This Day in Death

1.13.13: Poster Artist Gary Grimshaw – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:30 am January 27, 2014

GARY_GRIMSHAWIs that a poster advertising other posters? That is some next level meta shit right there. Also, what the hell are you listening to that needs that much high end? Is there a band that consists entirely of nothing but cymbals and banshee shrieks? Jesus, it’s called “equalization,” not “make-the-neighbor’s-dog-think-someone’s-jamming-an-ice-pick-in-his-ear… ization.”


I believe it was Ghandi who said that a product’s advertising is almost always better than the actual product being advertised. A slickly-executed promotion is the thin psychological membrane keeping us from realizing that there’s no scenario where getting a payday loan isn’t a terrible idea, or wondering why white people apparently can’t go a month without taking an extravagant vacation. Even musical performances need eye-catching ads to ensure no one will notice that all of those White Stripes songs are pretty much the same thing.

Of course, music is gone now, no longer being produced or consumed in any measurable quantity. Many of the younger generation believe it was never more than an urban legend to begin with, and those who were actually able to hear it at some point in their life have been left with nothing but the fading memory of Gwen Stefani’s brutal and unprovoked murder of beloved Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. But back in the days before the FCC declared that all advertising was legally required to be about insurance, cell phone plans, or interchangeable first-person military shooter games, there was Gary Grimshaw advertising local Detroit bands and festivals with his psychedelic poster art. Grimshaw’s work perfectly captured the mind-expanding, drug-fueled, grope-who-you-want madness of the rock and roll scene during the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately his later, more mellow posters were never quite as successful, and mostly focused on how having a loving family and a stable home life is the most intense high of all.

Born in Detroit in 1946, Grimshaw was a graduate of Lincoln Park High School, a Vietnam veteran, an antiwar activist and onetime member of the White Panther Party. He began producing art at the age of 20, and, over the next four decades, made his name working in media (including famed Detroit-based underground magazine Creem) and producing concert promotional posters for acts like the MC5, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Iggy & the Stooges and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Hey, you know what poster I’ve always liked? That one with Einstein sticking his tongue out at the camera. It really reminds you that, even though he was a genius, he was still just a normal person like everybody else. It’s why I commissioned that oil painting of Carl Sagan starting a cockfighting ring in Mexico. We’re all just people, doing our best to make this crazy experiment called “life” work, man.


Source: Detroit Free Press

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2.4.13: Troggs’ Frontman Reg Presley – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:32 pm February 6, 2013

REG_PRESLEYThe Troggs, shortly after jettisoning several extraneous members and trimming down to a sparse four-piece, because apparently a 60s British rock band doesn’t need a breakdance squad. Pfft. How illin.’


Musician Reg Presley has died of lung cancer this week, breaking the tradition of musical icons named Presley dying of constipation on their bathroom floors. Alright, so that only happened to one so far, but we really could’ve *had* something there, you know?

Presley was the lead singer for The Troggs, who, according to leading musicologists, specialized in a genre called “rock and roll.” It supposedly caused quite a stir for a while, just ask your parents. Okay, fine; ask your grandparents. Though comatose for decades, rock music didn’t officially die until last year, when Gwen Stefani ruthlessly murdered Adam Yauch. If that weren’t true, how come it’s tagged?

The Troggs had a number of hit songs, including Wild Thing and Love Is All Around, which was covered in the 1990s with huge success by Wet Wet Wet.

The success of the Wet Wet Wet version, which featured on the soundtrack of the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral, allowed Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs.

The singer published a book, Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, about the paranormal in 2002.

Granted, that’s a pretty silly vanity project, but what else is an aging rock star supposed to do with a sudden influx of late-career royalties for a two-minute song? That’s house money you’re playing with, go nuts. How do you think I finance this stupid blog? You find one pube in your Veggie Works Burrito and Del Taco practically throws money at you to keep it quiet. The secret is sneaking in your own pubes in a vial. Don’t try to wing it in the restaurant like a damn animal, that’s just poor taste. People are trying to eat in there.


Source: BBC

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10.6.12: Guitarist Nick Curran – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:54 pm October 8, 2012

Okay, I know this looks silly, but I promise you that everything in this picture has a deep, personal meaning. Except the hairnet, that’s just baller. And sanitary, to boot!


Guitarist Nick Curran, who played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in recent years, died of cancer on Saturday. Unfortunately the only joke I have is a shitty one about his epitaph saying he wasn’t “tuff enuff,” but he didn’t even play on that song so that’s just stupid. God, comedy is hard. You guys, I swear; Once I get through these Dave Barry books this site is gonna get a lot funnier.

