The Late Jack Bruce: "I Don't Feel I Have Anything to Prove Anymore"

Heinrich Klaffs via Wikipedia Commons

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, a final interview with the late and legendary Jack Bruce.

The passing of Jack Bruce, who died Friday at age 71, is a loss that didn't resonate only with those who marveled at his early work with British blues greats Graham Bond, John Mayall, and Alexis Korner; his groundbreaking climb to superstardom with Cream; and later, his genre-defying efforts on his own and in the company of others. It also hit hard with a newer generation of fans who witnessed his continuing efforts to shatter stereotypes and forge his own ever-evolving style and circumstance.

Bruce's last album, Silver Rails, released just this past April, demonstrated that the innovation and exploration that's marked Bruce's extraordinarily prolific career was in no danger of slowing down. The composer of one of rock's most enduring riffs -- the signature bass line that defined "Sunshine of Your Love" -- he boasted a career that's veered from blues and jazz to pop, prog rock and heavy metal, even as his role in redefining the function of bass guitar all but assured his lingering legacy.

I had an opportunity to connect with Bruce via email this past May, and while I feared his curmudgeonly reputation might be a bit intimidating for yours truly, it was anything but. Here is part of the transcript from that exchange:

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Dan Hosker Music Continuum Celebrates Life and a Legacy


I'm usually jovial enough at gatherings to let certain rye libations behind my wheel and commandeer conversations at social gatherings -- in a rather obnoxious manner, I'm usually told -- and shanghai any topic into a "me-me-me" scenario. Unfortunately, the beers I've had now aren't enough to muster that kind of juvenile bravado. No. As it shouldn't, because it would be counter-productive to the proceedings at hand.

Let me backtrack a little bit. I've often argued at length two major understandings of the South Florida music scene: A) This is a very tightly-knit musical community, and B) often times many great outfits/moments go unrecorded. I've had the sad and dubious distinction of penning a few obituaries for some of our locals and have attended way too many funerals in my short thirty-six years than I would have cared to.

Last year we lost Dan Hosker. Not only was he a charismatic fellow and a beloved local musician, he was also deeply committed to his craft.

See also: Dan Hosker: South Florida Loses a Musical Hero

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Lou Reed's Ten More Memorable Musical Moments

Categories: In Memoriam

Wikipedia Commons
Still waiting for that man.
Lou Reed passed away this past weekend due to a liver-related illness. He was generally identified by his taciturn expression, deadpan vocals, and a reputation for maintaining his strict artistic integrity. A true rock visionary, he helmed one of the most influential bands of all time, the Velvet Underground, and in the process laid the foundation for every band you've enjoyed since. David Bowie was an early admirer, and he made no secret of the impression Reed made on his own sound.

It would be nearly impossible to accurately sum up all the great musical moments that are essential to Reed's legacy, but here are a few of the most memorable highlights from Reed's 45-year career.

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Big Poppa E Tribute Tonight at Tobacco Road; Five Other Great Bluesmen Whose Music Influenced the World

1948 - 2012

This August 25, the great bluesman Mutasim Ra'id "Big Poppa E" Faisal passed away suddenly from an apparent heart attack. At 64 years of age, he was a mere teenager when it comes to blues musicians. An eternal student of his craft, the tradition of blues was firmly cemented into Big Poppa's musical DNA, but it was also rife with sounds from around the globe.

To say his passing leaves a significant cultural void in South Florida is putting it simply. He touched the lives of so many with his music. Perhaps under-appreciated, his house was a frequent stop for national and international musicians who palavered with Big Poppa in the purest exchange of artistic idealism.

While some local talent like Felipe Lamoglia, Jowee Omicil, and Papa Joe will pay tribute tonight at Big Poppa's old stomping grounds, Tobacco Road, we'll take this opportunity to showcase other dearly departed bluesmen in hopes to expose the South Florida community to some great tunes and musicians. This is real American music.

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Jimmy Pagano Memorial Jam at America's Backyard Benefits Artists with Autism

Denise Langella

In April 2011, Jimmy Pagano, a valued local drummer, promoter, and friend, was murdered trying to break up a bar fight at Fishtales Bar and Grill, where he himself hosted a weekly Pro Jam event. It was a huge blow for the Fort Lauderdale music scene and also for those who loved him. This Sunday, May 20, Pagano's friends and supporters will gather at America's Backyard for a memorial jam. There will be raffles and a silent auction to benefit musicians with autism.

