The Rolling Stones show support for Mick Jagger following death of L’Wren Scott

Getty Picture

Getty Picture

Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts release statement after apparent suicide of frontman’s girlfriend on Monday (March 17)

Mick Jagger’s bandmates in The Rolling Stones have shown their support for the frontman following the death of his partner L’Wren Scott earlier this week.

Keith Richards express his shock at the news of Scott’s apparent suicide of Jagger’s partner on Monday (Match 17), in a statement given to Billboard.”No-one saw this coming,” said guitarist Richards. “Mick’s always been my soul brother and we love him… we’re thick as thieves and we’re all feeling for the man.”

“This is such terrible news and right now the important thing is that we are all pulling together to offer Mick our support and help him through this sad time,” adds Ronnie Wood. “Without a doubt we intend to be back out on that stage as soon as we can.

“Meanwhile, drummer Charlie Watts echoes the need to be there for his friend. “Needless to say we are all completely shocked but our first thought is to support Mick at this awful time,” he said.The Rolling Stones postponed the rest of their 14 On Fire tour of Australia and New Zealand following the death of Scott. The band plan to reschedule the dates.

A list of the dates affected by the postponement can be found here. Promoters urge fans with tickets to hold on to their tickets for the rescheduled shows.Jagger released his own statement following the news of Scott’s death in which said he was “struggling” to understand what had happened and that he had been “touched” by tributes and messages of support he has received.

Dear Mick: May memories console you and bring you strength in the days to come.

Unruly Hearts NYC

The Strange Death of Gram Parsons: 1973

American singer and songwriter Gram Parsons may have rather been known for his music than a burning body in the desert. Watch video below.

The Strange Death of Gram Parsons: 1973

Published by ebni byrds watchers

To read about the last Gram Parsons tour and album, see Gram Parsons & the Fallen Angels: 1972-1973. This section covers the death of Gram Parsons in some detail. Although his music is by far the most vital part of the Gram Parsons story, his death is the first introduction to that story for many people. Perhaps some of those looking to read about that death will be persuaded by other parts of the profile to check out his music too. So think of this section as being sort of like sex education… Since the events of that day are the subject of so many myths, mistakes, and mysteries, better to describe frankly those events (as best as they can ever be known now) than to have people believing the even wilder gossip they pick up on the street.

Joshua Tree:

The foursome arrived Monday, September 17, 1973. That day they indulged sufficiently that Martin returned to Los Angeles the next morning to score more marijuana — even though Martin theoretically went along on the trip so he could look after Parsons. Parsons dragged the women out to the airport for lunch, throughout which he drank Jack Daniels non-stop.

When they returned from lunch, McElroy excused herself — she couldn’t drink because she was recovering from hepatitis, and she wasn’t having any fun watching Parsons drink.

Meanwhile, Parsons scored some heroin in town and then topped it off with morphine he acquired from a drug connection, who was staying at the Inn. Several hours later, a wasted Fisher showed up at McElroy’s door in a frantic state. Parsons had overdosed, she said. They grabbed some ice and went to Room 1, where he was passed out on the floor, blue. There Fisher revived him with an ice cube suppository — an old street remedy for overdoses. When McElroy left the two alone again, he was walking around the room, seemingly recovered.

After another hour or so, at about 10:00, Fisher returned to McElroy’s room and asked her to sit with the sleeping Parsons while she went out to get some dinner. McElroy grabbed a book and went to Parsons’s room — Room 8. After a few minutes, she realized that his breathing had gone from normal to labored. McElroy had no experience with drug overdoses and no training in CPR. Believing (incorrectly) that there were no other people in the hotel, she never called out for help. Instead she tried to get him breathing again by pumping his back and his chest and giving him mouth-to-mouth. “I tried to figure out whether to stay and keep him breathing or leave and get some help…. I figured if I left, he might die.

After about a half hour of futile pumping and pushing, McElroy realized that Parsons was probably beyond help. At this point Margaret Fisher returned, then left to call an ambulance. The rescue crew arrived quickly, but concluded that CPR would not be successful. They got Parsons to the nearby Hi-Desert Memorial Hospital in Yucca Valley by 12:15 AM. The doctors there found no pulse and, after trying unsuccessfully to restart his heart, declared him dead at 12:30 AM, Wednesday, September 19, 1973.

