Tag Archives: RIP

Jaki Liebezeit, Butch Trucks RIP


As we come to the end of the first month of the year, rock’s rhythm section has already taken two great hits.

Jaki Liebezeit 1938 – 2017

My first exposure to the music of Can was in 1970 when I heard their debut LP on an import records radio programme. The DJ felt strongly about the album and even featured the side-long track Yoo Doo Right. I was immediately a fan of the incredible sound that this band could make.

After a stint as a jazz drummer with the Manfred Schoof Quintet, Jaki Liebezeit went on to become one of the four core members of Can. The other members were Hoger Czukay (bass), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) and Michael Karoli (guitar). Czukay and Schmidt had both studied with avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and Karoli was a rock guitarist. This made from an eclectic mix of musical influences.

When Liebezeit locked with Czukay’s bass groove, the duo would go on to create an unstoppable force. With this power behind them, Schmidt and Karoli could dive-bomb around the rhythm to create a unique sound.

Jaki would say that his style was an attempt to be “monotonous.” That was far from the case. It was a hypnotic rhythm which was both simple and elegant in its approach.

From the driving beat of Mother Sky (Soundtracks) to the subtleties of Bel Air (Future Days), he could paint a stunning background with which the other members could overlay a foreground of unique and brilliant sounds.

Jaki Liebeziet would go on to play with many other musicians like Brian Eno and also with his own Phantom Band.

He sadly passed away on January 22 due to complications of pneumonia.

Butch Trucks 1947 – 2017

Butch Trucks was one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. From the start, the band was feature two drummers.

Trucks was the steady backbeat of the rhythm section. He was paired with Jaimoe (Jai Johanny Johanson) who added an array of complimentary percussion that would flesh out the backdrop for the band.

Live recordings like the Allman’s classic Live at Fillmore and tracks from the subsequent Eat a Peach showcased the amazing synchronicity between the two players. It would be difficult to imagine the sound of the Allmans without the two of them locked together with a single driving purpose.

Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24.

Chris Squire 1948 – 2015

Bassist Chris Squire was a founding member of the band Yes. He passed away in Phoenix, AZ after recently being diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia.

Yes have been a part of my musical listening experiences for close to 45 years. While I likely heard some music from their first couple of albums on Detroit and Windsor FM radio stations back in the day, it was their third LP – The Yes Album – that really grabbed my attention. Of course, I was not alone.

Squire’s contributions to the sound of the band can not be overstated. His rippling, rhythmic and melodic bass work not only grounded the music but, wove a unique sonic texture throughout the songs. I could never image their music with another bassist in his place.

In addition to his work with the band, he also released the solo album Fish Out of Water at the tail end of 1975. For me, this was the finest solo album to come out of the Yes camp. It’s an LP that I still spin on a regular basis. It still sounds as fresh to me today as it did forty years ago.

Here is a link to his obituary at Ultimate Classic Rock.

Chris Squire - A Fish Out of Water (Atlantic, CAnada)



Bernard Stollman (1929 – 2015)


Bernard Stollman passed away on April 20 at the age of 85. He was the founder of one of the most eclectic record labels that ever existed – ESP-disk.

The roster of artists who recorded for ESP in the 1960s reads like an encyclopedia of the avant-garde musical world. Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Patty Waters, Paul Bley, Burton Greene, Alan Silva, Don Cherry, The Fugs, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders… The list seems endless.

For me personally, if they had only released the Patty Waters album, I would have been more than happy. But, they released so many more interesting and influential records over the course of the years.

Here is a link to Bernard Stollman’s obituary in the New York Times.

ESP-disk website

John Renbourn (1944 – 2015)


In 2015, we lost another one of my favourite musicians. John Renbourn was probably best known as one of the founding members of the band Pentangle (along with Bert Jansh, Danny Thompson, Jacqui McShee and Terry Cox). Together, they created a wonderful addition to the growing folk-rock genre happening in England in the late ’60s into the ’70s.

I saw John Renbourn in concert three times over the years. The first two times were as a solo artist but, the last time (2005) he brought along the wonderful Jacqui McShee to sing. It was a magical night as they performed many familiar numbers (many of which are included on the live LP in the double album set Sweet Child).

After that concert, I was lucky enough to chat with both John and Jacqui. They also signed a few Pentangle LPs for me.

Here is a link to his obituary in The Guardian.




Daevid Allen (1938 – 2015)


Daevid Allen passed away on March 15, 2015. I first heard his music with the group Gong over 40 years ago and acquired many of the albums over the years.

Allen was also a founding member of the band Soft Machine but, left the group early on. Luckily, the early recordings featuring him were recorded for posterity and are still available today.

I never thought that I would have the opportunity to see Gong but, I did manage to finally catch them at a small club in Liverpool called The Lomax in 1997. It was a magical night with the band playing two long sets which included a great deal of the music from their classic era of the early 1970s.

Here is a link to the obituary which appeared on the website of The Guardian.