In Memoriam|

Per Randy King: My father, Randy King Weldon, was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame in the year 2000. He was really big in Denver’s music scene in the 60’s and 70’s. Dad passed away last Tuesday night, Nov 18th. So many people loved him and his music that I wanted to post this… Thanks to all his music fans! He loved singing for you… ~ (Sent by Rudy Grant, 11/27/14 – no other info was provided).

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Piano legend Joe Bonner, who worked with giants from the jazz world on over 40 albums, passed away in Denver on Nov. 20th. The coroner reported he died in his sleep from heart disease. He was 66.

Bonner was an internationally renowned pianist who was born in the same town of Rocky Mount, N.C., as Thelonious Monk. He played with jazz masters like Roy Haynes, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Harper, Harold Vick and Max Roach. He had a distinguished roster of albums as a leader, as well. And though the above gives context to his accomplishments, it doesn’t tell all of Bonner s story.

Denver was Bonner’s adopted home on and off for decades after he arrived in 1976. I didn’t know Joe well, but, starting in the early 90s, I saw him play often at clubs and after-hours jam sessions, and occasionally ran into him at Capitol Hill bars. No one else matched his symphonic style of playing. Beyond his technique, Joe was a complex composer and relentless in pursuit of his aesthetic.

Stories traveled regularly about town detailing Bonner’s exploits. He was bohemian and eccentric, and he didn’t seem to care what people thought. And Bonner also had his demons.

I didn’t have to fit into any category, he said in the liner notes to his masterful album, Impressions of Copenhagen. But he didn’t always feel that free.

Joe often confided to close friend and musical collaborator Tom Tilton that he drank to quiet voices in his head.

That was how Joe dealt with them, Tilton said. That was how he felt he felt he could control them.

Yet, what people seem to remember most is the joy that music gave Bonner and those who heard him play it. With Tilton’s considerable assistance, we solicited people who knew Bonner to email their impressions of him. It seemed right that the many people whose lives he touched be part of telling his story. Some of what turned into an outpouring of response follows:

[We’ve not printed their thoughts here – only those of Chris Guillot since he was a COMBO Board member – go to the original article to read.] ● Salim Washington, saxophonist
● Tom Tilton, drummer/producer
● Gov. John Hickenlooper
● Barbara Paris, singer
● Mitchell Long, jazz guitarist
● Rodney Franks, KUVO
● Jeanne Addison, friend/producer/performer
● Prasanna Bishop, saxophonist
● Erik Troe, KUVO
● A.J. Salas, pianist/producer/beatmaker
● Chris Guillot, owner, Cherry Sound Records (and a former COMBO Board member)

Joe was a good friend of mine and signed to Cherry Sound Records. He was a brilliant, vibrant musician, and great friend. He left a shining legacy of music for us to live with into the future. At Cherry Sound, we had the great honor and privilege of helping to make his last record entitled, Current Events, a collection of all original compositions, performed solo by Joe on the piano. We were planning on hosting a CD release party on Dec. 19 at The Living Room. We will still be carrying through with this event, playing music from Current Events, and showing documentary footage from the making of the album. It s an opportunity for us to celebrate this great man.

The tortured artist stereotype is one of the last stereotypes we’re willing to let go. I think the reason for this isn’t so much that some studies show a connection between madness and creative genius. I think it’s more because pointing at someone on a ledge give us the perfect excuse for our lack being in the world creatively, and for our lack of risk-taking in our creative attempts.

Sometimes, I think Joe was so out there in order to keep people from getting in. That there was a treasured part of himself he was afraid would vanish into thin air if he unwrapped it for others to see. But what beauty he gave us.

If Joe Bonner was at his best at the piano, maybe it was because he could express his own voice there. And all the other voices stopped to listen.

By Sam DeLeo, Reverb
Denver-based writer Sam DeLeo is a published poet, has seen two of his plays produced and recently completed his novel, As We Used to Sing. His selected work can be read at

[Thanks to the Denver Musicians Association, for sharing.]

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Daniel Edward Knauf died unexpectedly at home in Loveland, Colorado on November 23rd at the age of 63. Dan was born on November 19th, 1951 in Rensselaer, New York to Marion and James Knauf. Dan was the father of Tyler Knauf and Dana Knauf of Fort Collins and Nicole Kelly of East Greenbush, New York; brother to Sally (late Frank) Volks of Rensselaer, Michael (Maureen) Knauf of Wynantskill, Mary Ann (Robert) Conroy of Poestenkill and the late Patrick Knauf and Theresa Marie Knauf; grandfather of Mackenzie and Cecelia Kelly; and was also survived by several nieces, nephews, and friends.