The press were told that Parsons had died of natural causes, but after performing an autopsy, the coroner listed the cause of death as “drug toxicity, days, due to multiple drug use, weeks.”* A blood test showed a blood alcohol level of 0.21% — high, but nowhere near fatal standing alone. No morphine showed in the blood test, though it did turn up in more than trace amounts in urine and liver tests. The urinalysis also revealed traces of cocaine and barbiturates. Since substances may accumulate in the body over a long time, it’s unclear from the urine and liver tests whether Parsons used morphine, cocaine or barbiturates that day.

Fisher and McElroy were questioned by the police at the hospital. McElroy called Phil Kaufman in Los Angeles, who persuaded the sheriff that he could answer all their questions as soon as he arrived. The sheriff then permitted Fisher and McElroy to stay at the motel until Kaufman arrived. When Kaufman got to the hotel, the women gave him Parsons’s drugs, which they had gathered up before the ambulance and police arrived.* Kaufman took the drugs and hid them in the desert, then called the police station. He promised the police he would bring McElroy and Fisher in for further questioning, then piled them in his car and drove them straight back to LA, where he hid them out for a few days. The Joshua Tree police never sought out the two women.

Both Margaret Fisher and Alan Barbary, the son of the hotel owners, told conflicting versions of that night’s events, which added to the confusion and exaggeration that soon surrounded the death of Gram Parsons.

To read about the last Gram Parsons tour and album, see Gram Parsons & the Fallen Angels: 1972-1973. This section covers the death of Gram Parsons in some detail. Although his music is by far the most vital part of the Gram Parsons story, his death is the first introduction to that story for many people. Perhaps some of those looking to read about that death will be persuaded by other parts of the profile to check out his music too. So think of this section as being sort of like sex education… Since the events of that day are the subject of so many myths, mistakes, and mysteries, better to describe frankly those events (as best as they can ever be known now) than to have people believing the even wilder gossip they pick up on the street.

The foursome arrived Monday, September 17, 1973. That day they indulged sufficiently that Martin returned to Los Angeles the next morning to score more marijuana — even though Martin theoretically went along on the trip so he could look after Parsons. Parsons dragged the women out to the airport for lunch, throughout which he drank Jack Daniels non-stop.

When they returned from lunch, McElroy excused herself — she couldn’t drink because she was recovering from hepatitis, and she wasn’t having any fun watching Parsons drink.

Meanwhile, Parsons scored some heroin in town and then topped it off with morphine he acquired from a drug connection, who was staying at the Inn. Several hours later, a wasted Fisher showed up at McElroy’s door in a frantic state. Parsons had overdosed, she said. They grabbed some ice and went to Room 1, where he was passed out on the floor, blue. There Fisher revived him with an ice cube suppository — an old street remedy for overdoses. When McElroy left the two alone again, he was walking around the room, seemingly recovered.

After another hour or so, at about 10:00, Fisher returned to McElroy’s room and asked her to sit with the sleeping Parsons while she went out to get some dinner. McElroy grabbed a book and went to Parsons’s room — Room 8. After a few minutes, she realized that his breathing had gone from normal to labored. McElroy had no experience with drug overdoses and no training in CPR. Believing (incorrectly) that there were no other people in the hotel, she never called out for help. Instead she tried to get him breathing again by pumping his back and his chest and giving him mouth-to-mouth. “I tried to figure out whether to stay and keep him breathing or leave and get some help…. I figured if I left, he might die.”

After about a half hour of futile pumping and pushing, McElroy realized that Parsons was probably beyond help. At this point Margaret Fisher returned, then left to call an ambulance. The rescue crew arrived quickly, but concluded that CPR would not be successful. They got Parsons to the nearby Hi-Desert Memorial Hospital in Yucca Valley by 12:15 AM. The doctors there found no pulse and, after trying unsuccessfully to restart his heart, declared him dead at 12:30 AM, Wednesday, September 19, 1973.

The press were told that Parsons had died of natural causes, but after performing an autopsy, the coroner listed the cause of death as “drug toxicity, days, due to multiple drug use, weeks.”* A blood test showed a blood alcohol level of 0.21% — high, but nowhere near fatal standing alone. No morphine showed in the blood test, though it did turn up in more than trace amounts in urine and liver tests. The urinalysis also revealed traces of cocaine and barbiturates. Since substances may accumulate in the body over a long time, it’s unclear from the urine and liver tests whether Parsons used morphine, cocaine or barbiturates that day.

