluesy Gospel style and began playing churches. “Discovered” by Bruce Watson of Big Legal Mess Records, Welch recorded his debut album, a Gospel-leaning disc titled Sabougla Voices, at the age of 82 years; a bluesier album titled I Don’t Prefer No Blues, co-produced by Watson and musician Jimbo Mathus, was released in 2015. Welch became an in-demand festival performer, and his Live at the Iridium album was released in early 2017 by Cleopatra Records. Welch was also the focus of the critically-acclaimed 2017 documentary Late Blossom Blues – The Journey of Leo “Bud” Welch.

John Wetton (67)
Bassist John Wetton was a prog-rock MVP who played in a veritable “who’s who” of British rock bands, lending his undeniable talents as a singer, songwriter, and bassist to bands like Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, and Uriah Heep. Wetton was a co-founder of the late ‘70s prog-rock “supergroup” U.K. and of ‘80s-era hitmakers Asia, and was co-writer of the band’s huge international hit “Heat of the Moment.” Wetton was also an accomplished solo artist with better than a dozen live and studio albums to his credit and, as an in-demand session player, lent his bass to recordings by Roxy’s Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera, Family’s Roger Chapman, Brian Eno, Peter Banks (Yes, Flash), and Steve Hackett of Genesis, among others. Most recently, Wetton collaborated with his Asia bandmate Geoff Downes under the band name Icon.

Steve Wright (67)
Bassist with the Greg Kihn Band, Wright co-wrote a number of the band’s U.S. hits like “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em),” “Happy Man,” “Jeopardy,” and “Reunited.” Wright performed with Kihn from 1976 to 1996.

George Young (71)
Born in Scotland but moving to Australia as a teenager, George Young was a member of ‘60s-era rockers the Easybeats, writing classic songs like “Friday On My Mind” and “Love Is In The Air” with collaborator Harry Vanda. Young was also the older brother of AC/DC’s Malcolm and Angus Young, and he and Vanda would produce that band’s first few albums. Vanda and Young’s creative partnership extended beyond the Easybeats to include the ‘70s-era band Flash and the Pan, which scored a hit in 1976 with “Hey, St. Peter.” Vanda and Young also produced albums by John Paul Young (no relation), Rose Tattoo, and the Angels and had songs recorded by artists as diverse as David Bowie, Grace Jones, INXS, and Pat Travers, among others.

Malcolm Young
Malcolm Young photo courtesy AC/DC
Malcolm Young (64)
Although it wasn’t entirely unexpected, we’re still devastated by the loss of AC/DC founder Malcolm Young at the too-young age of 64 years. Young had been suffering from dementia and other health problems for years, which forced him to retire from the band in 2014. Young will be remembered as a hard rock and heavy metal pioneer, a talented rhythm guitarist who was the driving musical force behind AC/DC, the band he formed with his younger brother Angus in 1973. [read full obituary]

Jessi Zazu (28)
Jessi Zazu was one of two frontwomen for Nashville-area country-punk band Those Darlins. The niece of country star Steve Wariner, Zazu was raised in the industry and Those Darlins – whose sound is described by All Music Guide as “somewhere between Shonen Knife, the Shangri-Las, and the Carter Family” – would record three critically-acclaimed albums and tour with artists like the Black Keys, Wanda Jackson, and Jon Spencer as well as performing at SxSW and Bonnaroo. Blurt magazine did a feature on the band in 2013 after the release of their third album, Blur the Line.

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