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Posts Tagged ‘obituaries’

R.I.P. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016


I have to say a few words about Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest (pictured center), who died last night. Rolling Stone reports that it was due to complications of diabetes, which is what you’d expect of the MC who called himself “a funky diabetic” on the classic “Oh My God” and who several years ago received a kidney transplant. It was donated by his wife, as was touchingly depicted in Michael Rapaport’s documentary Beats, Rhymes and Life.

I have to agree with the conventional wisdom that A Tribe Called Quest is one of the best rap groups ever. There was a time in the ’90s when I started to resent them as the group that every white non-rap fan would say they liked, along with Beastie Boys. But eventually I had to admit to myself that those guys were right. I liked their first album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, which they made when they were teenagers and wearing to wear goofy costumes. The album holds up due to songs like “Bonita Applebum” and “Can I Kick It?” But it’s their second album, The Low End Theory, that makes them all-timers.

I still kinda remember the feeling of hearing it for the first time. It seemed so weird and stripped down compared to the complex samplescapes that I loved at the time. The sampling of some jazz basslines and horn riffs seemed very distinct and novel at the time, but the drums seemed so simple and raw. And that’s what still stands out to me today. As much as I love their voices and words, I am hypnotized by the drum. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tony Scott

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Well, I’m sure we’ve all heard the shitty news by now. (I heard it here first, from Fred.) Director Tony Scott took his own life today.

I’m afraid I’ve written some not-nice things about Mr. Scott’s movies during my time here. DOMINO was one of my most hot-headed reviews ever, and after that I sort of used him as a symbol of directors who get carried away with the show-offy editing and lose all sense of filmatism. I don’t fool myself that Mr. Scott ever read that review or knew who I was, so I got nothing to feel guilty about there. But I just want to say that I certainly never meant anything against the man personally and I’m sorry that whatever he was going through pushed him to do what he did. Obviously a talented man who we all thought would be around longer and get more chances to win us back.

(read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Dan O’Bannon

Friday, December 18th, 2009

obannonDamn, I just read on The Ain’t It Cool News that Dan O’Bannon died. He’s mainly known as the creator of ALIEN (he wrote the original script). Although his script was re-written there’s no way to deny it came out of his mind when you watch DARK STAR, which he wrote with John Carpenter (as well as co-starred in and built the sets) and see how similar it is to ALIEN even though it’s a comedy. After that one he was hired by Jodorowsky to work on that version of DUNE that never came about.

O’Bannon’s got a bunch of great credits but the one I always associate him with is the absolutely brilliant RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. If you’ve never gotten around to seeing that one I think you should do it now and I don’t think you’ll regret it. If I ever complete last year’s New Year’s resolution of writing a script I’ll aspire to writing an opening scene half as perfect as that first-day-at-work sequence that opens ROTLD. The way he casually introduces all this information – the geography of the building, the things that will become zombified, the origins of the zombie plague – in the context of a very relatable work situation, making you laugh at the same time he’s building tension… I think it’s one of the all time greats.

To briefly summarize some of his career highlights, he got his start with John Carpenter, hung out with Jodorowsky, created one of the great sci-fi series of all time, invented fast zombies, wrote movies for Tobe Hooper (LIFE FORCE and INVADERS FROM MARS) and Paul Verhoeven (no less than TOTAL RECALL).

He was only 63. Too bad, man. I know it’s been a while since he got his credits on anything but ALIEN spinoffs, but I thought he had more in him. Thanks for the great times bud.

David Carradine

Friday, June 5th, 2009

deathrace2000Nothing too fancy, but just wanted to take a minute to pay some respects to poor David Carradine. Like many people I was saddened by his passing, and by the knowledge that for now on whenever you mention the poor guy some god damn prick will get to make a smarmy quip about the apparent circumstances of his death. Can’t defeat his kung fu but you can defeat him with your powers of ironic distance and obvious jokes. Congratulations, dick.

To tell you the truth I used to kind of resent Carradine as the white guy who got to star in two Bruce Lee creations, the show KUNG FU and the movie CIRCLE OF IRON. Well, the truth is it wasn’t really his fault, I don’t really blame him for taking the job on KUNG FU and CIRCLE OF IRON was after Bruce’s death anyway. Plus, he did a better job replacing Bruce Lee than the other guy did replacing James Coburn. He’s really good in both roles, actually. (for a white guy.)

Come to think of it it’s kind of weird, Carradine is so associated with martial arts, but he didn’t practice them until he did that show, so he could also be in all those westerns and shit without somebody making him do karate. He was foremost an actor but also could teach a tai chi workout if he wanted to. My favorite Carradine movie was always DEATH RACE 2000 (pictured above), where he played the famous death race driver Frankenstein. It’s the satire and the crazy cars and everything that I like in that movie, but it’s hard to imagine Frankenstein without that voice and that lanky frame. He was a super hero. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sooooo Long, Curtis!

Tuesday, December 28th, 1999

curtis_mayfieldFather Geek here, a true genius is gone, too soon, CURTIS MAYFIELD has died. The man who penned one of my favorite soundtracks and in so doing influenced an entire genre of film music is no longer with us. I was just about to sit down and write a tribute to the man when the following arrived at Geek Headquarters and it is soooo complete that, well here’s what Vern has to say about the man who did as much as anyone to bring soul out of the getto and on to our motion picture screens…

Curtis Mayfield 1942-1999

Hello harry my name is Vern and to be frankly honest I have been reading your sight only for a little bit. But I have an excuse because I was out of the picture for a while and only this year started to explore the internet. Anyway point is I Wrote this piece for my column VERN TELL’S IT LIKE IT IS, but if you are willing to run it on your sight that would be even better. I would be honored if you would allow me to Write a few words about a genius who passed on from our world last Sunday, Mr. Curtis Mayfield. (read the rest of this shit…)