Fisher and McElroy were questioned by the police at the hospital. McElroy called Phil Kaufman in Los Angeles, who persuaded the sheriff that he could answer all their questions as soon as he arrived. The sheriff then permitted Fisher and McElroy to stay at the motel until Kaufman arrived. When Kaufman got to the hotel, the women gave him Parsons’s drugs, which they had gathered up before the ambulance and police arrived.* Kaufman took the drugs and hid them in the desert, then called the police station. He promised the police he would bring McElroy and Fisher in for further questioning, then piled them in his car and drove them straight back to LA, where he hid them out for a few days. The Joshua Tree police never sought out the two women.

Both Margaret Fisher and Alan Barbary, the son of the hotel owners, told conflicting versions of that night’s events, which added to the confusion and exaggeration that soon surrounded the death of Gram Parsons.

Safe at Home:

When the news of his stepson’s death reached Bob Parsons, he immediately realized that his own interests would be best served by having the body buried in Louisiana, where the senior Parsons lived. Parsons knew that under Louisiana’s Napoleonic code, his adopted son’s estate would pass in its entirety to the nearest living male — Bob Parsons — notwithstanding any will provisions to the contrary. But the code would only apply if Bob Parsons could prove that Gram Parsons had been a resident of Louisiana. Burying the younger Parsons in New Orleans would bolster the tenuous arguments for Louisiana residency. Bob Parsons booked a flight to LA to claim the body. At stake was his stepson’s share of the dwindling but still substantial Snively fortune.

When Phil Kaufman learned of the plan to bury his friend in New Orleans, he became distraught. He knew that Parsons had no connection whatsoever to that city. He knew that Parsons had little use for his stepfather, and would not have wanted any of his estate to pass to him. He knew that Parsons had not wanted a long, depressing, religious service with family and friends. Most of all he knew he had made a pact with Parsons, at the funeral of Clarence White: whoever died first, “the survivor would take the other guy’s body out to Joshua Tree, have a few drinks and burn it.”

After a day of vodka-enhanced self-recriminations, Kaufman decided he had to try to make good on his promise. Thus began one of the most unforgettable episodes of what hackers call “social engineering.” For the full story, check out Kaufman’s biography, Road Mangler Deluxe, which describes the whole episode in Kaufman’s own inimitable fashion. What follows is only a taste of Kaufman’s tale.

Kaufman called the funeral parlor in the town of Joshua Tree and managed to learn that the body would be driven to LAX and then flown on Continental to New Orleans. He called the airline’s mortuary service and found out that the body would arrive that evening. Kaufman recruited Michael Martin, who knew about the pact, and commandeered a hearse of Dale McElroy’s, which she and Martin used for camping trips. It had no license plates and several broken windows, but it would do. They tried on suits, but decided they looked so ridiculous that they changed into their tour clothes — Levi’s, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and jackets with the legend “Sin City” stitched on the back. They loaded the hearse up with beer and Jack Daniels and headed for LAX.

Kaufman and Martin arrived at the loading dock just as a flatbed truck rolled up with the Parsons casket. A drunken Kaufman somehow persuaded an airline employee that the Parsons family had changed its plans and wanted to ship the body privately on a chartered flight.

While Kaufman was in the hangar office, signing the paperwork with a phony name, a policeman pulled up, blocking the hangar door. Kaufman was sure his operation would be shut down, but the officer didn’t do anything — he just sat there. So Kaufman walked out to him, waved his copies of the paperwork, and said, “Hey, can you move that car?” The officer apologized, moved the car, and then, remarkably, helped Kaufman load the casket onto a gurney and into the back of the unlicensed, liquor-filled hearse.

Martin, also liquor-filled, got in the hearse and headed out of the hangar, only to run into the wall on his way out. The officer observed all this, and commented ruefully, “I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes now.” Then he left, and the two drunk bodysnatchers departed the airport with the body of their friend. They stopped at a gas station and filled a gas can with high test (“I didn’t want him to ping,” Kaufman says.) Then they headed back for Joshua Tree.

They reached the Monument and drove until they were too drunk to drive any farther. There, near the Cap Rock, a landmark geological formation, they unloaded their friend’s coffin. Then Kaufman saw car lights in the distance and concluded the police were coming. He quickly doused his friend with fuel and lit him. The two watched as a giant fireball rose from the coffin, sucking his ashes into the desert night. Then they abandoned the charred remains and headed for LA.

After a trip home filled with close calls, Kaufman and Martin laid low. The morning after their return, the papers were full of the story of the rock star’s hijacked and burnt corpse, playing up baseless speculation by local police that the amateur cremation may have been “ritualistic.”

