RIP Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died at the age of 82 as first confirmed by his music label, Sony Music Canada. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.” Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet.

Cohen’s haunting bass voice, nylon-stringed guitar patterns and Greek-chorus backing vocals shaped evocative songs that dealt with love and hate, sex and spirituality, war and peace, ecstasy and depression. He was also the rare artist of his generation to enjoy artistic success into his Eighties, releasing his final album, You Want It Darker, earlier this year. Leonard Norman Cohen was born on September 21st, 1934, in Westmount, Quebec. He learned guitar as a teenager and formed a folk group called the Buckskin Boys. Early exposure to Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca turned him toward poetry – while a flamenco guitar teacher convinced him to trade steel strings for nylon. After graduating from McGill University, Cohen moved to the Greek island of Hydra, where he purchased a house for $1,500 with the help of a modest trust fund established by his father, who died when Leonard was nine. While living on Hydra, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964) and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966).

Frustrated by poor book sales, and tired of working in Montreal’s garment industry, Cohen visited New York in 1966 to investigate the city’s robust folk-rock scene. He met folk singer Judy Collins, who later that year included two of his songs, including the early hit “Suzanne,” on her album In My Life. His New York milieu included Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground, and, most importantly, the haunting German singer Nico, whose despondent delivery he may have emulated on his exquisite 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen. His next two albums, Songs From a Room (1969) and Songs of Love and Hate (1971), benefited from the spare production of Bob Johnston, along with a group of seasoned session musicians that included Charlie Daniels. During the Seventies, Cohen set out on the first of the many long, intense tours he would reprise toward the end of his career.

Cohen’s relationship with Suzanne Elrod during most of the Seventies resulted in two children, the photographer Lorca Cohen and Adam Cohen, who leads the group Low Millions. Cohen was well known for his wandering ways, and his most stable relationships were with backing singers Laura Branigan, Sharon Robinson, Anjani Thomas, and, most notably, Jennifer Warnes, who he wrote with and produced (Warnes frequently performed Cohen’s music). After indulging in a variety of international styles on Recent Songs (1979), Cohen accorded Warnes full co-vocal credit on 1984’s Various Positions. Various Positions included “Hallelujah,” a meditation on love, sex and music that would become Cohen’s best-known composition. Cohen returned to the label in 1988 with I’m Your Man, an album of sly humor and social commentary that launched the synths-and-gravitas style he continued on The Future (1992).

In 1995, Cohen halted his career, entered the Mt. Baldy Zen Center outside of Los Angeles, became an ordained Buddhist monk and took on the Dharma name Jikan (“silence”. Cohen broke his musical silence in 2001 with Ten New Songs. To replenish the funds that his longtime manager, Kelley Lynch embellished from his account, Cohen undertook an epic world tour during which he would perform 387 shows from 2008 to 2013. He continued to record as well, releasing Old Ideas (2012) and Popular Problems, which hit U.S. shops a day after his eightieth birthday. In October 2016, he released You Want It Darker, produced by his son Adam. Severe back issues made it difficult for Cohen to leave his home, so Adam placed a microphone on his dining room table and recorded him on a laptop. Cohen was survived by his two children and two grandchildren.

Death Of CDs

I saw a plastic bag filled with some music cds in the common room (where we keep a bunch of stuff, like books in the shelves, a steel cupboard with clothes, iron board and mini storage). It must have put in the bag been around the time I cleaned out my old steel cupboard in my room (last year in July) and sold most if not all of my cds and a bunch of cheap dvds to save space. My music cds (I have everything backed up on hard drives in mp3 format as that what I listen my music and haven’t play the cds in ages) were mostly all sold but apparently a few were still left behind.

20161027_133354There’s a few loved cds from some awesome artists like Pearl Jam, Neil Young & Nickleback. Artists that I swear by and have been a fan of for years (in case of Pearl Jam and Neil Young, a couple of decades) and under previous circumstances I would have only parted with them over my dead body. I remember a time when I had a huge cassette collection that was the envy of many rockers like me (alphabetically ordered) and later a nice, sizeable cd collection. However storing them in a small apartment is another thing when compared with the large house we used to live in. When we moved here in 2006 I knew that storing and keeping a large cds collection plus a dvd collection was going to be very difficult.

So I burned all my cds into my hard disk, then saved a copy on an external hard disk for safety. And for many years I only listened to the mp3s and never the cds. It makes sense to sell the cds as long as I had backups. And backup of the backup! And then sell the cds. Now I had more space for my display cases.

But looking at these cds made me nostalgic for the times when I would spend hours looking throw cassettes and cds of musical artists in music stores across the city. It was a simpler time I guess and I loved it. Now, all I have to do is buy the digital copy online and in a few minutes, voila! the mp3s are in my hard disk. But no physical copy and no cd cases and no cds art work. That is a shame in one way. Oh well, we can always download the artwork with pics of the artists I guess.

Where’s The Music?

I’m feeling sad while looking at some of my cds. I am a big music fan and I love my music collection but everything I have is on mp3 format. I either get them online in mp3 format or buy cds and rip them onto my hard disks in mp3 format. I think the last time I bought and played a music cd was back in 2009! 2009, that’s 7 years ago!

