News in Review: Sly Stone, Nick Ashford, Honeyboy Edwards, My Chemical Romance, 2012 Rock Hall Nominees
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2011, Volume 18, #8
Written by John Metzger
Fri November 18, 2011, 05:30 AM CDT
Sly Stone Homeless, but Happy
In late September, it came to light that Sly Stone was living in a van in Los Angeles. Stoneís homelessness is the result of his reclusive, overindulgent lifestyle as well as poor financial management Beginning with a strange appearance at the Grammy Awards in 2006, Stone half-heartedly has been attempting to make a comeback, but his erratic behavior on stage has made it difficult for him to mount an extensive tour to regain his momentum. In August, he quietly issued his first recording in years, but although Iím Back! Family & Friends includes guest appearances from Jeff Beck, Ray Manzarek, Bootsy Collins, and Ann Wilson, it hasnít garnered much attention from the masses. Still, Stone seems to be in good spirits. His van is parked in front of the home of a retired couple who feed him one meal every day and allow him to use their shower.
Throat Cancer Slays Nick Ashford
On August 22, Nick Ashford passed away in a hospital in New York. He had been receiving treatment for throat cancer, but complications from the disease took his life. He was 70. Ashford originally wanted to pursue a career as a dancer, but after meeting Valerie Simpson at a church in Harlem in 1964, the duo quickly realized that they had a special knack for writing pop songs. Once Ray Charles took Letís Go Get Stoned to the top of the R&B charts in 1966, their work was in high demand. As employees of Motown Records, Ashford and Simpson penned material for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (Ainít No Mountain High Enough), Diana Ross (Remember Me), and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles (Whoís Gonna Take the Blame). After getting married in 1974, Ashford and Simpson parlayed their accomplishments as songwriters into an equally successful recording career as a duo.
Bluesman David "Honeyboy" Edwards Dead at 96
On August 29, David "Honeyboy" Edwards died of congestive heart failure at his apartment in Chicago. He was 96. Edwards was the last of the original Delta blues singers. As such, the world lost the final link to guitarist Robert Johnson. Edwards and Johnson frequently traveled together in the 1930s, performing at every picnic, dance party, and street corner that would have them. Over the course of his 80-year career, Edwards was connected to every blues artist who mattered ó from Muddy Waters and Howliní Wolf to Charley Patton and Big Joe Williams. Edwards was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996. Even in his 90s, Edwards kept busy: He made an appearance in the 2007 film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and on the eve of President Barack Obamaís inauguration, he joined Andrew Bird, Tortoise, and the Mekons for a concert at Washington D.C.ís Black Cat Nightclub.
My Chemical Romance Tosses Drummer
Never steal from your bandmates. This is the lesson that My Chemical Romanceís Michael Pedicone learned after he was caught stealing from his pals after a performance in Washington, D.C. Pedicone reportedly confessed to the police after the show, though the drummer also stated via his Twitter account that the situation is more complicated than simple theft. The group declined to press charges, believing that his dismissal from his duties is enough punishment. Pedicone later added that a longtime feud with member of the bandís road crew pushed the matter over the edge.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations Announced
On September 27, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the slate of candidates who will vie for a spot in the prestigious museum. The Cure, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Small Faces/The Faces, Heart, Guns Ní Roses, The Spinners, Freddie King, Eric B. & Rakim, and Rufus with Chaka Khan are first-time nominees. Donovan, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, War, Laura Nyro, and Donna Summer will get another chance to become inductees. Over 500 voters will have their say on who will make the final cut. The induction ceremony will be held on April 14 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
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