Kaufman knew the police were looking for him, so after a few weeks, he and Martin just turned themselves in. They appeared in West L.A. Municipal Court on Parsons’s 27th birthday — November 5, 1973. Since a corpse has no intrinsic value, the two were charged with misdemeanor theft for stealing the coffin and given a slap on the wrist: $708 in damages for the coffin, and a $300 fine for each of the bodysnatchers. Kaufman has surely made that amount back just dining out on the story — his misadventures have been legendary in rock and country music circles ever since.

The aftermath of the court’s sentence was as unlikely as the events leading up to it. Kaufman threw himself a party to raise the fine money — Kaufman’s Koffin Kaper Koncert. They pasted beer bottles with some homemade labels featuring a bad likeness of Parsons and the legend, “Gram Pilsner: A stiff drink for what ales you.” Dr. Demento served as deejay, and live music was provided by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers of “Monster Mash” fame and a young band being managed by Tickner and Kaufman at the time, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Despite the gruesome streak running through the party, it was a memorable wake for their friend.

On the other side of the country, some other friends mourned Parsons in a somewhat quieter fashion. Emmylou Harris met with John Nuese, Bill Keith, and Holly and Barry Tashian for a quiet weekend at the Tashians’ cottage in Connecticut, where they listened for the first time to finished versions of the sessions from Grievous Angel (Reprise, 1974).

We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning:

Gram Parsons left more than his share of loose ends.

Bob Parsons had the charred remains of his stepson shipped to New Orleans, where, after a small service with family only, he was buried in The Garden of Memories, an unimpressive cemetery on a highway near the airport. A bronze plaque marks the gravesite; it reads “God’s Own Singer.” Although Bob Parsons succeeded in getting the body to Louisiana, his scheme to seize control of the Snively fortune was nevertheless thwarted by a Florida court. About a year later, Bob Parsons died of an alcohol-related illness. He never made a dime off of Gram Parsons.

When Parsons left for Joshua Tree, he believed he had initiated divorce proceedings against Gretchen. As it turned out, this was not the case. Kaufman had the papers to serve on her but hadn’t yet done so by the time Parsons died. Along with Gretchen Parsons, his daughter Polly, his sister Avis, and his half-sister Diane all received some money from his estate as well.

Reprise finally released Grievous Angel (Reprise, 1974) in January of 1974 to rave reviews. Yet, despite the notoriety resulting from the death of Parsons, the LP peaked at a disappointing #195 on the album chart.

Despite his lack of commercial success, Gram Parsons acquired a small but fervent following. These fans paid for a plaque that was placed near the Cap Rock, with the words “Safe At Home.”

You’re Still On My Mind:

Twenty-two years after the death of Gram Parsons, his music is still very much with us. His major releases, from Safe at Home (LHI, 1968) to Grievous Angel, are currently available in the States, at least on import, as are compilations such as Farther Along (A&M, 1988) and Out of the Blue (A&M UK, 1996). Cosmic American Music (Magnum America, 1995) featured rehearsal tapes for GP, while Live 1973 (Sierra, 1994) offered a live performance by the Fallen Angels.

Cosmic American Music also lives on in the music of others, from Emmylou Harris to Country Gazette to the Eagles, from Elvis Costello to Tom Petty to the Long Ryders, from the Mekons to the Jayhawks to Uncle Tupelo. Today there is an explosion of country-influenced rock, as chronicled in the magazine No Depression, among other places. It’s clear now that Gram Parsons and his music will not be forgotten.

Know More About It:

Nearly all of the Gram Parsons catalog is available through Sierra Records. Sierra is currently preparing for the release of a Gram Parsons CD called The Early Years, which will feature the tracks from the earlier Shilos release, plus nine solo tracks recorded in New York with Dick Weissman, and concluding with the four early single sides by International Submarine Band. Sierra also specializes in the work of Clarence White, Gene Clark, and Gene Parsons. Anyone interested in these artists should check out their website (temporarily offline as this is written but due back soon) at http://www.sierra-records.com. You can also write for the Sierra catalog at the following address:

Sierra Records
P.O. Box 5853
Pasadena, California 91117-0853

You can also request their catalog by e-mail at sierra@sure.net.

Michael Hastings, ‘Rolling Stone’ Contributor, Dead at 33

Michael Hastings 1980 - 2013

Michael Hastings
1980 – 2013

The bold journalist died in a car accident in Los Angeles

The Rolling Stone Magazine
June 18, 2013 7:15 PM ET

Michael Hastings, the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone has learned. He was 33.