Curran was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2010, and though he was proclaimed cancer-free by June 2010, it returned in October 2011.

Curran played in a number of bands, including Deguello and The Lowlifes, and was also a member of blues rock band The Fabulous Thunderbirds, for whom he played guitar from 2005 to 2007.

Bummer. That’s almost as rough as the time Gwen Stefani murdered Adam Yauch. “Oral cancer” sounds way less sexy now. I really have to start looking these terms up *before* I put them on my profile.

Source: Verbicide

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7.16.12: Country Music Icon Kitty Wells – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:59 am July 18, 2012

Well, that’s a funny looking vacuum cleaner, baby.


Long before music went to hell and Gwen Stefani got away with murdering Adam Yauch, there were brassy dames like Kitty Wells. In the 1950s Wells became the first female country star following the success of her hit, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.”

Wells laid a template for female singers in country music that started a shift in traditional male-female roles in rural America with “Honky Tonk Angels,” a strikingly assertive response to Hank Thompson’s masive 1952 hit “The Wild Side of Life,”…

“And it was totally written by a dude,” added the Mayor of Irony.

Alright, that’s not fair. Writing and performing your own hits wasn’t common for anyone at the time, so the most a performer could hope to do was to use their voice (literally and metaphorically) to help make a song relatable, which Wells more than managed to do. That’s the real reason she became known as the “Queen of Country,” and despite the fact that my classmates gave me that same nickname after my 8th grade talent show performance of “Stand By Your Man,” I don’t even think they knew who Kitty Wells was. So, really, that just made THEM look stupid, not me.

The stern resolution Wells gave voice to would be echoed in subsequent recordings by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and still ripples today in assertive songs by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.

It’s a legacy that you can still feel in the air every time Taylor Swift awkwardly swings her strangely angular shoulders into the studio to record another 12 songs about getting to kiss a boy. I think country music might actually be evolving backwards. By 2015 I expect most country songs to be about how women should learn to move less while sleeping so as not to disturb their husbands while they’re trying to focus on banging underage Korean prostitutes.

Source: LA Times

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6.10.12: ‘Sesame Street’ writer Judy Freudberg – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:56 am June 15, 2012

“Hey, Elmo. You wanna go firebomb those ‘Electric Company’ pussies again?”


A lot of you felt that Dick Beals death didn’t hit close enough to home and requested I shatter some slightly more recent childhood memories. Well, number one, that’s kinda messed up on your part. And two, how about the death of Judy Freudberg, one of the writers responsible for bringing loveable gremlin (?) Elmo to prominence on ‘Sesame Street’? I mean, it already happened, so it’s kinda out of my control if that isn’t what you wanted to hear. I guess that question was kinda rhetorical.

Despite being inhabited by furry elephantine creatures with suicidal depression and vampires who refuse to seek help for their crippling OCD, everyone has a soft spot for ‘Sesame Street’. For me personally, it’s how I learned about sharing, and it was a lesson I’ll never forget. I’m not so great with numbers, or simple geometric shapes, for that matter. Dining etiquette isn’t my strong suit, either. Basic grammar rules and human empathy tend to escape me, as do automotive maintenance, foreign and domestic politics, estimating weights, remembering birthdays, manual labor, electronic appliances, traffic signs, pet care, understanding how zippers work, subtlety, resume writing, time management, identifying *most* colors, poise, finances, eyeballing distances, dietary restraint, macrame, short or long-term planning, respecting positions of authority, musical composition, cardiovascular exercise, avoiding slanderous statements, chivalry, civic pride, presidents’ names, appreciating fine art, taking orders, personal and professional boundaries, punctuality, recycling, vocal projection, sports, firing small arms, calligraphy, memorization, deductive reasoning, not taunting caged animals, identifying different types of rocks and/or clouds, distinguishing between dreams and reality, and acknowledging the legitimacy of any kind of belief structure. Also, I can barely tie my shoes and whenever I see a plane I assume it’s a bad juju demon attempting to impregnate the sun. But sharing… I got that shit DOWN.

“When Sesame Street first started, it was the only game in town,” she recalled five months after leaving the show. “So they could get away with a lot more. They weren’t worried about competition.

“And then we were told, around season 30, 12 years ago, that we were losing our audience, especially with about 20 to 30 minutes left in the show. We were the only hourlong program on; children’s television was almost all 30-minute shows. And that’s when we came up with “Elmo’s World,” to go in the last part of the show, to win back their attention. And it worked.”

