A Beginner's Guide to Sean Price: 5 Essential Songs

Categories: R.I.P.

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Meres One
Sean Price Mural in Brooklyn

Hip-hop fans are still in mourning over the unexpected death of veteran MC and Brooklyn favorite Sean Price. The Boot Camp Clik member most known for his work as one half of 90s rap duo Heltah Skeltah as well as his solo resurgence in the mid-2000s on Duck Down Records, Price expired in his sleep at the age of 43.

While this Friday sees the release of his posthumous mixtape Songs in the Key of Price, a project completed and pressed before Price's death with signed copies going to all the pre-orders, it's going to be the final work of a man whose wholly unique legacy in rap showed the toughest guys can still have the funniest self-deprecating humor. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Price's tremendous output, we've assembled five essential Sean Price tracks to get you started.

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The Time Roddy Piper and I Discussed His Singing Career

Categories: R.I.P.

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Techarrow via WikiMedia Commons
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper 1954-2015
Wrestling fans the world over are in mourning as veteran wrestler/actor/comedian "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (née Roderick Toombs) died in his sleep from cardiac arrest July 30 at the age of 61. Piper, who competed in the main event at the first Wrestlemania and remained one of the industry's biggest attractions through the '80s and '90s, also found success dabbling in Hollywood, starring in John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic They Live and most recently guest-starring on television shows It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Celebrity Wife Swap. But what's not as well-known are his musical endeavors.

Sure, his feud with singer Cyndi Lauper in the early days of MTV helped kick off the '80s wrestling explosion and is one of his career highlights. But there have also been a few instances in which the Hotrod himself tried showing off his Rowdy Roddy pipes. In 1992, he recorded the single "I'm Your Man" for Sony/Epic Records; it was released in the U.K. Not quite as silly as you would expect, it's a track whose seriousness is comparable to Eddie Murphy's "Whatzupwitu."

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So Long, Steamers: Fullerton's Famous Jazz Club Closes Its Doors After 21 Years

Categories: R.I.P.

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LP Hastings
Just after midnight on July 31, the heat of a packed house in OC's best jazz club will have left the room for good. The chairs will be stacked atop the tables, the soundboard turned off, iron patio furniture locked up, and the stage lights lowered one final time. It's the last night Steamers Jazz Club and Café will be open, the locking of its door signifying the shuttering of the only true jazz venue in Orange County and its more than 20 years of insane, ridiculous, jiving, stomping memories.

The decision to sell the legendary business was not an easy one for owner Terence Love. Fullerton locals and club regulars have murmured about its closing for more than a year, but Love kept tight-lipped. It was finally confirmed, however, on July 15 in the Orange County Register, with an article quoting Evans Brewing Co. and Public House spokesman Andrew Beyer, saying that company had bought the business from Love. It was a huge hit to not only the countless musicians who played there on a regular basis, but also to anyone imbibing in downtown Fullerton who wanted to avoid the riff-raff.

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Remembering Aaron Fletcher Owens, Former Hepcat Guitarist and Brother of Ikey Owens

Categories: R.I.P.

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Courtesy Miguel Happoldt
Aaron Fletcher Owens playing with Long Beach Dub All Stars at Skunk Records' 25th Anniversary in 2014
Aaron Fletcher Owens, a beloved Long Beach-bred guitarist and brother of late keyboardist and producer Ikey Owens has died. Over the weekend, The Weekly learned that Owens succumbed to congestive heart failure early Sunday morning after being admitted to a local hospital last Thursday. He was 38. The news was a devastating blow to the Long Beach music community, still morning the loss of Owens' brother Ikey, who died suddenly while on tour with Jack White in Mexico last October.

Aaron, the second of three brothers in the Owens family (including bassist/composer Brandon Eugene Owens), was a founding member of Pocket Lent alongside Ikey in the early '90s. He later joined Southern California ska/reggae outfit Hepcat as a credited player on their 1998 album Right On Time and full-blood member on 2000s Push n' Shove. Though he was often known as the quiet, more reserved of the three Owens brothers, Aaron's soulful style on the guitar gave him a loud voice in the Southern California ska and reggae scene, whenever he chose to use it.

See also: Ikey Owens Was Long Beach's Ultimate Sonic Wingman

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Punk Rock Heroes Remember Thom Wilson

Categories: R.I.P.

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Courtesy of Epitaph Records
Thom Wlson
On Monday, the Weekly reported on the passing of legendary producer and engineer Thom Wilson. As outlets like ours posted the tragic news (which wasn't announced until a month after he died on Feb. 8), his production on The Offspring's seminal 1994 album Smash was the slice of his career that made headlines. Of course, that's because millions of copies later, it's an album everyone in the world knows (though we're sure there were plenty of fans who had no clue Wilson produced it).

