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Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Thunders’

RIP, Mike Kellie (January 19, 2017) Drummer For Spooky Tooth & The Only Ones

Posted by themusicsover on January 19, 2017

Mike Kellie
March 24, 1947 – January 19, 2017

Photo credit: Joe Vitale

Mike Kellie was an English drummer who found acclaim with, primarily, Spooky Tooth and the Only Ones.  Born in Birmingham, England, Kellie was self-taught and began playing in the St. Michael’s Youth Club band while in his teens. It wasn’t long before he was asked to join Wayne and the Beachcombers, his first “real” band.  In 1967, Spooky Tooth was launched with Kellie on drums. Although it would change line-ups throughout the years, at the time it included Gary Wright, Greg Ridley and Keith Emerson.  The band’s second album, Spooky Two is considered a classic rock staple and spawned their most popular songs, “Waiting For The Wind,” “Evil Woman,” and “Feelin’ Bad.”  In 1976, Kellie joined the Only Ones, an influential power pop/new wave band that was a far cry from the more proggy sounds of Spooky Tooth.  The band released three studio albums for CBS Records. Their most famous record was 1978’s “Another Girl, Another Planet.”  The song has since been heard in numerous movies and commercials, and has been recorded by Blink-182, the Lightning Seeds, and the Replacements to name a few.  Throughout the balance of his career, Kellie was on board for a reunion or two by Spooky Tooth and the Only Ones, while being in demand as a session player.  He can be heard drumming on records by the likes of Johnny Thunders, the Who, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Traffic and George Harrison.  Mike Kellie was 68 when he passed away on January 19, 2017.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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Died On This Date (July 13, 2004) Arthur “Killer” Kane / New York Dolls

Posted by themusicsover on July 13, 2010

Arthur Kane
February 3, 1949 – July 13, 2004

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Arthur “Killer” Kane was the original bassist for the New York Dolls, the ’70s glam proto-punk band that unknowingly launched thousands of bands in their fiery wake.  Just after graduating high school, Kane joined Actress, a group that consisted of future Dolls, Billy Murcia, Johnny Thunders and Rick Rivets.  When Thunders grew tired of being lead singer, David Johansen came on board and the band was rechristened, New York Dolls.   Sylvain Sylvain soon followed.  Influenced equally by American R&B, punk, early Rolling Stones and the Detroit rock of the Stooges and MC5, the Dolls, delivered a sonic blast of primitive rock ‘n roll and a dynamic stage show fronted by the wild antics of Johansen.  And as in-your-face as Johansen was, Kane stood stoic by his side, earning the tagline, “the only living statue in rock-and-roll.”  In 1975, Thunders and Nolan left and Kane was fired, leading to the break-up of the band.  Not really able to get much going post-Dolls, Kane moved to Los Angeles and for the most part, moved on from music. In the late ’80s, Kane became a Mormon and eventually found work in their Family History Center at their Los Angeles temple.  In 2004, Morrissey offered the surviving Dolls (Kane, Sylvain, and Johansen)  a slot at the Meltdown Festival in London.  The band reunited, for the show and went on to record their first album in over 30 years.  Sadly, just three weeks after the Meltdown show, Kane went to a Los Angeles hospital believing he caught the flu on the trip.  He learned he actually had leukemia and was dead within a few hours.  A fascinating and heartfelt documentary entitled New York Doll chronicles Kane’s post Doll’s life and his reunion with the band.

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Died On This Date (April 23, 1991) Johnny Thunders / New York Dolls

Posted by themusicsover on April 23, 2010

Johnny Thunders (Born John Genzale Jr.)
July 15, 1952 – April 23, 1991

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Born in Queens, NY, Johnny Thunders formed his first band while in high school.  At the time, he went by the name Johnny Volume, and that band was Johnny and the Jaywalkers.   By the late ’60s he was hanging out down around Bleeker Street where he hooked up with Arthur “Killer” Kane and Billy Murcia.  Their first band together was called Actress, but when David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain came on board a couple of years later, the name was changed to New York Dolls, Johnny Volume became Johnny Thunders, and the rest is history.  The Dolls released two albums that were virtually ignored by the public (including most of those that now claim to have been fans back in the day…you know, just like the Ramones).  By 1975, the band had broken up, but they would continue to strongly influence bands like the Sex Pistols and Guns ‘n Roses, and whatever crawled out of the gutter in between.  Thunders went on to form the Heartbreakers with former Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan and Richard Hell.  They recorded on and off until 1984, at one point moving to London where they were very popular with the up-and-coming punk bands.  Thunders also recorded a few solo albums during this time, including the awesome So Alone, which featured a stellar cast of allegedly drug-fueled guests including Phil Lynott, Steve Marriott, Paul Cook, Steve Jones, and Chrissie Hynde.  The album featured the beautifully sad and perhaps autobiographical  “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory.”  All the while, Thunders himself was falling deeper into the clutches of heroin abuse.  In 1991, while in New Orleans, Johnny Thunders was found dead in his hotel room.  Although the cause of death was never stated in the autopsy, it was widely assumed that he died of a methadone abuse.  Not without controversy, others have sworn that foul play was involved, pointing to strong evidence that he was killed perhaps by drug dealers who were after his large stash of methadone.  It was also reported that the autopsy revealed he was suffering from advanced stages of leukemia.  Whatever the case,  local police never bothered to open a criminal investigation.

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Died On This Date (April 17, 2009) Sable Starr / 1970s Super Fan and Scenester

Posted by themusicsover on April 17, 2010

Sable Starr (Born Sable Shields)
1958 – April 17, 2009

sable-starrFollowing in the tradition of Miss Pamela, Sweet Sweet Connie and Cynthia Plaster Caster, Sable Starr loved rock music and at times the rock musicians that moved her.  She ruled ’70s Los Angeles and no doubt left many a-broken heart in her wake.  Some may refer to her as a “groupie” but Starr transcended that by being part of a select club who have been memorialized in song.  Iggy Pop’s “Look Away,” written about Johnny Thunders’ relationship with Starr includes the lines, “I slept with Sable when she was 13 / Her parents were too rich to do anything / She rocked her way around L.A. / ‘Til a New York doll carried her away / Look away Look away.”  By the time Sable was in her early teens, she was holding court in Hollywood’s hippest spots, from Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco to the Whiskey a Go-Go; from the Rainbow to the Sunset Hyatt.  She befriended the likes of Iggy Pop, Marc Bolan, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, David Bowie and Johnny Thunders with whom she moved to New York around 1973.  What she thought was to be a long life with Thunders quickly fell apart mostly due to his escalating drug use.  Their  relationship ended with her slitting her wrist and being brought to Bellevue.  She was soon living back with her parents in Los Angeles.  She eventually dropped out of the scene, went back to school and lived a mostly “normal” life.  In later years, Starr moved to Las Vegas and worked as a dealer at a casino.  She died of cancer on April 17, 2009 at the age of 51.

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Died On This Date (March 26, 2006) Nikki Sudden / English Post Punk Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on March 26, 2010

Nikki Sudden
July 15, 1956 – March 26, 2006

nikkiNikki Sudden was an English post-punk singer-songwriter who, along with his brother Epic Soundtracks, built a loyal following in Swell Maps and later Nikki Sudden & the Jacobites.  Fans gravitated toward Sudden’s music due in part to its sound that was noticeably influenced by early Stones, Faces, T.Rex and Johnny Thunders.   Sudden died after a show on March 26, 2006.  He had been working on a new album which was released later that year.

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