Thursday, 24 March 2016

Vale Lemmy

Inimitable frontman for Motorhead and former bass player for Hawkwind, Lemmy has died at age 70 after a short battle with illness.

Lemmy's rock and roll lifestyle has never been up for debate. Indeed, he never hid his vices either. The faster and louder aesthetic was, in a sense, a musical reflection of how he lived. However, he always seemed unflappable. He always seemed as though he was rock solid. Despite the fact he often sang about living in the moment and not giving a shit about tomorrow, it felt like he'd be around forever.

From a musical standpoint, his bass playing was more akin to a rhythm guitar player. Heavily strummed with a pick and played at massive volume, it had its own unique sound. You knew instinctively, as soon as it starts, that it's Motorohead.

The last album Motorhead released, "Bad Magic" was issued in 2015 when Lemmy was 69. It's one of the loudest and heaviest things the band have ever done. There was no signs of slowing down, or even changing the well-worn formula. Age did not weary him.

Vale Lemmy. Thanks for the music.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Vale Stevie Wright

Stevie Wright, aka Little Stevie, vocalist for the Easybeats, has died at the age of 68 on 27th December 2015, due to complications of Pneumonia.

Stevie was born in Leeds, England in 1947 and migrated to Australia at age 9. He joined as the Vocalist of the Easybeats with fellow migrants at the Villawood Migrant Hostel in Sydney when he was 17 (in 1964).

It's remarkable that by the time he was 22, the Easybeats had ceased to exist and he was, for all intents and purposes, a washed-up rock star. He did some theatre work in the form of Jesus Christ Superstar with John English and then had his biggest solo success with the albums "Hard Road" and "Black Eyed Bruiser" in 1974-5 before being dropped by Vanda and Young at Albert Productions for being heavily addicted to narcotics.

Sadly, Stevie's addiction held him down for the better part of two decades. It is well documented elsewhere the depths the addiction took him, the battles with electro-shock therapy moreso, so I don't need to go into them here. The only surprise to most is that he made it this long.

His contribution to Australian music cannot be understated. His charisma was fiery stage presence was of that, of not greater than that of John Lennon, if Molly Meldrum is correct (and I don't doubt it).

Those early Easybeats singles are still visceral and exciting 50 years later. Later tracks like "Evie" and "Guitar Band" crackle with soul. It was a real shame he couldn't go the distance. At one point he was viewed as the likely successor to Bon Scott in AC/DC, but with the addiction...

Vale Stevie. Thanks for the music.