Hastings’ unvarnished 2010 profile of McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” captured the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House. The maelstrom sparked by its publication concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post. “The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be met by – set by a commanding general,” Obama said, announcing McChrystal’s departure. “It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”

Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. “Runaway General” was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting, and was the basis for Hastings’ book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.

For Hastings, there was no romance to America’s misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand: While covering the Iraq war for Newsweek in early 2007, his then-fianceé, an aide worker, was killed in a Baghdad car bombing. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Hastings leaves behind a remarkable legacy of reporting, including an exposé of America’s drone war, an exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his hideout in the English countryside, an investigation into the Army’s illicit use of “psychological operations” to influence sitting Senators and a profile of Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl, “America’s Last Prisoner of War.”

20130613-michael-hastings-306x-1371593939“Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity,” says Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana, “the sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there’s no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories. I’m sad that I’ll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write, and sad that he won’t be stopping by my office for any more short visits which would stretch for two or three completely engrossing hours. He will be missed.”

Hard-charging, unabashedly opinionated, Hastings was original and at times abrasive. He had little patience for flacks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism. In a memorable exchange with Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, Hastings’ aggressive line of questioning angered Reines. “Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?” Reines asked. “Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bullshit for a change?” Hastings replied.

In addition to his work as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, Hastings also reported for BuzzFeed. He leaves behind his wife, the writer Elise Jordan.

Matt Farwell is a veteran of the Afghanistan war who worked as a co-reporter with Hastings on some of his recent pieces. He sent this eulogy to Rolling Stone:  “My friend Michael Hastings died last night in a car crash in Los Angeles. Writing this feels almost ghoulish: I still haven’t processed the fact that he’s gone. Today we all feel that loss: whether we’re friends of Michael’s, or family, or colleagues or readers, the world has gotten a bit smaller. As a journalist, he specialized in speaking truth to power and laying it all out there. He was irascible in his reporting and sometimes/often/always infuriating in his writing: he lit a bright lamp for those who wanted to follow his example.

“Michael was no stranger to trying to make sense this kind of tragedy nor was he unfamiliar the emptiness felt in the wake of a senseless, random death. After all, he’d already learned about it the only way he ever deemed acceptable for a non hack: first-hand. In the course of his reporting he figured this lesson out again and again in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the United States, and part of his passion stemmed from a desire to make everyone else wake the fuck up and realize the value of the life we’re living.

“He did: He always sought out the hard stories, pushed for the truth, let it all hang out on the page. Looking back on the past ten years is tough for anyone, but looking back on Michael’s past ten years and you begin to understand how passionate and dedicated to this work he was, a passion that was only equaled by his dedication to his family and friends, and how much more he lived in thirty-three years than most people live in a lifetime. That’s part of what makes this all so tough: exiting, he leaves us all with little more than questions and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe that’s challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. I hope we can live up to that. He was a great friend and I will miss him terribly.”

R.I.P. Michael. You’ll be deeply missed dude.

Randy Blythe of Lamb of God attends a trial at the Prague City Court in Prague

Randy Blythe of Lamb of God attends a trial at the Prague City Court in Prague, Czech Republic. Photo:isifa/VLP/Milan Holakovsky/Getty Images

Randy Blythe of Lamb of God attends a trial at the Prague City Court in Prague, Czech Republic. Photo:Milan Holakovsky/Getty Images

Via Rolling Stone

Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe’s manslaughter trial resumed on Monday in Prague, where the singer stands accused of violently pushing Daniel Nosek, a teenage fan, offstage in 2010, resulting in his death. Experts testified that the singer may exhibit aggressive and asocial tendencies under stress but he does not suffer from a personality disorder, citing the results of psychological testing conducted while he was remanded in custody for five weeks last summer.

“Every one of us could in their lifetimes get into a situation in which we act without mercy, but this is not a personality trait of his,” criminal psychiatrist Alena Gayova, appointed by the defense, said of Blythe, adding that the singer tested within “normal” ranges on various stress tests even while held in a Prague jail. The presiding judge, Tomas Kubovec, said a verdict will likely be handed down tomorrow.

This evaluation of Blythe’s character somewhat contradicted an earlier assessment by a court-appointed criminal psychologist, Tereza Soukoupova, who co-authored a report on the Blythe’s mental health using “new methods” and characterized him as exhibiting histrionic and asocial (albeit not deep-rooted) tendencies.

Addressing the court only once on Monday — and the psychologist directly — Blythe said, with apparent disbelief at the assessment of his character, “When I was in jail, I was given three tests. One was with some blocks, one was looking at some pictures in a magazine as you told stories. . . and the other a Rorschach test, which is a very old test.”

