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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

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

Categories: 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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

Mesa's Legendary Hollywood Alley to Close on July 31

Benjamin Leatherman
R.I.P. Hollywood Alley (1988-2013)
The proprietors of Hollywood Alley dropped an atomic bombshell on Facebook Thursday afternoon, and its devastating news: The venerated Mesa rock bar will be closing for business on July 31, just shy of its 25th anniversary.

It would be safe to say that the announcement was a massive shock to countless in the metro Phoenix music scene who have been both patrons and performers at the Alley -- which has hosted literally thousands of bands for the past quarter-century -- particularly since plans were afoot for a three-day party next month celebrating the occasion.

More »

R.I.P. Daniel Somers of Lisa Savidge, 1/14/83-6/10/13

Categories: R.I.P.

Melissa Fossum
Dan Somers (right) performing at Lisa Savidge's CD Release Show

Friends and members of the local music community are remembering Daniel Somers, a producer and singer/guitarist of Phoenix rock band Lisa Savidge, as a hardworking, talented musician. Somers, 30, took his own life on Monday, June 10.

The U.S. Army vet had been suffering from nightmares, flashbacks, and hallucinations related to the horrors of war he witnessed during his service from 2003 to 2006.

Somers described in a lengthy suicide note the suffering he endured after completing his military career. He also urged the U.S. government to offer more assistance to other struggling veterans.

"The same government has turned around and abandoned me," he wrote. "They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them."

More »