As we reach the end of 2021 many of us reflect on what’s happened over the last twelve months and in these strange times we live in it seems inevitable that we lose more and more of our heroes and heroines. We seem to have lost a few more good ones this past twelve months and here at RPM Online, we’d like to celebrate some of our favourites who passed away. Rather than dwell on the morbid side and how or why they died let’s celebrate with some videos they featured in and look back on some of the fantastic music they left behind.
Sylvain Sylvain February 14, 1951 – January 13, 2021
New York Dolls guitar legend Sylvain Sylvain died aged 69 on 13th January 2021 following a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. Apart from being the mainstay in the Dolls, Sylvain released some decent solo albums either under his own name or The Criminals album. It’s usually when they’re gone do we realise how treasured these guys are and when I met him he was warm and engaging. Sylvain was a larger-than-life personality and played with a smile on his face. I loved those reformed Dolls shows from the Festival Hall right up to the bitter end, Sylvain was a legend. Early memories being the incredible Whistle Test performance which would have been one of the earliest glimpses we Brits had of Sylvain in an infamous clip from the glib intro to the incendiary performance the Dolls were the beating heart of real glam rock n roll not mock rock at all. It’s an iconic moment when Rock and Roll stole many a teenage heart.
Like a lot of his generation who have now sadly passed we don’t have many left and when he announced his diagnosis people were already praising him for his originality and style and for lighting a flame in many of his fans who went on to form their own bands. A trailblazer and original rocker Sylvain was and is a genuine legend.
Mark Keds 28 October 1970 – 11 January 2021
Singer and guitarist with Senseless Things, died aged 50 in the early hours of Sunday 10th January 2021. Former bandmate Ben Harding broke the news, writing: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have to tell you that, sadly, Mark – our singer, friend and main songwriter – is no longer with us. It’s no secret that he had struggled on and off with drug abuse and a pretty chaotic lifestyle for a long while, and his health suffered substantially over the years due to this. While this had sometimes created friction within the on-off workings of Senseless Things and his other projects, we choose to remember the friend, the brother and the talent we’ve lost today.”
Senseless Things released four studio albums and a Peel Sessions album between 1989 and 1995, had two Top 20 singles and he then went on to hold down a brief stint with The Wildhearts started a new band Jolt before getting a writing credit for ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ by the Libertines. Keds and Jerome Alexandre formed Deadcuts who did a split with The Hip Priests and released a couple of albums as well but never managed to reach anywhere near the heights of success he had with Senseless Things. Sadly Mark had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is treatable. His talent will be greatly missed as he shuffled off at the young age of 50.
Charlie Watts – 2 June 1941 – 24th August 2021
A man who certainly doesn’t need an introduction is Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts who died at the age of 80 on 24th August 2021. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family. Charlie was the driving force behind The Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation. A unique character who was the backbone of the band often overlooked by the larger-than-life characters who played in front of him but his style and drive were a huge part of what made the band sound as good as they did. Often the center of some quality stories and recollections with some of the best being when he punched Jagger and put him in his place about being the singer in HIS band and his quote about spending twenty-five years hanging around. He had a fantastic calm and dry sense of humor and what seemed like the patience of a saint amidst all the chaos that surrounded him for decades and decades. He was indeed one of a kind and it’s fair to say there will never be another Charlie Watts. A cause of death is yet to be revealed.
Malcolm Dome 1955 – 29 October 2021
Not a musician who influenced any scene but a huge influence on Rock music. Malcolm Dome died on 1st November 2021 aged 66. During his 40+ year career, Dome wrote for various influential publications including Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Record Mirror and Classic Rock. In a February 1984 article for Kerrang!, Dome is responsible for the term “thrash metal” while describing Anthrax’s ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’.