The prosecution had, in previous court sessions, called witnesses who spoke of Blythe’s allegedly aggressive handling of another fan who, like Nosek, had bypassed security and taken to the stage, three times by Blythe’s count. The singer has acknowledged pinning down that man, Milan Poradek — and published photos have captured that incident — but he denies having pushed Nosek, whom defense attorneys have suggested may have instead stage-dived. On Monday, one witness who was allegedly with Nosek that night — a tall, lanky high-school girl with dyed blue hair and dressed all in black — told the court she clearly remembered seeing Blythe shove Nosek off the stage that night.

“He climbed onto the stage, and when he tried to stand up, Blythe shoved him,” said the student, Anna Rozsivalova, demonstrating how the Lamb of God frontman allegedly used both hands to vigorously push the Czech boy by the shoulders, whom she said then fell backwards into the crowd. She described the atmosphere that night at the Abaton club, housed within an old factory, as “crazy.” In February, another friend of Nosek’s reportedly described Blythe as “physically aggressive” and said he was “100 percent sure” that the singer pushed him from behind with both hands.

Nosek, 19, initially appeared unharmed, his friends and other concertgoers have previously testified, but later that night — though reportedly sober — he complained of a headache and vomited, and was rushed to hospital. The Czech teen underwent emergency surgery to reduce swelling on his brain but lapsed into a coma and died a few weeks later.

The defense has pointed to numerous similar inconsistencies within testimonies — the concert took place three years before the trial, and many witnesses during the trial have struggled to recall details. Blythe’s attorneys have also cast blame on lax security at the club for allowing the repeat incidents to occur, and bandmates and others have testified to Blythe as being well-read and mild-mannered, with any aggression displayed on stage as being all part of the show.

On Tuesday, an expert on biomechanics, called by the defense, is due to explain how Nosek may have fallen to his death. If found guilty of manslaughter, Blythe faces up to 10 years in prison; he could also be found guilty of the lesser charge of negligence, which carries a suspended sentence. Nosek’s family is also demanding the equivalent of over $500,000 in damages.

Related posts:
Q&A: Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe on Imprisonment and Freedom

Boston’s Morphine Band – They told simple & profound tales about the human condition

L to R: Mark Sandman, Billy Conway and Dana Colley of Morphine

I grew up listening to the music of some of the most creative bands in the world that deeply influenced my father, himself a musician. Among them was Morphine which as I got older became one of my most admired bands, true to the convictions in the belief that music eventually find its audience on its own merits and not by way of slavishly pandering to the whims of an industry that continually lacks imagination and is subservient to formula and greed. I was 15 years old when Morphine’s frontman and singer/songwriter Mark Sandman died. It is a tremendous loss for rock and roll not only in that it halts Sandman’s production of new material, but because Sandman so well occupied a position of rocker-as-artist. The use of his music in independent films, his live poetry breaks, and the photography he kept on his website kept Sandman very much in the art-school vibe. Sandman’s band, Morphine, was one of the handful of rock bands whose work, I feel, will remain resonant after the glut of irony is washed away by time.

About the band

Morphine was formed by Mark Sandman, Dana Colley and Jerome Deupree in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989. They disbanded in after Mark Sandman’s death in 1999. Mark Sandman died of a heart-attack at the age of 46 while performing and being filmed on stage in Italy. An indie rock icon and longtime fixture on the Boston/Cambridge music scene, Sandman was best known as the lead singer and slide bass player of the band Morphine. Sandman was also known as a prominent member of the Boston blues band Treat Her Right and the founder of Hi-n-Dry, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based recording studio and independent record label. Morphine combined blues and jazz elements with rock arrangements, giving the band a very unusual sound. Sandman’s distinctive singing was described as a “deep, laid-back croon” and his songwriting featured a prominent beat influence. When asked by reporters to describe their music, the band created the label “low rock”. One critical appraisal suggests that “Morphine immediately established a minimalist, low-end sound that could have easily become a gimmick: a ‘power trio’ not built around the sound of an electric guitar. Instead, with sly intelligence, Morphine expanded its offbeat vocabulary on each album.”

Although Morphine was critically lauded throughout their career, it is difficult to measure their success commercially. In the United States the band was embraced and promoted by the indie rock community, including public and college radio stations and MTV’s 120 Minutes (which the band once guest-hosted), but received little support from commercial rock radio and other music television programs. This limited their mainstream exposure and success in their home country, while internationally they enjoyed mainstream success and support, especially in Belgium, Portugal, France and Australia. When Mark died, musicians from all over the Triangle came together in July to contribute to a cover of Tomorrow, originally released on Sandbox: The Recordings of Mark Sandman. The song will appear on a compilation album to commemorate the 10th Anniversary.

