Neil Cooper established a career in the music industry working for the majors: both at MCA and the Famous Artists agency. Cooper's legend, however, was created by skillfully dodging the majors with Reach Out International Records, or ROIR for short. ROIR began as a cassette-only label in 1981, with a release from James Chance and the Contortions. Cassettes of live recordings didn't typically violate recording label contracts, and through Cooper's guidance and persistance, ROIR became one of the most important independent record labels. Over the last 20 years, the label has released numerous tapes including some from Glenn Branca, Television, Suicide, the New York Dolls, Einsturzende Neubauten, Greater Than One, The MC5, Mad Professor, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Bad Brains. The label continues under the direction of his son, Lucas, who releases music on CD and keeps the cassette releases in print. Cooper died on August 13th at his home in Manhattan.
English born writer, Douglas Adams died on Friday after a heart attack. Adams is most known for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" but also contributed to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and "Dr. Who" back in the 1970s. At the time of his death, he was working on a film version of his classic book in Santa Barbara, California.
Classic crooner and cardigan-wearing variety show host Pery Como died in his sleep after a long illness. Como's entertainment career started in the 1930s as a singer for the radio show, "Beat the Band." Perry went on to have a successful singing career and later as a TV show host throughout the 50s and 60s. Como continued singing to large crowds through the 70s and 80s, long after his last Christmas special. Como died on Saturday at his home in Florida.
Singer Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) lost his battle with lymphatic cancer on Sunday afternoon. While the UK punk movement sported an almost uniformed short hair, anti-establishment messy look, over in NYC the Ramones chose a route of the long hair with dark glasses look and no decorative messages on their backs. Sure, it was NYC punk and they helped put the disgusting CBGB's club on the map (along with the popularity of Blondie, Talking Heads and others), but their charming blend of rock ideals (4 chords and songs about sniffing glue and teenage labotomies) helped make their tunes some of the biggest rock'n' roll youth anthems. In the career that approached three decades, the group never changed their look and always held true to their guns. .
Electronic industrual music pioneer, Robert Rental passed away last month in London from cancer. His musical accomplishments were few but well-regarded as important releases from the era. 'The Bridge' being the only full-length record with his name on it was recorded with Thomas Leer for Throbing Gristle's Industrial Records label in 1979. At the time, Leer and Rental were influenced by some of the sounds coming from Germany as well as Brian Eno's Ambient and Discreet music exploration. With 'The Bridge,' they wanted to use that momentum, but to strip away much of the prettiness, adding dissonance and noise. Following the album's release, Rental only recorded a couple more singles including 'Double Heart' for Mute as well as a one sided live album recorded with Daniel Miller.