Helping Ivan Julian And Remembering Buffin, Blowfly and Glenn Frey

To many In Memoriams, sad to say. Although first I wanted to mention a way to help an ailing musician. Ivan Julian, who was the Voidoids‘ original guitarist and currently plays with the cult supergroup The Fauntleroys with the Alejandro Escovedo, Linda Pitmon and Nicholas Tremulis, has been diagnosed with cancer. The band and label Plowboy Records are making the band’s new single a fundraiser to benefit Julian’s medical costs.


Ivan Julian

There are also other ways to donate too. Visit for additional details.

So today’s fallen rock star is the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, who passed away at 67 due to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. Frey, of course, helped create that country-rock juggernaut known as the Eagles. It’s well-known how he started out in Detroit and crossed paths with Bob Seger before heading west, where he played in Linda Ronstadt‘s 1971 tour band with drummer Don Henley, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Bernie Leadon – which evolved into the Eagles. Besides all of the great songs that filled their classic first albums, I also remember them as the place where I found out about guys like Tom Waits, J.D. Souther and Jack Tempchin. I came across this interesting country rock track “Run Boy Run” from his 1970 Longbranch Pennywhistle album, his duo with Souther (another Detroit boy gone west). You can hear the seeds of the Eagles here.


Clarence Reid was better known as Blowfly. He wasn’t a James Bond supervillain but a man with a raucous sense of humor and wild stage presence. While he had a long career as a songwriter and producer (with credits ranging from Sam & Dave to K.C. & the Sunshine Band), he also liked to make sexually explicit parody songs under the name Blowfly. It was as Blowfly that he became a rap pioneer and an underground cult figure. He passed away from liver cancer at the age of 77. There are reports that his final album 77 Trombones will be released in February.



Drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin was a founding member of the great Mott the Hoople. He stayed in the band after they changed their name to Mott, following Ian Hunter‘s departure. He later was a producer on the John Peel BBC Radio shows. Griffin, who died at 67 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s, was too ill to play when Mott the Hoople did their reunion shows a few years ago. “The Ballad of Mott the Hoople” seemed like a good choice to include, although this was the best one I could find:


Mic Gillette might be the least known member of this sad roll call. An acclaimed trumpet and trombone player was a  founding member of the legendary funky soul band Tower of Power. His credits also included playing with Elton John, Rod Stewart, Santana and the Rolling Stones and, in recent years, he has been teaching music with Bay Area middle and high school students. Gillette died from a heart attack at 64. The Tower of Power’s hit “What Is Hip,” which categories all of these men.





About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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