News in Review: Jerry Garcia, Ben Keith, Beach Boys, Bryan Ferry, Andy Hummel
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2010, Volume 17, #9
Written by John Metzger
Tue September 28, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
Work on Jerry Garcia Biopic to Intensify in 2011
News that Robert Greenfield’s book Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia was being turned into a biopic initially surfaced in 2008. Two years later, plans for the film about the late Grateful Dead guitarist finally are beginning to come together. The script has been completed, and director Amir Bar-Lev is expected to begin work on the documentary in 2011. Rather than cover the full scope of Jerry Garcia’s career, however, Bar-Lev is planning to focus upon the period of his life prior to the formation of the Grateful Dead. In a move that doesn’t bode well for the project, Grateful Dead Productions and Jerry Garcia LLC not only have declined to license music to the motion picture but also have denied access to Garcia’s family.
Heart Attack Silences Ben Keith
On July 26, at the age of 73, guitarist Ben Keith suffered a fatal heart attack. A longtime session musician within the Nashville music scene, Keith recorded with the likes of Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Ringo Starr. Nevertheless, Keith most notably left his mark working alongside Neil Young. Keith and Young met while the latter artist was working on his 1971 endeavor Harvest. It was the beginning of a relationship that produced 17 albums over the span of nearly 40 years. Keith frequently joined Young on stage, too, and their most recent joint appearances took place earlier this year. Keith had just completed a tour with Pegi Young in support of her latest set Foul Deeds. At the time of his death, he had been visiting with Young in Northern California, where the duo was collaborating on several new projects.
Beach Boys to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Reunion Show
If everything goes according to plan, the surviving members of The Beach Boys are planning to reunite on stage next year to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary. Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston have not appeared together in concert in more than a decade. They reportedly have set aside their differences and are discussing the possibility of performing a full-length show at a yet-to-be-determined location.
Bryan Ferry Gets a Little Help from His Friends
Meanwhile, Bryan Ferry has been working on the follow-up to his 2007 set Dylanesque. Titled Olympia, the collection is scheduled for release on October 25. Save for two cover songs — Traffic’s No Face, No Name, No Number and Tim Buckley’s Song to the Siren — the outing will be composed of original material. To record the endeavor, Ferry recruited an eclectic supporting cast that includes Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, bass player Flea, Chic’s Nile Rodgers, Primal Scream’s Mani, and the Scissor Sisters. In addition, Olympia will feature Ferry’s highly anticipated reunion with his pals from Roxy Music: Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, and Brian Eno.
Cancer Strikes Down Andy Hummel
Big Star has lost another constituent. On July 19, just four months after a heart attack claimed the life of Alex Chilton, Andy Hummel succumbed to cancer. He was 59. Because Chris Bell died in a car accident in 1978, drummer Jody Stephens is now the lone surviving member in the oft-overlooked, but nonetheless much-beloved band. Bell, Stephens, and Hummel performed in Icewater before Chilton joined them and changed the name of the group to Big Star. Hummel not only played bass on Big Star’s twin gems #1 Record and Radio City, but he also contributed a pair of compositions (The India Song, Way Out West) to the outfit and co-wrote several of the ensemble’s other tracks. Although he participated in a tribute to Chilton at SXSW on March 17, Hummel had retired from the music business long ago in order to pursue a career as an engineer for Lockheed Martin.
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