Friday, April 21, 2017


Somehow I missed this last week...

Allan Holdsworth, a self-taught guitarist whose protean, virtuosic style was a source of amazement even to his more famous peers, died of a heart attack on Saturday at his home in Vista, Calif. He was 70.

Mr. Holdsworth forged a relentlessly exploratory approach to harmony, which he brought to bear on both the guitar and the SynthAxe, a guitarlike synthesizer that allowed him added control over his tone and flow. He had his own vocabulary of unorthodox chords, often involving far reaches across the fretboard. As a soloist, he executed lightning-fast melodies with remarkable fluidity.

Mr. Holdsworth played in a number of seminal ensembles throughout the 1970s, including the Tony Williams Lifetime, Soft Machine and U.K., but he never seemed to arrive at any band’s moment of peak popularity, or to stick around long enough to accrue a major following.

Sadly, Mr. Holdsworth’s financial situation was not good at the time of his death, but a crowdfunding campaign to cover pioneering guitarist Allan Holdsworth‘s funeral expenses has been closed after just three days, with thousands of fans chipping in to raise nearly six times the target amount.

A family friend sought to help defray the looming financial burden of laying him to rest by launching a GoFundMe campaign asking for $20,000. That goal was met within hours; by the time it hit the three-day mark, more than $114,000 had come in.

Understandably overwhelmed, Holdsworth’s children Louise, Emily, and Sam have passed along a message to fans, writing that in the midst of the “never-ending nightmare” of their father’s passing, they’ve been overcome with “emotions and gratitude” in response to the campaign. “Without all of the love and support we have received we would be completely lost,” reads the note. “We are doing our best to fulfill the wishes of our beloved father.”

Adding that they plan to put together a public memorial for Holdsworth after laying him to rest in a private ceremony, the message thanks donors for “the huge stress that has been lifted from our shoulders” and notes their reasons for ending the campaign early, concluding, “We have decided, as a family, to close the GoFundMe campaign. It has more than exceeded its purpose. We cannot express our gratitude to you all enough, it has been overwhelming.”

Holdsworth fans who still want to make a contribution in his honor are urged to donate to their local pitbull rescue organization. 

As the Holdsworth children joked, “We often teased him that Daisy, our pit mix, was actually his favorite child.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils, the guitarist of the the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his home in Groton, Massachusetts Tuesday. He was 71. 

According to Groton Police, "a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes."

"At approximately 4 p.m., Groton Police responded to a home on Graniteville Road for a well-being check," Groton Police said in a statement. "Upon arrival to the house, police located a man who was unresponsive. He was declared dead at the scene ... The Groton Police Department is investigating the death, as is standard procedure in all unattended deaths, however foul play is not suspected at this time."

The J. Geils Band released a slew of albums during the Seventies and early Eighties. With vocalist Peter Wolf at the helm, the band became best known for singles like "Centerfold," "Love Stinks," "Come Back" and "Freeze-Frame," which have since become rock radio mainstays.

On Facebook, Wolf shared a short message about his former bandmate, writing, "Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils."

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band became fast local favorites and released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and over the course of the next decade honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. 

During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly – but they wouldn't hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.

In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame

That album featured the group's only chart-topping hit, "Centerfold," while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. Wolf did not appear on the J. Geils Band's final album, 1984's You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd

The J. Geils Band officially split in 1985. Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records. 

Rest in peace, Jay!

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Paul O'Neill, the producer/composer/lyricist who founded the progressive metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has died at 61.

University of South Florida police spokeswoman Renna Reddick told The Associated Press that O'Neill was found dead in his room by hotel staff at a Tampa Embassy Suites late Wednesday afternoon.

Reddick said there were no obvious signs of foul play, and a medical examiner is working to determine an official cause.

The band said in a statement on Facebook that O'Neill died from a "chronic illness." The band described itself as devastated by his death.

"The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O’Neill has passed away from chronic illness. He was our friend and our leader — a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all. We ask that you respect Paul’s family’s privacy now."