Remembering Phoenix Jazz Legend Margo Reed

Categories: R.I.P.

Courtesy of Patricia Myers
The late Margo Reed.
When Valley jazz singer Margo Reed passed away last month at the age of 73, the beloved vocalist left behind an indelible legacy. And according to her friends, family members, and fans, its one filled with cherished memories and unforgettable performances by one the true gems of Arizona's jazz scene.

Reed, who died on April 15, was revered by many of her fellow musicians because of her incomparable and transcendent singing voice, as well as the way she captivated audiences.

"She had such a real gift," says local jazz vocalist Delphine Cortez, who performed alongside with Reed at such Valley venues as Scottsdale's Kerr Culutral Center over the years. "When Margo sang her songs it was like she was telling a story and she had every emotion, whether it was something that brought people to tears or gave them chills."

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Remembering Space-Alien Donald, Phoenix's Oldest Gay Canadian Rapper

Categories: R.I.P.

Ben Kitnick/Saxon Richardson via Vimeo
Space-Alien Donald as he appeared in Ben Kitnick and Saxon Richardson's 2013 documentary.

Jason Kron vividly remembers his first close encounter with the entity known as Space-Alien Donald.

It's understandable, since getting asked if you were a fellow extraterrestrial is something you don't soon forget. As the local musician and frontman for Hug of War recalls the otherworldly experience, it happened in late 2009 during an ordinary show at Trunk Space, where he was approached between sets by an unusually dressed elderly gentleman who stated he wasn't of this earth and inquired if the same was true of Kron.

"He introduced himself as an alien and asked if I was an alien too. I don't recall exactly how I answered, but I was very flabbergasted because I'd never had that sort of introduction to a person before," Kron says. "When you meet someone who's dressed like nobody one else was and they unapologetically tell you without a wink that they're a space alien, it's very memorable. It was unlike meeting anyone else, ever."

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Dick Wagner, Esteemed Guitarist Who Played with Alice Cooper and Others, Dies in Scottsdale

Categories: Local Wire, R.I.P.

Dick Wagner

Dick Wagner, a guitarist who during his career worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Aerosmith, KISS and the Frost, died at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center this morning. He was 71.

Wagner, a Detroit-bred guitarist, moved to Arizona roughly a decade ago. He had struggled with his health since 2006, when a stroke left him partially paralyzed and threatened to end his playing days. But he recovered and resumed performing in 2011 and was doing so through 2013.

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How Folk Music Changed Pete Seeger and How He Helped Change the World

Categories: R.I.P.

Josef Schwarz via Wikimedia Commons
Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

Pete Seeger, who died on Tuesday at the age of 94, intended to be a journalist. Toward that end, he studied sociology at Harvard, but wanderlust led him away from books and on a bicycle tour of New England.

Ultimately, Seeger's stories were told not in newspaper stories or in books, but in songs -- American songs you know well, even if you don't recognize their names; songs that changed the world.

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Lou Reed Is Dead (1942-2013)

Categories: R.I.P.

Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed from the cover art of his landmark 1972 album Transformer
Tragic news broke this morning of the death of venerated rock 'n' roll vanguard Lou Reed. He was 71 years old. Rolling Stone first reported the passing of the rock and pop legend, who died from unspecified causes, early today in New York. He had undergone a liver transplant earlier this year, although it is currently unknown if it contributed to his death.

As an icon, Reed's influence on both music and popular culture -- from his time with The Velvet Underground and collaborations with Andy Warhol to his solo career that began with the David Bowie and Mick Ronson-produced album Transformer -- over his 49-year career are vast and incalculable.

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Andrew Duncan Brown's Record Label Reveals Cause of His Death

Categories: Music News, R.I.P.

The late Andrew Duncan Brown performs.
Some of the circumstances behind the recent death of local singer-songwriter Andrew Duncan Brown were revealed to Up on the Sun within the last hour via his label Smoking Pirate Records.

According to an e-mail from the Mesa-based label, the 27-year-old musician was found dead on Sunday floating in the swimming pool of a house in Roujan, France, where he was staying. Brown was reportedly in the midst of performing in Europe at the time of his death.

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Amy and Derrick Ross, Bisbee's Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, Have Died

Categories: R.I.P.

Amy and Derrick Ross
In what's already been a bummer of a week for local music after the recent passing of local folk guitarist Andrew Duncan Brown, we have more sad news to report. Amy and Derrick Ross, the Bisbee couple behind popular folk/Americana duo Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, have died.

Amy Ross, 40, died Monday. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the vocalist and keyboard player, who performed as "Whiskey Girl," passed away at Tuscon Medical Center from a "blood infection brought on by ongoing dialysis." She also suffered from Lupus. Derrick Ross, 39, who was "Nowhere Man" in the act and played acoustic guitar, reportedly committed suicide sometime Monday.

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Local Musician Andrew Duncan Brown Passes Away

Categories: R.I.P.

Andrew Duncan Brown (1986-2013)
There's much sadness and shock in the Valley music scene today due to the sudden and untimely passing of gifted, local singer-songwriter Andrew Duncan Brown over the weekend. He was 27 years old.

[Update: His label released a cause of death Tuesday.]

News of the local folk guitarist's death was revealed in a brief message that was posted to his Facebook page early Sunday afternoon that stunned his friends, fans, and fellow musicians.

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Six Innocent Songs Forever Tainted by Breaking Bad

Categories: R.I.P.

All bad things must come to an end, or so we were told by countless teasers and promo adds for the final season of Breaking Bad. Looking back on how we got to the conclusion, it's easy to see all the fantastic attributes that made Bad so good. The writers and directors incorporated stunning visuals and storytelling into every scene, using the limitless New Mexico landscape and an intense spectrum of color to cage its brutal tale. It dared you to accept the unacceptable.

But Breaking Bad's most effective method of delivering its ruthless moments involved transforming once-innocent songs into horror themes worthy of scoring the carnage, the amorality and the destruction of people in everyday walks of life.

Counting down the top six, we can see how music was used throughout the show to enhance some of the moments that might otherwise hit a little too close to home for some.

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Photos from Hollywood Alley's Final Night (1988-2013)

Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
After 25 years of slinging drinks, trashy fun, and rock 'n' fucking roll, the party is finally over at Hollywood Alley in Mesa. All the beer and booze has been exhausted, the last song has echoed through its cavernous sticker-covered interior, and the last pizza has been served.

We dropped by the rock dive on Friday evening to get one more fleeting glimpse of the place, pay our respects, and maybe get in one last round. And while it was a completely opposite scene from the spirited three-night blowout the prior weekend, it still had its moments.

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