Within a year of Sandman’s death, Colley and Conway created Orchestra Morphine, a group of Sandman’s friends and colleagues who toured to celebrate the music of the band and to raise funds for the Mark Sandman Music Education Fund. Orchestra Morphine mostly performed music from The Night, but also included some other Morphine and Hypnosonics material as well. Orchestra Morphine still performs occasionally but no longer tours. Singer and guitarist Laurie Sargent, a member of Orchestra Morphine and former vocalist for the band Face to Face, later joined Colley and Conway in their first post-Morphine musical endeavor, Twinemen.

Conway and Colley also officially formed the Hi-n-Dry independent record label and studio, converting Sandman’s workspace into a commercial enterprise. The label’s roster includes a number of their friends, colleagues and other Boston-area musicians. In 2004, Hi-n-Dry released the Mark Sandman box set Sandbox, which contained two CDs and a DVD of previously unreleased material spanning Sandman’s musical career. The DVD featured clips from early Sandman shows, interviews from the Morphine tours, and various videos from other Sandman solo and group projects, such as Treat Her Right. However, for copyright reasons the box set did not contain any previously released material found in the Morphine catalog, Morphine videos, or promotional material produced by Rykodisc or DreamWorks Records.

Deupree continued to record with various jazz musicians and later became a member of the group Bourbon Princess. Colley formed the band A.K.A.C.O.D. with Monique Ortiz, the former leader of Bourbon Princess, in 2006. Their debut album Happiness was released in early 2008 and supported by a tour, featuring set lists fortified with Morphine material.

In 2009, Colley and Deupree began regularly performing Morphine songs and new material as Members of Morphine (alternately, the Ever-Expanding Elastic Waste Band), with singer, bassist and guitarist Jeremy Lyons of New Orleans. In July 2009, the group played at Nel Nome Del Rock Festival in Palestrina, Italy, marking the ten year anniversary of Sandman’s death at the location in which it occurred. Later Rhino Records released the two-disc set At Your Service, composed of unreleased Morphine material, while Members of Morphine released their eponymous debut CD the following year.

The Mark Sandman Music Education Fund was established by his friends and family in order to give children in the Cambridge and Boston area an opportunity to learn musical instruments. As of 2008, this foundation has been re-named the Mark Sandman Music Project. Housed in the newly renovated Armory Arts Center at 191 Highland Ave. Somerville, the Project hopes to continue Mark’s legacy.

Band members

Mark Sandman – 2-string slide bass, vocals, organ, tritar (3-string slide guitar), guitar, piano (1989–1999)
Dana Colley – baritone sax, tenor sax, double sax, triangle (1989–1999)
Jerome Deupree – drums, percussion (1989–1991, 1991–1993, 1998–1999)
Billy Conway – drums, percussion (1991, 1993–1999)

My Morphine Playlist:

River Phoenix the last 24 hrs – Documentary

River Phoenix last 24 hrs – Documentary

Using archive footage, dramatic reenactment and interviews, this DVD details the last hours of River Phoenix’s life and the events that led to his tragic death in
the city of Los Angeles.

This compelling documentary series unlocks the psychological flaws and events that result in the tragic deaths of famed notorious and the iconic. Every episode maps out the final 24 hours of a different famous person’s life. The series weaves the star’s back-story with events from their last day, which lays bare the threads of fate that led inextricably from childhood to the moment of death. These are no ordinary biographies. They’re psychological detective stories attempting to uncover the mystery of why the celebrity died.

Academy-award nominee for Best Supporting Actor, River Phoenix’s work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, including the science fiction adventure film Explorers, the coming-of-age film Stand By Me, the action sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the independent adult drama My Own Private Idaho. He appeared in diverse roles, making his first notable appearance in the 1986 film Stand by Me, a hugely popular coming-of-age film based on a novella by Stephen King.

Phoenix made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with Running on Empty (1988), playing the son of fugitive parents in a well-received performance that earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination, and My Own Private Idaho (1991), playing a gay hustler in search of his estranged mother. For his performance in the latter, Phoenix garnered enormous praise and won a Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, along with Best Actor from the National Society of Film Critics. He was listed by John Willis as one of twelve promising new actors of 1986.

