Death is inevitable. But at The Spec, we share this sentiment with Neil Strauss: “Everyone loves you when you’re dead.”
Learn a little more about some of the musicians dead in March…
Lew Soloff, dead at 71
Born Lewis Michael Soloff, “Lew” was an American actor, composer and jazz trumpeter from New York. He studied the trumpet at Easement School of Music and even attended the Juilliard School. Between the years of 1968 and 1973, Soloff performed alongside the jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears. He also worked with musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Gil Evans, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
Wayne Kemp, dead at 73
Kemp was an Arkansas-born country singer-songwriter. He released music for Mercury, Door Knob Records, United Artists, Decca and MCA labels between 1969 and 1986. One of his most popular and highest chart-ranking singles was “Honky Tonk Wine.” Kemp also co-wrote for other musicians — “One Piece at a Time” for Johnny Cash and George Jones’ “Love Bug.”
Daevid Allen, dead at 77
Christopher David Allen was an Australian performance artist, composer, poet, singer and guitarist best known as Daevid Allen or Divided Allen. He was a founding member of psychedelic rock bands Gong and Soft Machine. Allen formed the free jazz band Daevid Allen Trio during the 1960s, after meeting William S. Burroughs and being inspired by Sun Ra philosophies. His discography spans 1963 to 2014 and includes dozens of releases.
Andy Fraser, dead at 62
Andrew McLan Fraser was a bass guitarist and singer-songwriter from England. His career in the music industry lasted for more than four decades. He was one of the founding members of the well-known rock band Free, which formed in 1968 when he was just 15 years old. Fraser also performed as the bassist for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for a period of time, and when he left Free, he formed his own band called Sharks in 1972.
Michael Brown, dead at 65
Brown was an American musician who is best know as a songwriter and keyboardist for The Left Banke, a baroque-pop band popular during the 1960s. He is credited with writing two of the bands biggest tracks: “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina.” Brown left the band in the late 1960s and became involved with Montage. He was also associated with The Beckies and Stories, and had a short reunion with Left Banke in 2012.
Preston Ritter, dead at 65
Preston Ritter was a drummer, author and teacher. During the 1960s, he was a member of The Electric Prunes, playing on the band’s debut self-titled album. Ritter was also involved with Dobie Gray, The Beach Boys and Linda Ronstadt. When he was not making a living as a drummer, Ritter worked as a DJ, police officer, private investigator and Christian missionary teaching theology. In his last years, he moved back to Los Angeles where he taught drumming and also wrote books about it.