Roscoe Peterson, his best friend and the guitar player in Jimmy Pagano's Untamed Band offered us a few words in remembrance of Pagano:

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Backstage in South Florida: Pondering the Loss of Two Legends, Dick Clark and Levon Helm

Categories: In Memoriam
courtesy of Wikipedia
Music vet and
New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions and observations about the local scene. This week: In memory of icons and institutions. 

It's been a hell of a week in terms of losing legends. Two of them in fact. Gone suddenly, though we knew it was inevitable, I suppose. And a third hanging on by a thread. A terrible week indeed.

Not surprisingly, Dick Clark's passing garnered the most notice. After all, the guy was iconic. He had a steady presence for the better part of the past 60 years, first as the amiable host of TV's first music showcase. This was prior to Ed Sullivan's showcasing the first wave of rock 'n' roll's emerging superstars and, of course, the 24/7 surge of MTV, and then later as a veritable television institution whose empire spread to award shows, game shows, a production company, and, inevitably, that New Year's Eve countdown from the heart of Times Square. 

He was so compelling a presence in that final arena that neither the horror of 9/11 nor a stroke could keep him away, even though when his speech slowed and he had to struggle to reclaim a semblance of his old self, it became almost too painful to watch.

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Whitney Houston's Grammy Performance Highlights

Categories: In Memoriam
As the music industry and world mourns the untimely death of music legend Whitney Houston, it's been reported that tonight at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards various performers will pay tribute to her.

Whitney Houston herself is no stranger to being on stage at the Grammys. With a career spanning over four decades, she went on to receive 26 nominations and performed a total of 7 times.

In 1986, a 22-year old Whitney Houston took the stage, making her Grammys debut with a stunning performance of "Saving All My Love From You". As we remember one of our generation's greatest voices on the eve of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, we look back on some of the highlights from Whitney Houston's award ceremony performances.

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Five of Metallica's Best Bass Songs for Cliff Burton 50th Birthday

Jens Eriksson via Wikimedia Commons
A Burton memorial in Ljungby, Sweden
If you clicked on this, you probably already know the story: It was 1986, and Metallica released their third album, Master of Puppets to wild acclaim. They took their Damage, Inc. tour on a massive swing through Europe, only to have the excursion interrupted by a bus crash in Sweden. Everyone escaped the turned-over tour bus except for their bass player, 24-year old Cliff Burton, a classically trained metalhead with long hair, denim jacket, and a Misfits tattoo. He was crushed by the bus and died Sept. 27, 1986.

Though the remaining band members picked up Jason Newsted as a replacement by the end of the year and would go on to sell a zillion records, fans still readily point to the Burton era as the band's musical heyday (though Lulu doesn't make the distinction particularly hard to make). Today would have been Burton's 50th birthday -- in memory of the man behind the mustache, here are five of his best contributions to Metallica's early catalog.

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RIP, Jeff Stratton: Past New Times Music Editor & Friend Forever

Categories: In Memoriam
The entire New Times family was hit with a tremendous shock Wednesday afternoon when we learned that our brother Jeff Stratton had passed away suddenly after apparent complications from a stomach ulcer in Honduras. He was 47.

As part of an accomplished journalism career around the country, Jeff served as New Times music editor between 2000-04 and then transitioned to a staff writer from 2004-07, and continued to contribute writing for every section of the paper up to the present. Most recently, he was spearheading his own paper, the Roatan New Times. Far greater than that, he was a dear friend, a loving father, and a brilliant, articulate thinker. Anyone who spent a few minutes with the guy could feel that warmth right away.

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Ingrid Pastorius Memorial Service Scheduled for Sunday

Categories: In Memoriam
It has been a week of mixed emotions for the family and friends of Jaco and Ingrid Pastorius.

For weeks, the attention had been on a birthday celebration to herald what would have been the gifted bassist's 60th birthday at the Funky Biscuit, but things took on an entirely different light when Ingrid Pastorius passed away suddenly on Sunday from complications following a heart attack.

County Grind spoke to many of Pastorius' friends from the community since then, and plans are to turn Sunday into a double celebration of life.

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