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Posts Tagged ‘Nirvana’

Died On This Date (June 3, 2012) Bobby Durango / Rock City Angels

Posted by themusicsover on June 3, 2012

Bobby Durango
DOB Unknown – June 3, 2012

Photo by Janiss Garza

Bobby Durango is perhaps best remembered as the lead singer of the ’80s hard rock band, Rock City Angels.  Formed out of the ashes of a punk band called the Abusers – Durango performing as Bobby Bondage, Rock City Angels eventually morphed into a glam-by-way-of punk band that built a sizable following on their home turf of South Florida.  By the late ’80s, they found themselves in Hollywood and Durango was going by Bobby St. Valentine.  Numerous line up changes later, including a stint with pre-21 Jump Street Johnny Depp on guitar, the band caught the attention of Geffen Records who signed them to a lucrative deal.  The band released their debut album, Young Man’s Blues in 1988 and subsequently toured with the likes of Joan Jett and the Georgia Satellites before focusing on their second album.  Unfortunately for bands like Rock City Angels, it was the early ’90s and bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and their grunge brethren to the north, were starting to draw kids – and record labels – away from the hair and post-hair metal bands of the Sunset Strip, so Geffen dropped them before their new album came together. The band eventually broke up but reunited to record Use Once & Destroy in 2001.  Durango continued on with the group, in one form or another, for the better part of the next decade and were reportedly working on a new album to be released in late 2012.  But Bobby Durango passed away unexpectedly on June 3, 2012.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Janiss Garza for the assist.

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Died On This Date (July 7, 1993) Mia Zapata / The Gits

Posted by themusicsover on July 7, 2010

Mia Zapata
August 25, 1965 – July 7, 1993

Member of the 27 Club

Mia Zapata was the powerful lead singer of the highly influential Seattle punk band, the Gits.   As a child growing up in Louisville, Zapata was exposed to music by some of the greatest voices in America, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.  While at a Ohio college during the mid ’80s, Zapata co-founded the Gits.  In 1989, the band moved to Seattle to be closer to what was quickly becoming a scene of like-minded bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney.  The band quickly built a local following partly due the release of a handful of solid singles and their critically acclaimed debut album, Frenching The Bully.   Things appeared to be on the verge of taking off for the band when tragedy struck.  In the early morning hours of July 7, 1993, Zapata left a friend’s apartment to presumably walk or catch a cab home.  She never made it.  Police reports indicate that she was beaten, raped and strangled at approximately 2:15 am, her body left in a “Christ like” pose in the middle of the street.  Her murder would go unsolved for ten years until a DNA match linked a Florida man to the crime.  He was convicted of Mia Zapata’s murder on March 25, 2004

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Frenching the Bully - The Gits

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Died On This Date (April 5, 1994) Kurt Cobain / Nirvana

Posted by themusicsover on April 5, 2010

Kurt Cobain
February 27, 1967 – April 5, 1994

Member of the 27 Club

Kurt Cobain and his band Nirvana were unleashed in 1989 and many say they, along with Pearl Jam, almost single-handedly changed what the world then knew as rock music. They created a dirty, flannel and jean-wearing beautiful mess that combined equal parts punk, metal, alternative rock, disillusionment and apathy. It would become know as “grunge” and dealt a fatal blow to “hair metal,” the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the last days of disco. Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in 1987. They were signed to Sub Pop Records who released their debut,  Bleach in 1989. Their drummer at the time was Chad Channing but he was soon replaced by Dave Grohl whose pounding assault was exactly what the band needed to take their message beyond the dimly lit clubs of Seattle. Two years later, the band released their amazing Nevermind album which included the radio and video hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a song so revered that it even earned a parody from Weird Al Yankovic.  While all this was going on, Cobain met and fell in love with Courtney Love of the band, Hole. They were wed on February 24, 1992 and had their first and only child later that year. Cobain appeared to be in a very happy place even though many Nirvana fans resented his relationship with Love, some comparing her to Yoko Ono and her perceived role in breaking up the Beatles. Needless to say, Cobain continued to struggle with his own internal demons (both mental and physical) in spite of, or perhaps because of all the “positive” changes in his life. His drug problems are already well documented, so need to go into them here.   On March 1, 1994 while on tour in Munich, Love woke up one morning to find Cobain had overdosed on champagne and Rohypnol. Love later declared that this was Cobain’s first attempt at suicide. After apparent struggles (he claimed he was fine) back home in Seattle, Cobain agreed to go to rehab in Los Angeles. He checked in on March 30th, but just one day later, he hopped the fence and took a plane back home to Seattle. Over the next couple of days there were various Cobain sightings in Seattle clubs, but his family had no idea where he was. Love reached out to a private detective to help find him. On April 8th, Cobain was found dead.  The police ruled his death a suicide by shotgun wound. The date of death was declared to be April 5, 1994.