As long as she wasn’t responsible for those pre-taped segments where kids went on awesome field trips while I sat rotting away inside some elementary school hellhole in a Detroit ghetto. Whatever, like that shit was even fun. I don’t know what you punks think you’re gonna get out of playing games at a cotton candy factory that you won’t get from a rusted metal desk with a dying mouse hiding in it.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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5.7.12: Heroin-Addled Swiss Raver Dolphins – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:30 am May 8, 2012

I made this before reading the article. If it turns out to be inaccurate I should still be able to make some tweaks and use it for when Andy Dick ODs on Clorox this summer.

So it looks like some filthy Swiss ravers got high and fed heroin to some dolphins who happened to be in the immediate vicinity. Because in Switzerland you can apparently just party with dolphins whenever you want. The whole country behaves like its in an 80s Bud Light commercial.

Hey, Block Quote: Can we try some Block Quotes within Block Quotes, like some kind of grammatical Inception?

A toxicology report has surfaced that says two dolphins who died last year after a zoo rave in Switzerland that says heroin was found in the mammals’ urine. reports:

About a year ago, dolphins Shadow and Chelmers died agonizing deaths in Connyland, Switzerland, after the zoo allowed a rave (attended by thousands) to be held near their training pool. For animals with sonar hearing, a possibly dubstep-heavy event was already considered a strain.

Now a toxicology report has emerged that shows a heroin substitute was found in the animal’s urine. This would seem to confirm initial suspicions that whacked-out ravers fed the dolphins drugs while possibly on some kind of weird acid trip.

AOL UK reports that it was originally believed that the techno music pumping out from the club just yards from the dolphins’ pool had caused their deaths:

But toxicology tests carried out by the forensics institute in St Gallen show that the heroin substitute Buprenorphin was present in the dolphins’ urine.

According to The Sun, Dutch marine biologist and dolphin expert Cornelis van Elk said: “Opiates are extremely dangerous for underwater mammals and would never be used in any legitimate treatment.

Yikes. What a sad story. Between this and Aphex Twin Junior Skrillex I’m kinda surprised dubstep is still legal. You don’t hear about mammals dying at Sugarland concerts. Wait, seriously? Oh man. That is the worst musical atrocity since Gwen Stefani murdered Adam Yauch.


Source: Seattle PI

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5.4.12: Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:56 am May 5, 2012

Any other time that a white, middle-aged Jew can rap circles around you it just means you’re Soulja Boy.


If its ever-increasing presence in the tag cloud on the right is any indication, cancer is still not finished ruining everything for everyone. Hell, I pretty much started a post with this same statement just yesterday, and that’s not only because I suspect I may have the same brain problem as that Momento guy. Truly, cancer is the cancer of diseases.

Today Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, has died. Cause of death is presumably due to the cancerous salivary gland he had spent the last three years battling. He was 47. This is why we can’t have anything nice.

I shouldn’t have to tell you why the Beasties are significant. If you need to be told why Yauch’s death is a loss for music, and your last name isn’t Google, I don’t need your traffic. Philistine. But, by way of tribute, let’s one final time let the Block Quote…. mmmmmmdrop!

They offered many listeners in the 1980s their first exposure to hip-hop. They were vanguard white rappers who helped extend the art of sampling and gained the respect of their African-American peers.

While many hip-hop careers are brief, the Beastie Boys appealed not only to the fans they reached in the 1980s but to successive generations, making million-selling albums into the 2000s. They grew up without losing their sense of humor or their ear for a party beat.

The Beastie Boys started their major-label career with two pivotal albums: “Licensed to Ill” (1986), a cornerstone of rap-rock that became the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart, and “Paul’s Boutique” (1989), a wildly eclectic, sample-based production that became a template for experimental hip-hop.

Yauch and the Beasties maintained a social and political consciousness throughout most of their career, most notably working towards freedom for Tibet from China’s occupation. Alright, so that hasn’t panned out just yet, but the effort is nonetheless admirable. Most famous musicians spend so much time designing clothing lines and starring in shitty vanity projects that they don’t even bother learning to play instruments, let alone use their fame to do any good for anyone. Aside from the Beasties and U2 pretty much the only other group setting an example for socially responsible musicians is the Right Said Fred Coalition for Mesh T-Shirt Awareness. In 2012 that may sound like something that doesn’t really need “awareness” spread about it, but that just goes to show you how successful it was. Point is, maybe if Gwen Stefani cared more about cancer and less about making sure that impressionable idiots with deep pockets were always swaggin’ in fashions so gaudy that Bill Cosby’s sweater would sign a petition against color-blocking Yauch would still be around and we wouldn’t be short another fantastic musician. And I wouldn’t have to post after five o’clock on a Friday. That’s right, I’m calling it: Gwen Stefani murdered Adam Yauch.


Source: The New York Times

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