Stars from many genres paid tribute to Dome following his death including Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Saxon, Geezer Butler, Lars Ulrich and Doro all artists he championed be it on the pages of Kerrang! or the airwaves of Rock Radio. A font of knowledge and a genuinely lovely guy to all who met him. Dome was one of a handful who filled the pages of magazines with bands that broke big, they happened to be the soundtrack to millions of teenagers, growing up with the music of a certain type it was impossible to avoid his words, and his words filled some iconic books on the subject of Rock, all this prior to this wonderful interweb. Always passionate, always on the money rest in peace mr wordsmith.
Mick Rock – 21 November 1948 – 18 November 2021
Legendary British photographer Mick Rock, who was responsible for some of the most iconic images of David Bowie, Queen, Syd Barrett, T. Rex, Lou Reed and many more, died on 18th November 2021 aged 72. No cause of death has been revealed. A statement read: “Those who had the pleasure of existing in his orbit, know that Mick was always so much more than ‘The Man Who Shot The 70s.’He was a photographic poet – a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his own delightfully outrageous way.” He happened to create seminal sleeves such as, Lou Reed’s ‘Transformer’ and ‘Coney Island Baby’, Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ ‘Raw Power’, Queen’s ‘Queen II’ and ‘Sheer Heart Attack’, The Ramones’ ‘End of the Century’ and Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.’ He was also famously David Bowie’s chief photographer in the 1970s and captured many images of the Ziggy Stardust era. and I’m sure we’ve all stared at his pictures for hours over the years such was his talent for capturing the moment.
Hank Von Hell – 15 June 1972 – 19 November 2021
Former Turbonegro singer Hank Von Helvete (born Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby), passed on 19th November 2021 aged just 49. Turbonegro said in a statement: “It is with immense sadness we received the tragic news that Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby has passed away. We are thankful for the times, the moments and the magic we shared with Hans-Erik in Turbonegro during the years 1993-2009. As a charismatic frontman who equally channeled humor and vulnerability, Hans-Erik was crucial for the band’s appeal. He was a warm and big hearted human, a spiritually and intellectually seeking person who loved having a conversation with anyone. We are proud of what we created together as rock brothers in Turbonegro – the music, the characters, our whole universe.”
Darrell Bath – Dec 24. 1966 – Sept 27. 2021
Sadly passed away in his sleep Darrell was a master of his craft and was often spoken about as being a genius and one of the most naturally gifted guitar pickers of his generation. whether he was playing some punk, glam or acoustic Daz didn’t play the same way twice, he played from the heart and had the touch of a master. He was a pretty decent songwriter as well when he put his mind to it and probably his biggest downfall was he didn’t assemble an album as often as he should have but when he did be it as part of The Crybabys, Vibrators, Subs or Ian Hunters band or as a solo artist it was a joy to hear.
When he stood in the Dogs D’Amour he was the perfect choice to replace the departed Jo Dog who also had incredible touch and style Bath was the perfect choice to fill such stylish shoes and do it with style and panache. His last album ‘Roll Up’ was superb but that was in 2016 way too long ago but it was a bit bloody good.
We were however lucky to have a few 7″ singles drop out of his vagabond case ‘Greedy Green Eyes’ a year after ‘Roll Up’ and then finally Rockin The Streets with Los Tupper that signed off with a brilliant cover of the David Essex classic ‘Hold Me Close’
“Darrell Bath was a fine guitarist and a walking lyric. He will be missed. My condolences to his loved ones.”
– Ian Hunter
Timo Kaltio – 17 August 1960 – Sept 02. 2021
Timo was best known as a guitarist in Cherry Bombz and of course Cheap and Nasty. Kaltio also wrote the chorus for Guns N ‘Roses ‘, ‘Right Next Door To Hell’. In more recent times the talented artist also played sweet guitar in the Peckham Cowboys and toured the UK with this old school band of rock n rollas and most recently contributed to the Rich Ragany & The Digressions album.
Timo had not long moved back home to his native Finland before passing on which came as a shock to us fans. He will be sadly missed by many fans as well as his loved ones. He had some amazing heartwarming tributes paid to his talent and his lovely soul will be missed by many. His contribution to some fine bands should never be underestimated. Rest In Peace Timo.