I currently have about 57GB worth of music in about 10,500 mp3 files on my laptop and I have a copy of them on an external hard disk. That’s a lot of music and a lot of songs. I barely listen to them anymore now though. I blame Youtube for that. Youtube had gotten me fixated on live versions of the songs that I like hence I listen to song mostly on Youtube. I have come to prefer the different live versions of rock songs by bands and musicians that I like. With some exceptions ofcourse. Also Youtube has a much larger access to musicians that you may never have heard of but are super talented and do either awesome covers or originals that you’ll like.

So I look at the cds that I have and will probably sell off at a local store here. Most of them at least in prime condition. Blame it on the times, cds are done for the most part.

RIP Charmiane Carr

Charmaine Carr who played the oldest daughter in Sound Of Music has died. She was 73. The Chicago, Illinois, second child of vaudeville actress Rita Oehmen and musician Brian Farnon, was best American actress and singer best known for her role as Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp daughter in the film. While a student at San Fernando High School, Carr was a cheerleader and played basketball and volleyball. Carr was attending San Fernando Valley State College, studying speech therapy and philosophy, and working for a doctor, when her mother arranged for her to audition for a role in The Sound of Music.

She won the role of Liesl over Geraldine Chaplin, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Lesley Ann Warren and Sharon Tate. Carr appeared in Evening Primrose, a one-hour musical written by Stephen Sondheim, which aired on ABC Stage 67 in 1966. The male lead was Anthony Perkins. Carr worked with Van Johnson on a pilot for a television program, Take Her, She’s Mine. She wrote two books, Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl. She reunited with many of her co-stars from The Sound of Music on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2010 to celebrate the film’s 45th anniversary. In 2014, Carr recorded “Edelweiss” with the great-grandchildren of the von Trapps on the album “Dream a Little Dream” by the Von Trapps and Pink Martini.

he owned and operated an interior design firm, Charmian Carr Designs, in Encino, California. Her clients included Ernest Lehman, screenwriter for The Sound of Music; Michael Jackson, who hired her because he was a fan of the film; and other cast members from the film. Carr married a dentist, Jay Brent, and left show business. She and Jay had two daughters, Jennifer and Emily. Later on she became the grandmother of two grandchildren: Emma and Derek. Carr died in Los Angeles on September 17, 2016, from complications related to dementia.

Farewell & Thank You Gord

From Gordon Downie’s final concert here is New Orleans Is Sinking live in Kingston, Ontario. A fond farewell to a poet and singer extraordinaire. Gord is dying of terminal cancer and does not have much longer to live. I was lucky to get a good stream this morning and catch the ending of the concert.

Cue the Violins

If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album?

I must have mentioned something before but oh well – tune the electric guitars, tune the drums and tune the keys. My life’s soundtrack is hard rock n heavy metal! I want soaring loud guitar solos and pounding drums. Music from Metallica, Guns n Roses, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Rush, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Dream Theatre, Led Zepplin, Deep Purple, etc etc. Some ballads and some rockers and some instrumentals too – a la Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen!

Lots of other bands and songs out there from my childhood to today that I love and I can find exact moments to pay certain moments. When I was happy, sad, angry, horny, in love, loved, hated, hating, lonely, pensive, crazy and tired. My life’s story can be told in songs from rock n’roll.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Gord Downie Diagnosed With Terminal Brain Cancer

2016 is hell bent on killing as many celebrities and beloved people as possible. Gord Downie, the frontman for the Tragically Hip and one of Canada’s biggest rock stars, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The band announced the news on its website on Tuesday. “We have some very tough news to share with you today, and we wish it wasn’t so.” The diagnosis, they said, had come in December. “Since then, obviously, he’s endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard. In privacy along with his family, and through all of this, we’ve been standing by him.”

The band, which has been together for more than three decades, was formed at an Ontario high school in the early 1980s. The group swiftly became a mainstay on the Canadian music scene, releasing 13 studio albums – nine of which reached No 1 in Canada – and winning 14 Juno awards, which recognise excellence in Canadian music. The group was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Downie, 52, has also released three solo albums. Downie’s doctor, James Perry, said on Tuesday that the musician had undergone surgery and six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation after being diagnosed with an invasive brain tumour known as glioblastoma. Downie has so far responded well to treatment, but the tumour is impossible to completely remove from the brain, said Perry. “It’s my difficult duty today to tell you Gord Downie’s tumour is incurable.”

The Tragically Hip said plans were in the works for Downie and the band to tour Canada this summer, despite the diagnosis. “This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us … So we’re going to dig deep and try to make this our best tour yet.” The tour will coincide with the release of the band’s latest album, Man Machine Poem. The Tragically Hip will unveil their tour dates later in the week. The 14-time Juno Award-winning group – the most ever for a band and the fourth-most ever for an artist at the annual Canadian music awards – remain a beloved marquee act in their native country.

