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.
10.Jonathan Athon (Black Tusk)
This 32 year-old bassist held down the low end for Savannah, Georgia based extreme metal band Black Tusk. With a sound that was self described as being 'Swamp Metal' in relation to the climate and topography of the South, Black Tusk boiled together the sounds of both hardcore punk and stoner metal, to become a musical murky bong hit , akin to Eyehategod, Sleep, High On Fire, and Orange Goblin. Sadly, Athon was fatally injured near his hometown of Savannah, GA, when he was involved in a motorcycle accident. Apparently, his motorcycle was hit by an SUV, and he was taken to a hospital, but due to his injuries fell into a coma, and put on life support. The accident, which took Athon's life, occurred on November, 9, 2014.
9.Wayne Static (Static X)
Wayne Static, founding member of the 90s nu metal industrial band Static X passed away on November 1, in San Bernardino. He was 48, and leaves behind his wife Tera Wray Static. When Static X disbanded several years back, Wayne began a solo career performing his own songs and those he had written and recorded with Static X. Alongside Coal Chamber, Korn, Slipknot, System of a Down, and others, Static X led the 90s 'nu metal' movement and stood out for their electrified, industrial sound, and the front man's vertical spiked, panoramic Mohawk. For a period in the early 2000s, Static and his wife, were known to be hard-core partiers and drug abusers. But, after gaining sobriety in 2009, the Statics moved on from a lifestyle in the fast lane. Wayne had recently booked a tour, and was scheduled to leave the morning of his death. According to the San Bernardino Coroner, there is no foul play suspected, and no drugs were involved.
8.Tim Williams (Suicidal Tendencies)
As a newcomer to a band with so much history and credibility in thrash metal, hardcore punk, skate boarding, and gang culture, Tim Williams did a great job playing bass with the Venice OG skate punks Suicidal Tendencies for the past several years. His very energetic stage presence and extremely high level of stamina and passion played out well at live shows and fans thrived and fed off of the energy. Williams also was credited with performing and recording on the band's latest album, '13.' He also had worked with everyone in the music industry from Sean P. 'Diddy' Combs, to Boyz II Men, and even Toni Braxton. But, unfortunately, Williams passed away in late August, due to still as of yet undetermined causes. A post from Aug. 27, from the official ST Facebook said, "Tim was a monster on bass, running around on stage in the pit, giving his all, even when his body wasn't at its best. We will always remember him and appreciate all the kind words by those that were touched by his bass playing and him personally."
7.Jack Bruce (Cream)
As one of the founding members of this British rock trio Cream, along with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce was, and still is, regarded as one of rock music's best bass players ever. With Cream in the 1960s, Bruce was responsible for writing hit songs such as "Sunshine of Your Love," and "White Room," among others. After Cream, Bruce worked with other musical legends such as Ringo Starr and Frank Zappa. With over five decades in the music industry, he never stopped creating and recording, releasing his last album Silver Rails, earlier this year. Bruce passed away in October, in the UK, surrounded by family and loved ones, fans at the age of 71. Cream, was a Rock N Roll Hall of Fame band, and along with Baker and Clapton, Bruce helped to establish its legacy among rock music fans and critics alike.
6.Mike Atta (The Middle Class)
Guitarist Mike Atta was one of three brothers, who formed the Middle Class in 1977, in Santa Ana. As one of the OC's first punk bands with a faster than traditional sound, the band established itself among the early LA/OC hardcore scene by playing various clubs in the LA, Long Beach, OC and Hollywood areas. Atta's guitar riffs and faster style of punk playing, was a clear early influence the OC punk sound, especially with the seminal EP Out of Vogue. Atta died after a battle with lung and Kidney cancer in April, 2014, but not before several reunions shows with the classic line up in recent years. Check out the first segment of this episode of BURGR TV, which features Lee Rickard's interview with Atta.
5.James Levesque (Agent Orange)
James Levesque served as the bass player and song writer for the OC punk band Agent Orange between the years of 1981 to 1988. He may not have founded the band but his song writing credits can be heard on the band's arguably biggest album to date, 1981's Living in Darkness, including the hit single "everything Turns Grey," a song associated with the skate/surf punk sound and having inspired such bands as The Offspring, Green Day and even Nirvana. After his time with the Fullerton based punk band, Levesque worked as a lawyer in the entertainment industry. He died in October, in the Los Angeles area. The interview with Levesque starts just after the 5 minute mark.
See also: Mike Atta was OC Punk's Blue Collar Angel
As a founding guitarist of the band DEVO, Bob Casale was with the band from its inception in 1973, in Akron, Ohio. Taking early energy from punk and nu wave and mixing in dance and synth pop, and other genres of music into a mind-bending sound that defined an era of music and a place in time and culture, but still lives on today. He, along with his brother Gerald are featured on every single DEVO release, and he has spent his last years performing with the band, even after its initial break up in 1991. Since then DEVO has spent over two decades recording and awing fans everywhere with a sound only they could create. Far beyond the iconic song "Whip It," the band brings its music to life, and Casale has been a part of it from day one. He was 61 years old, and will be sorely missed by the band and legions of fans.
3.Scott Asheton(The Stooges)
Along with his older brother guitarist Ron, and vocalist Iggy Pop, drummer Scott Asheton formed the Stooges in 1967 in Michigan, and eventually changed helped to a brand new form of rock music, a visceral type of louder, more visceral brand of rock, that would evolve into punk and heavy metal. The Stooges were well ahead of their time and with an out there sound that was part psychedelic, part garage rock and part experimental, took audiences by surprise and spread havoc and chaos wherever they were allowed to perform. Pioneers shock rock, the Stooges were a quasi metal/proto punk band who earned a bad reputation and delivered an in-your-face sound, which had Asheton smashing the drums along the entire way, until his death earlier this year, at age 64.
See also: R.I.P. Bob Casale: Five Devo Songs That Aren't "Whip It"
2.Tommy Ramone (The Ramones)
Tommy Ramone, the band's original drummer died in July, in New York, at the age of 65. His death marks the end of an era for punk and rock music. All of the original members of one of the first punk bands are gone. Tommy brought out that explosive drumming and up beat energy that was crucial to the band's early sound and on stage presence, as seen at many of the legendary early performances, many of which were luckily caught on tape. Tommy first started as the manager of the Ramones, but soon took over drums so Joey could focus on singing. Tommy played drums on the Ramones' first three Ramones albums, but left the band in 1978; yet still produced the band's albums into the mid '80s. His drumming style and beats paved the way for so many generations of punk bands to follow in his footsteps. Although the Ramones were never a commercial success, as a cult band they had millions of fans worldwide. In 2002, just a year after the death of singer Joey, the band was inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Later that year he was dead of a heroin overdose. In 2004, Johnny Ramone died of prostate cancer.
1.Oderus Urungus (GWAR)
Heavy Metal and rock music fans on this planet, and around the Galaxy were shocked and deeply saddened earlier this year when the almighty Oderus Urungus, leader of GWAR passed away. His mortal body, played by the human, Dave Brockie, and left behind millions of fans, peers in the world of rock music, and band mates, all of who paid tribute to the fallen intergalactic monster this summer, at the GAWRBQ, in the band's home base of Virgina. An ancient Nordic Eulogy and service was held were the 'carcass' of Oderus was burned on a boat on Hadad's Lake. Rock music will never be as loud, bloody, cruel or offensive without him.