Honoring Legacies of Nokie Edwards, Charlie Quintana, Craig Mack, Stephen Hawking, Matt Dike, Patrick Doyle + Others Gone in 2018

Posted by Billyjam, March 15, 2018 03:34pm | Post a Comment

“We’re losing too many artists too young like Pam the Funkstress and DJ Stef, and now Craig Mack,” Shing02 told the Amoeblog Wednesday night in New York City. The multi-talented Japanese artist with Bay Area roots was speaking after last night's sold-out Brooklyn concert with his live hip-hop band (including Spin Master DJ A-1) at Rough Trade where surprise guest emcee, Bay Area transplant Kirby Dominant, came onstage for an inspired impromptu rendition of Craig Mack’s rap hit “Flava In Ya Ear.” [see photo above c/o Yoshiaki Miura + left c/o Peter Agoston

Hours earlier in the same day the audience learned the sad news of the passing of the 47 year old Long Island NY native who had died two days previously in South Carolina from “natural causes.”  With a recording career dating back to 1988, when he was MC EZ, it wasn't until 1994 that Craig Mack made his indelible mark on hip-hop history. This he did as the breakout star on Sean (Puffy/Diddy) Comb’s then fledgling Bad Boy Entertainment label with the hit  ”Flava in Ya Ear" and its remix (scroll down for video) featuring LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and a young little known Brooklyn rapper named Christopher Wallace known as Biggie Smalls and The Notorious B.I.G. (RIP).

Last night's concert acted as a fitting setting for the bittersweet tribute to the hip-hop artist gone too young since it was during the latest stop in Shing02 and band's current Nujabes Tribute US tour: one that that's dedicated to the musical legacy of another artist gone too soon; revered Japanese DJ/producer Nujabes whose life ended prematurely at age 36 eight years ago in a fatal car crash. In his native Japan, in addition to his popular album releases, Nujabes’s legacy also boasts producing the soundtrack for the popular Japanese TV anime series Samurai Champloo by Shinichiro Watanabe; one of a few projects that Shing02 and the late artist had collaborated together on.

In the two years since Shing02 and his band had last done a Nujabes Tribute tour of the USA, he's witnessed "audiences having grown in numbers" he said, observing how sometimes artists are appreciated even more posthumously. Examples of this would include influential Detroit hip-hop producer J-Dilla who died twelve years ago at age 32 but is more popular (and prolific) posthumously than he was in his life. Meanwhile since David Bowie's death two years ago he has become more relevant than ever as noted in the recently published David Bowie 2018 Top Six. And in the fifteen months since George Michael's death on Christmas Day 2016, the artist's music has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Meanwhile since his death the area of land outside what was Michael's home in London's posh Highgate district has upset neighbors while becoming a shrine for fans to honor the artist who died at age 53. All photos below of this unofficial shrine to George Michael over in London were recently taken exclusively for the Amoeblog by photographer Eamonn Daly.

Yesterday's sad news of Craig Mack’s sudden death came in the same week that the world learned that it had also lost famed physicist, best selling author and cultural icon Stephen Hawking (age 76),  Delicious Vinyl co-founder and Beasties' Paul's Boutique production contributor Matt Dike (age 55),  drummer with The Plugz, Social Distortion and others including Cracker Charlie Quintana (age 56), and pioneering surf rock guitarist Nokie Edwards of The Ventures (age 82). And these musician deaths come in a year already filled with numerous other deaths that include Japan's DJ Nozawa whom Shing02 had collaborated with, and Swedish hip-hop turntablist/producer  DJ Devastate who died March 6th. The artist, who gained international attention in 2009 with his BBE album Movement/Silence, is another artist who died way too young. He was only 35. Meanwhile  Veronica Falls drummer Patrick Doyle  who died March 4th. was age 32.  On March 4th the widely influential Tower Records chain founder Russ Solomon passed away at age 92.

Others include big band era pianist Dick Meares (age 93), former bassist for The Kinks Jim Rodford (age 76), The Crystals co-founder and lead singer Barbara Ann Alston (age 74), Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards (age 74), Bronx hip-hop pioneer Love Bug Starski (age 57), old school / Sinatra style crooner Vic Damone (age 89), former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow (age  70), and young Australian turntablist/producer DJ Kuya who is among the many artists whose legacies are further celebrated / featured in the music videos below (scroll down).  

Previous 2018 published pieces honoring the legacies of musicians who've passed on this year, each tagged “amoeblog music in memoriam,” include one on The Moody Blues founder Ray Thomas as well as others, a piece on Edwin Hawkins (74), Dolores O’Riordan (46) along with other musicians. Another Amoeblog honored “Father Of South African Jazz” Hugh Masekela who died back in late January (age 78), and another around the same time on Mark E. Smith, famed front-man of The Fall (age 60). Meanwhile a week at the wake for the quirky beloved Smith in his Greater Manchester area a fight broke out according to guitarist Ben Pritchard who told the UK Mirror newspaper that at the dead man’s wake, “bottles were thrown and drinks poured over people. Total disrespect, he’d have loved it!”

