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Posts Tagged ‘Quicksilver Messenger Service’

Died On This Date (June 1, 2008) Alton Kelley / Famed Psychedelic Rock Poster Artist

Posted by themusicsover on June 1, 2010

Alton Kelley
June 17, 1940 – June 1, 2008

Alton Kelley, was a  graphic artist who created some of the most iconic images in rock history.  Along with partner, Stanley Mouse, Kelly created the “skull and roses” logo for the Grateful Dead.  He was also designed or co-designed album covers or posters for such acts as Steve Miller Band, Journey, Jimi Hendrix, Big Brother & The Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.   He helped launch concert poster as a legitimate art form.  Alton Kelley died after a long struggle with osteoporosis at the age of 67.


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Died On This Date (May 29, 1989) John Cipollina / Quicksilver Messenger Service

Posted by themusicsover on May 29, 2010

John Cipollina
August 24, 1943 – May 29, 1989

John Cipollina is perhaps best known as the lead guitarist for San Francisco psychedelic rock band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, but his great talent was was shared by a list of no fewer than 24 other acts, including the Grateful Dead. He was renowned for the unique sound he developed for his guitar and is considered one of the true architects of the San Francisco psychedelic sound. His impact was later recognized by Rolling Stone who ranked him as the 32nd greatest guitarist of all time. Cipollina died of as a result of chronic emphysema at the age of 45.

What You Should Own

Happy Trails - Quicksilver Messenger Service

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On This Date (April 16, 1999) Skip Spence / Moby Grape

Posted by themusicsover on April 16, 2010

Alexander “Skip” Spence
April 18, 1946 – April 16, 1999

Born in Ontario, Canada, Skip Spence moved with his family to the San Francisco area when he was in his teens.  Although his name might not be familiar to most, he was as much a part of the San Francisco scene as Janis Joplin or Jerry Garcia were.  Spence first came into the scene as a guitarist for Quicksilver Messenger Service, but was quickly recruited by Marty Balin to join Jefferson Airplane as their drummer even though he had never played the drums.  But after just one album, he left the group to co-form Moby Grape, the legendary psych-folk band that some consider the greatest band to ever come out of San Francisco.  Unfortunately, they never lived up to that reputation commercially.  Spence’s “Omaha” from Moby Grape’s debut was included on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.  In 1969, friends began noticing big personality changes in Spence.  One indicator was when he tried to break down a band member’s New York hotel door with an axe to kill him in order to save him from himself.  At the time he was using LSD heavily and claiming to be the anti-Christ.  The band was in New York City recording their second album, and by the time they left, Spence had been admitted to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  His mental stability and continued use of drugs and alcohol only made things worse.  He was all but out of Moby Grape by the ’70s, although they did take care of him as much as they could and generally included at least one of his songs on each of their albums.   Spence spent most of his adult life as a ward of the state of California and was basically homeless in the final years of his life.  He died of lung cancer two days before his 53rd birthday.

What You Should Own

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Oar - Alexander

Posted in Musician, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Died On This Date (March 10, 2010) Micky Jones / Lead Singer & Guitarist For Man

Posted by themusicsover on March 10, 2010

Micky Jones
June 7, 1946 – March 10, 2010

Micky Jones was the founding lead singer and influential guitarist for ’70s Welsh rock band, Man.  They were one of the acts that helped popularize what became known as British “pub rock,” a back-to-basics trend in rock that was also being cultivated by the likes of Brinsley Schwarz, Graham Parker, and Dave Edmunds.   As time passed, Man’s sound grew more psychedelic, often drawing comparisons to the Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service.  In fact, it could be argued that they were the world’s first jamband.  Though relatively unknown in the U.S., the band had several moderate hits in the U.K. and were very popular concert draws.  The original group split up in 1976, but Jones reformed a variation of it in 1980 and continued to make a solid living along the pub rock circuit through the ’90s.  In 2005, Micky Jones was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which lead him to permanently leave the group for treatment.  The cancer ultimately took his life on March 10, 2010.  He was 63.

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Died On This Date (November 16, 1994) Dino Valenti / Popular ’70s Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on November 16, 2009

Dino Valente (Born Chet Powers)
November 7, 1943 – November 16, 1994


Chet Powers was a singer-songwriter who was better known by his professional name, Dino Valenti.  Valenti got his start during the early ’60s in the same Greenwich Village coffeehouses and clubs as Bob Dylan, Josh White and Paul Stookey.  Valenti soon moved to Los Angeles where he penned perhaps his most famous song, “Get Together” (under Chet Powers).  The song would become popularized by Jefferson Starship and the Younbloods.  He soon found himself as a member of San Francisco psychedelic rock band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, but after one of several drug arrests, he was kicked out of the band.  Valenti did return to the band’s fold in later years, contributing several songs.    Valenti underwent brain surgery in 1981, so his future work was limited to local gigs due to the initial brain illness.  He was 57 when he died suddenly in his home on November 16, 1994.

What You Should Own

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Dino Valenti

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