RIP Nick Menza

The former drummer with the US thrash metal band Megadeth, Nick Menza, is reported to have died after collapsing on stage at a gig in California. Menza, who was 51, is said to have suffered a heart attack during one of his regular sessions with his band OHM at a small Los Angeles jazz club, the Baked Potato. Mike Simpson, a fan who said he was at the gig, reported that Menza collapsed before the third song in the band’s set. “ I was watching his band OHM at the Baked Potato tonight and he collapsed on stage. Paramedics were saying it looked like a heart attack,” he wrote. Menza, son of a jazz musician, played with Megadeth on several of its most successful albums in the early 1990s, including Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia. He left the band when he had to have knee surgery during a tour for the 1997 album Cryptic Writings. He had been playing regular sessions at the Baked Potato club with the band OHM, founded in 2002 by another Megadeth veteran, guitarist Chris Poland.

The professional drummer best known for his work in Megadeth from 1989 to 1998 and in 2004.[2] He recorded drums on four of Megadeth’s albums: Rust in Peace (1990), Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994) and Cryptic Writings (1997). Beginning his professional musical career at the age of 18 drumming in the band Rhoads featuring singer Kelle Rhoads, brother of the late Randy Rhoads, Nick released his first record with Rhoads called Into the Future in Europe. Moving on to session playing including styles ranging from R&B to gospel, funk and heavy metal, recording with the likes of John Fogerty, Nick caught the attention of then Megadeth drummer Chuck Behler and became his tech. When Megadeth needed a drummer in 1989, Nick Menza was asked by Dave Mustaine to join the band. Mustaine noted that Menza previously filled in on drums when Behler was unable to. Menza first played live with Megadeth on May 12, 1988 in Bradford, England. This prior experience and personal relationship led to the invitation to join Megadeth for the 1990 recording Rust in Peace.

During his stint in Megadeth, Nick also played drums on his bandmate Marty Friedman’s three solo albums Scenes (1992), Introduction (1994), and True Obsessions (1996). By the summer of 1998, while the band was still touring in support of Cryptic Writings, Menza was having knee problems and sought medical advice. He was informed he had a tumor, which was later found to be benign, and had it removed. As a result, Megadeth hired a temporary replacement by Jimmy DeGrasso rather than cancel any dates. When the time came to record a follow-up album, Menza was not asked back and DeGrasso became the band’s official drummer. Menza has said in several interviews that, while in the hospital recovering from knee surgery, he received a phone call from Mustaine that simply said “Your services are not needed anymore”. After his departure, he began work on Menza: Life After Deth with guitarist Anthony Gallo,[5] bassist Jason Levin and guitarist Ty Longley. Following the reissue of the entire Megadeth catalog, Menza was invited to reunite with Megadeth in 2004. Days after a reunion was announced Menza was fired after rehearsals and replaced with Shawn Drover. Dave Mustaine said that this was because Nick “just wasn’t prepared” for a full scale US tour, physically.

In April 2006, Menza joined the Los Angeles-based metal band Orphaned to Hatred.[9] The group describe their sound as “a continuation of the heavy style of ’90s Pantera”. He left the band in late 2010. n March 2011, Menza appeared in a music video for Mindstreem’s “We Up Next” a song originally written by current SIN 34 guitarist Anthony Gallo featuring Tony Lanza and Daniel Wayne Jr. on Vocals. The actual recording is Menza (drums), Gallo (guitars), Gregg Babuccio (bass), and Tony Lanza and Daniel Wayne jr. (vocals).

RIP Prince

The 80s music icon Prince, had huge hit songs such as “Kiss” and “Purple Rain” and defied the music industry in a fight for creative freedom, died Thursday. The 57-year-old singer was found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said. Paramedics tried to perform CPR but were unable to revive him, the sheriff said. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., less than 30 minutes after sheriff’s deputies responded to a medical call at the scene. Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death, Olson said. An autopsy is scheduled to take place Friday.

Earlier this month, hours before he was set to go onstage, the singer postponed two shows he’d been scheduled to perform at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta as he was battling the flu. A week later, he took the stage in Atlanta to perform two concerts with 80-minute sets, unusually short for him. Between 1985 and 1992, he released eight albums, one per year, including the soundtrack for Tim Burton’s “Batman.” He starred in two more movies during that era: “Under the Cherry Moon” and “Graffiti Bridge.” He also put out a concert film. “Sign ‘o’ the Times” hit theaters in 1987. He infamously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in the 1990s during a dispute with his record label, Warner Bros. He started to become known then as the “Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” In 2000, when the singer’s publishing contract with the company expired, he reclaimed the name Prince.

Prince won seven Grammy Awards and earned 30 nominations. Five of his singles topped the charts and 14 other songs hit the Top 10. He won an Oscar for best original song score for “Purple Rain.” The singer’s predilection for lavishly kinky story-songs earned him the nickname “His Royal Badness.” He was also known as the “Purple One” because of his colorful fashions. Prince has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. But let me be honest – I never thought he was half as great as all that. I used to get irritated at his personality and the man thought too highly of himself and he was ludicrous at times. He did have a few songs that appeal to me but those are few and far behind yet the fact that he has passed away brings another icon from the time of my childhood and teens dying.