The Plugz  "El Clavo Y La Cruz" from the Repo Man OST

Pioneering LA punk group The Plugz, whom many got introduced to via their tracks on the Repo Man soundtrack, featured supertalented drummer Charlie Quintana who, after the break-up of the band in the early 80's went on to play with numerous others including for Social Distortion for ten years starting in 1999, Bob Dylan, Cracker , and Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds. The 57 year old Texas native's death was announced today with the cause/circumstances not confirmed yet.

Tone Loc “Wild Thing” (produced and co-written by Matt Dike)

Co-founded in LA in 1987 by Mike Ross and Matt Dike, Delicious Vinyl Records would enjoy their breakout megahit with Tone-Loc’s  hugely popular 1989 single “Wild Thing” that Dike produced as well as co-wrote with the gravely voiced Tone Loc along with label mate Marvin Young (Young MC). The success of the record (the first rap single to be certified Platinum) was due in part to MTV’s heavy airplay of the low-budget but striking (Robert Palmer parody) music video above that was directed by Tamra Davis. By the end of the following few hectic, successful years at Delicious Vinyl (and beyond), Matt Dike had decided to both pack in his part in the record label and to completely withdraw from the music business, essentially becoming a hermit for the remainder of his life.

The Ventures "Wipeout (live in Japan, 1966)"

The Ventures featuring longtime guitarist Nokie Edwards who earlier this week passed away at age 82, reportedly after getting an infection following undergoing a hip surgery procedure.

The Crystals “Da Doo Ron Ron”

Phil Spector discovery, sixties girl group The Crystals above whose co-founder and lead singer Barbara Ann Alston died on February 16 at age of 74, reportedly after battling a serious flu.

DJ Kuya at ITF 1999 World Finals (Elimination Set)

Following the Feb 22th 2018 death of Melbourne, Australia’s beloved Arsenio Fabay aka DJ Kuya the star Australian producer / turntablist / battle deejay (as seen above) friend/peer DJ Shortkut posted to social media in memoriam: “You put it down for the Aussie DJ scene heavy and for Pinoy selectors and djs around the world.”

The Temptations “Cloud Nine”

The late Alabama-born Dennis Edwards was lead singer of The Temptations over a two decade period beginning in 1968 when he replaced David Ruffin as lead singer and singing on many of The Temptations’ biggest hits such as “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ball of Confusion” and the 1969 #1 pop hit single “I Can’t Get Next To You.”

Veronica Falls "Teenage"

UK band  Veronica Falls  2013 single “Teenage” above featured drummer Patrick Doyle who died this month at age 32. No cause of death yet announced for the Scottish multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who also made music as solo acts Boys Forever and Basic Plumbing.

Love Bug Starski “You've Gotta Believe”

Last year here on the Amoeblog when I interviewed Bronx hip-hop pioneer Love Bug Starski, who passed away last month, and asked him among other things about been credited with coining the term “hip-hop” and if that was indeed accurate? “Yes I am the one who coined the term "hip-hop" and that was one of my rhymes when I would get stuck for words and I used to go "hip, hop, the hip, the hip, hip the hopping" [laughs] you know it was just a nursery rhyme: nursery rhymes that coincided with the music and that's the God's honest truth.”

Craig Mack "Flava In Ya Ear Remix (feat. Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Busta & Rampage)"

Stephen Hawking “Galaxy Song” (2015)

At age 22 British scientist Stephen Hawking, who died yesterday at age 76, had been given only a few years to live following being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. But despite having ALS, having to use a wheelchair to get around, and a keyboard triggered voice synthesizer to speak through Hawking would live for another 54 very influential years. Known for such  works as  his best selling popular science book A Brief History of Time and immortalized in the film The Theory of Everything, Hawking was a brilliant and witty man who, in addition to been a leading theorist, was simultaneously a pop cultural icon. His numerous movie and TV show appearances included Star Trek: The Next Generation, Futurama, The Simpsons, and Big Bang Theory.

In addition to all of these we must not forget Hawking’s great version (and accompanying video) of Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song.”  Three Record Store Days ago, in April 2015, it was released as a limited edition 7” of Hawking collaborating with the Monty Python crew on the song originally on their 1983 movie The Meaning of Life. In the fun funny video above you will see Hawking go head to head with fellow scientist Brian Cox whom gets knocked over (in jest) by Hawking’s wheelchair.

Relevant Tags

Mark E Smith (1), Amoeblog Music In Memoriam (8), George Michael (6), Patrick Doyle (1), Stephen Hawking (3), Matt Dike (1), Craig Mack (1), Charlie Quintana (1), Nokie Edwards (1), George Michael Shrine Photos By Eamonn Daly (1), David Bowie (83)