Although Phoenix’s movie career was generating most of the income for his family, it has been stated by close friends and relatives that his true passion was music. Phoenix was a singer, song writer and an accomplished guitarist. He had begun teaching himself guitar at the age of five and had stated in an interview for E! in 1988 that his family’s move to L.A. when he was nine was made so that he and his sister “… could become recording artists. I fell into commercials for financial reasons and acting became an attractive concept …”

Prior to securing an acting agent, Phoenix and his siblings had attempted to forge a career in music by playing cover songs on the streets of the Westwood district of LA. Phoenix disliked the idea of being a solo artist and relished collaboration; therefore he focused on putting together a band. Aleka’s Attic were formed in 1987 and the line up included his sister Rain. Phoenix was committed to gaining credibility by his own merit and so he maintained that the band would not use his name when securing performances that were not benefits for charitable organizations. Phoenix’s first release was “Across the Way”, co-written with band mate Josh McKay, which was released in 1989 on a benefit album for PETA titled Tame Yourself.

In 1991 River wrote and recorded a spoken word piece called “Curi Curi” for Milton Nascimento’s album TXAI. Also in 1991 the Aleka’s Attic track “Too Many Colors” was lent to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho a film which included Phoenix in a starring role. In 1996 the Aleka’s Attic track “Note to a Friend” was released on the 1996 benefit album In Defense of Animals; Volume II and featured Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass.

Phoenix had collaborated with friend John Frusciante after his first departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the songs “Height Down” and “Well I’ve Been” were released on Frusciante’s second solo album Smile from the Streets You Hold in 1997. The title track may also be an ode to Phoenix. Phoenix was an investor in the original House of Blues (founded by his good friend and Sneakers co-star Dan Aykroyd) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which opened its doors to the public after serving a group of homeless people on Thanksgiving Day 1992.

Phoenix was a dedicated animal rights, environmental and political activist. He was a prominent spokesperson for PETA and won their Humanitarian award in 1992 for his fund-raising efforts. Also in 1990, for Earth Day, Phoenix wrote an environmental awareness essay targeted at his young fan base, which was printed in Seventeen magazine. He financially aided a slew of environmental and humanitarian organizations and bought 800 acres (320 ha) of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica.

At war with his own dark demons, on October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed and died of drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room. He was 23 yrs-old at the time of his death. Prior to his death, Phoenix had been in the middle of filming the currently unreleased Dark Blood (1993).

In 24 hours his darkness consumed him and he was dead. Using archive footage, dramatic reenactment and interviews with his closest friends, companions, this documentary details the last hours of River Phoenix’s life and the gripping events that led to his tragic death in L.A.

R.I.P. Sweet Soul

Related post: Actor & Musician River Phoenix’s Final Film ‘Dark Blood’ Gets September Premiere

Bob Welch dies: Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, ‘Ebony Eyes’ singer

The L.A. Times Music Blog
June 7, 2012

Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Bob Welch has been found dead in Nashville of an apparent suicide, according to the Nashville Police Department. The musician, who worked with the band in the early 1970s and later had hit solo songs such as “Ebony Eyes,” was 66 years old.

Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement, “The police department responded to his address at 12:18 p.m., where Mr. Welch was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.” Aaron added that Welch’s wife indicated that he had been suffering with health issues. A suicide note was found in the home.

Welch was a member of Fleetwood Mac as the band was transitioning away from being a British blues rock band and into the 1970s powerhouse that it became. As a singer and guitarist, Welch was lesser known than the pair who replaced him — lead vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham — but his work with fellow band mates including Mick Fleetwood and John and Christie McVie prior to Nicks’ arrival on albums “Future Games,” “Bare Trees” and “Heroes are Hard to Find,” among others, set the tone for what was to come.

Welch left the band amid the chaos of the McVie divorce, just prior to mainstream success with the 1975 album “Fleetwood Mac” and then “Rumors,” Fleetwood Mac’s acclaimed 1977 hit album. The singer went solo, and scored a massive hit with “Ebony Eyes” in 1977. The album from which it was culled, “French Kiss,” featured a number of former Fleetwood Mac members, as well as a rendition of “Sentimental Lady,” a song originally recorded with Mac but reworked by Welch.

Welch was born in Los Angeles in 1945, the son of successful Hollywood movie producer Robert Welch, best known for his work with Bob Hope on a series of “Paleface” films. A full obituary will appear in the L.A. Times.

Remembering former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch

Bob Welch, August 31, 1945 – June 7, 2012.

From the Live at the Roxy show 11/18/81,