But enough about Smash already. As many of you know, Wilson's recording credits--despite carrying big names like Ringo, Seals and Crofts, Barbara Streisand and Perry Como--included some pretty heavy hitters in the punk scene way before the '90s. Bands like The Adolescents, Dead Kennedys, The Vandals, T.S.O.L. and Christian Death were all singing Wilson's praises for all the blood, sweat and sleepless nights he put into working on their early records. But beyond that, he seemed like a genuinely swell guy to be around. In honor of Wilson's legacy as one of punk's most important producers, we collected some stories, quotes and remembrances about him from some of our favorite punkers who knew Wilson back in the day.

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Thom Wilson, Producer for Offspring's Smash, is Dead

Categories: R.I.P.

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Courtesy of Epitaph Records
Thom Wilson
Thom Wilson, the producer of the Offspring's seminal album Smash, has died. According to a press release from Epitaph Records, Wilson passed away on Feb. 8. As distressing as it is to have found out about this tragedy over a month late, it's even more devastating to know that a key advisor to one of OC's biggest bands is no longer with us. Today, Epitaph CEO Brett Gurewitz released a statement:

"In '82 when I was just getting started Thom Wilson was a guy all the bands in the scene looked up to. He was the pro in our midst who loved punk and was willing to take kids under his wing to help them sound great. His work with TSOL and The Adolescents set the bar for everything that came after, including The Offspring's multi-platinum LP Smash, which was the best-selling independent release of all time. Tom was a friend, a teacher, and a great producer. He'll be missed."

In addition to Smash (which celebrated it's 20th anniversary last year), Wilson was the executive producer on the band's eponymous debut and their sophomore album Ignition. And, lest we forget, without Wilson, Holland's immortal guitar riff on "Come Out and Play" might not even exist.

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Remembering Jam Master Jay on his 50th Birthday With Five Overlooked Cuts

Categories: R.I.P.

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Youngking11 via WikiMedia Commons
Jam Master Jay Mural at New York's 5 Pointz
Today would have been Run-DMC turntabilist Jam Master Jay's 50th birthday. Arguably the most influential DJ of all time, he's contributed not only to some of hip-hop and music of the 20th Century's finest moments, but always gave back to his community, encouraging music education and offering resources that ensure the ripple effects of his impact will be felt for years to come.

While we all know the classic iconic Run-DMC tracks that Jay was an important third of, there's plenty of other gems he's responsible for that deserve some shine. Here's five underappreciated Jam Master Jay moments.

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10 Punk and Metal Musicians Who Died in 2014

Categories: R.I.P.

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Erick Hess
Oderus Urungus--RIP
As 2014 comes to an end, we reflect on all of those who have left this Earth in the past 365 days. 2014, like most years, has seen its ups and downs, including many from the world of punk and heavy metal, and this list is a celebration of their collective lives and music. 2014 was a particularly hard year for punk, with many veteran musicians in pivotal bands passing away. Here is our list of punk and metal musicians that we lost this year.


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R.I.P. Agent Orange Bassist James Levesque

Categories: R.I.P.

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facebook.com/PunkRockGraveyard
Sad news has come through the Orange County punk rock dispatches this last week: James Levesque, one of Agent Orange's original bassists, passed away on October 19.

Levesque joined the Fullerton-based band -- which all but defined the skate-punk genre -- in 1981 after Steve Soto (of the Adolescents) left, and stayed with them until 1988, when he was replaced by Brent Liles. Levesque performed on Agent Orange's biggest album, 1981's Living in Darkness, and helped write the record's first single, "Everything Turns Grey," among other songs. The album was released on seminal local indie label Posh Boy Records.

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Ikey Owens Was Long Beach's Ultimate Sonic Wingman

Categories: R.I.P.

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Photo by Matt Cohn
Photo by Matt Cohn The Holden Community Wall, on 4th St. in Long Beach near Retro Row, has become a makeshift memorial to Ikey Owens.
For an interview in 2011, at 10 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens insisted on meeting for drinks at the V Room, a dive bar on 4th Street in Long Beach.

As he sipped a Jim Beam neat, he talked about hanging out in the early days with pre-Fergie Black Eyed Peas (who were playing the Super Bowl halftime show that year), why he was considering leaving the behemoth prog-rock arena band The Mars Volta, and the creative inroads he was making through his new fledging career as a producer and mentor.

He also discussed at length his not-so-solo-anymore project, Free Moral Agents, which grew from a bedroom recording experiment into a psych-y, jazzy, beat-pummeling collective that was already playing places like Low End Theory. Having spent most of his time on stage as someone else's hired gun, he liked that it allowed him to do the hiring for once.

Few local session musicians built out their careers by working across genres and in roles as diverse as those tackled by Owens.

For the last two decades, the 38-year-old Long Beach-bred keyboardist and producer collaborated and performed with dozens of bands both local and large, earning his most public praise (and one Grammy) for his work with Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Mars Volta and, most recently, Jack White.

See also: Ikey Owens, Long Beach Legend, Dead at 38

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