In part four of the series no one asked for (part one: Wings; part two: Wilco; part three: Mariah Carey), I suggest five songs from an act that will be featured at the three day (and one afternoon) music event The Great Cover Up, happening December 15-17 and benefiting the Tucson Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance. Today, I pick five songs I'd like to hear on Thursday the 15th, as part of the "Heaven at 27" set.
While there's clearly not a curse that befalls musicians that dooms them to die at the age of 27, Amy Winehouse's death at that age this year resurrected the conversation about the "27 Club", a surprisingly long list of both notable (Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix) and less notable (Maria Serrano Serrano) musicians. Sure, whoever is taking on this theme will likely play something by the Doors and Nirvana, but here are my five selections for the somewhat morbid setlist.
1. Chris Bell, "Speed of Sound" (1974)
Car accident, December 27, 1978
Bell, a member of Big Star for the first album #1 Record and who contributed to their second album Radio City, seemingly had as much to do with the formation of the group's sound as Alex Chilton, but due to his early death and the fact that most of his solo recordings weren't released until the 90's, he received far less acclaim for his contribution.
2. Mia Zapata (of the Gits), "Another Shot of Whiskey" (1992)
Murdered, July 7, 1993
The Gits were a pretty great Seattle band and exceptionally good live, mostly due to Mia Zapata's stage presence. Her death kicked off a indie rock self-defense movement in Seattle and her memorial was one of Kurt Cobain's last public appearances.
3. D. Boon (of the Minutemen), "Maybe Partying Will Help" (1984)
Car accident, December 22, 1985
Tucson has a weird history with the Minutemen, with a former KLPX DJ (Jonathan L., maybe?) getting involved in some sort of bootleg feud I've never quite understood, but anyhow, the minimalist bursts of indie rock that came from the band were unlike anything I'd heard at that point. For what its worth, their song "Corona" was the theme to Jackass, but I also never met
4. Pigpen (of the Grateful Dead), "Easy Wind" (1969)
Booze and other stuff, March 8, 1973
I asked Patrick McNamara (a big Grateful Dead fan) of Inside Tucson Business what song I should pick for Pigpen and this is what he came up with. I'm not too much into the Dead, but it's an enjoyable track.
5. Pete Ham (of Badfinger), "Day After Day"
Suicide, 1971, April 24, 1975
I love Badfinger and think Pete Ham was a songwriting genius, so I'd really encourage every band always to cover one of his songs.