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Nevermind - Nirvana

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Died On This Date (April 5, 2002) Layne Staley / Alice In Chains

Posted by themusicsover on April 5, 2010

Layne Staley
August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002

layne-staleyLayne Staley was the lead singer of hair band killers, Alice In Chains.  The band was part of a new musical movement that exploded out of Seattle in the early ’90s.  It was called Grunge and Alice In Chains ruled alongside Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nirvana.  It married the best elements of metal with punk and spoke to millions of disaffected teens of that era.  Staley’s voice separated them from the pack.  It was metal but it was also rock god.  On stage, he quickly became one of the generations most captivating front men.  Sadly, as the band’s success soared in the mid ’90s, so did Staley drug habits.   And it only got worse in 1996 when his fiance died of drug abuse.  As the decade came to a close, Staley was mostly invisible to fans of Alice In Chains, making sporadic contributions to soundtracks and such.  On April 19, 2002, Staley’s lifeless body was found in his condo by his mother and step father.  He was surrounded by various drugs and paraphernalia.   The autopsy concluded that he had died of a deadly dose of heroin and cocaine, or “speedball.”  The coroner determined the official date of death as April 5, 2002, two weeks before he had been found.  It was amazingly eight years to the day after Kurt Cobain died just as tragically.

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Dirt - Alice In Chains

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Died On This Date (December 6, 1949) Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter

Posted by themusicsover on December 6, 2009

Lead Belly (Born Huddie Ledbetter)
January 20, 1888 – December 6, 1949

leadbelly

Huddie Ledbetter, or as he was better known, Leadbelly (which he spelled, Lead Belly) was a Louisiana-born folk and blues singer, songwriter and musician whose catalog of songs included many that have since become folk and blues standards.  That list includes, “Cotton Fields,” “Goodnight Irene,” and “Midnight Special.”  Those and others have been recorded by such divers artists as of the Weavers, the Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, the White Stripes, Ministry and Nirvana.  From an early age, Lead Belly honed his skills by absorbing the field songs he heard as he traveled the southern states for work.  He also had first hand experience learning prison hollers by spending two separate terms incarcerated, once for murder, and the second, for attempted murder.  Each time he was pardoned by the governor by literally singing his way to freedom.  While in Angola Prison for his second crime, he was recorded by musicologists, John Lomax and Alan Lomax, who helped facilitate his pardon.   Lead Belly then moved to New York where the Lomax’s helped him land a contract with Columbia Records.  Although he found plenty of press as the “singing convict,” his records never sold much initially.  He did, however find an audience in Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie who helped introduce his music to new audiences during their careers.  Lead Belly continued to struggle financially, and in 1939, he found himself in jail for stabbing a man during a fight.  Alan Lomax again helped him by raising money for his defense.  He ended staying in jail for a couple of more years.  By the middle of the ’40s, he found himself immersed in New York’s blossoming folk scene, playing with the likes of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.  In 1949, Lead Belly, 61, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease of which he died on December 6, 1949.

What You Should Own

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Where Did You Sleep Last Night: Lead Belly Legacy, Vol. 1 - Lead Belly

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