Dan met his longtime partner, Julie Keahey, riding horses. They were together eleven years and loved to ride horses all over Colorado. Dan was always happy on the back of his horse. Dan was a great Rock & Roll bassist his whole career. He found joy and camaraderie playing with many bands including One Seed, Iron Elf, Dancing Dinosaurs, Persuasion, and the Dale Cisek Band.

Dan had a wonderful resonant voice which he loved to lend to old cowboy tunes. He worked at Loveland Music. Dan could talk with anyone and always tried to make them feel good, remembering their names and joking. Dan had a keen sense about people, recognizing their good points, and tuning into their heart. Dan had a bright outlook, quick to forgive and quick to laugh long and loudly. His humor was inventive, infective and effortless.

Services were held on Sunday, November 30th at the Chilson Center, 700 E. 4th St, Loveland, CO.

Please send donations to Sweet Relief-Musician’s Fund,, Donations & Application Processing Center, 2601 East Chapman Avenue, Suite 204, Fullerton, CA, 92831.

Friends may leave condolences for the family at

Published in Loveland Reporter-Herald on Nov. 29, 2014

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From Moss West’s Fb page, 11/30/14:

Just went to Dan Knauf’s funeral service and it was actually pretty good. He was a bass player, and I had shared a stage with him many, many times. So sad to see a person go at 63 years old even though I just lost a brother at 60 years old a few weeks ago. Shared a dinner with Dan’s son  about ½  hour ago. May you rest in peace, Dan!

It was quite a shock. He played at the POUR HOUSE Friday and was fine and then died the next day ~

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Saxophonist Bobby Keys, a lifelong rock ‘n’ roller who toured with Buddy Holly, played on recordings by John Lennon and laid down one of the all-time blowout solos on the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” has died. He was 70.

Michael Webb, who played keyboard with Keys, said Keys died Tuesday at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, after a lengthy illness. Keys had been on tour with the Stones earlier this year before his health prevented him from performing.

“The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys,” the band said in a statement. “Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960s. He will be greatly missed.”

Keys, one of the few rock saxophonists to become a name in his own right, was a heavy-set man with jowls to match and had a raw, piercing sound. The Lubbock, Texas, native was born the same day as Keith Richards — Dec. 18, 1943 — and the Stones guitarist would often cite Keys as a soul mate and favorite musician. On “Brown Sugar,” he needed little time to seal his history with the band, which had decided a saxophone would work better than a guitar for the solo spotlight.

“It was the first take,” he would recall.

Keys also played memorable solos on such Stones favorites as the seven-minute jam “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and the country-styled “Sweet Virginia.” Other career highlights included Lennon’s chart-topping “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” and albums by Richards, George Harrison, Barbra Streisand and Eric Clapton. A self-titled solo album featured Harrison and Ringo Starr.

For a time, Keys played clubs and was billed as “Mr. Brown Sugar.”

“I have lost the largest pal in the world, and I can’t express the sense of sadness I feel, although Bobby would tell me to cheer up,” Richards said in a statement.

Keys’ career dated to the 1950s, when as a teenager he played with fellow Lubbock native Holly and The Crickets. He met the Stones in the mid-’60s while they were on the same bill at a state fair in San Antonio, Texas, and was distraught that the British rockers had recorded a cover of Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”

“I said, ‘Hey, that was Buddy’s song,'” Keys recalled in Richards’ memoir “Life,” published in 2010. “Who are these pasty-faced, funny-talking, skinny-legged guys to come over here and cash in on Buddy’s song?”

But once Keys listened more closely, he decided the Stones were playing “actual rock and roll,” an opinion the Stones more than shared about Keys. He first recorded with them in the late 1960s and toured and recorded with them off and on over the following decades, his work featured on three of the group’s most acclaimed albums: “Let It Bleed,” ”Sticky Fingers” and “Exile on Main Street.”

In some ways, he was too close to Richards, sharing a taste for throwing televisions off hotel balconies and developing a heroin addiction that led to his temporary estrangement from the group. But he was with the Stones on every major tour over the past quarter century, dependably stepping up for his solo on “Brown Sugar.”

Keys’ memoir “Every Night’s a Saturday Night” was published in 2012, with a foreword by Richards. Keys recalled that he was exposed to rock ‘n’ roll through Holly’s music — not on the radio, but at the grand opening of a Texas gas station near the home of Keys’ grandparents. It was the first time he heard an electric guitar played live.

“And right then and there I knew I wanted to have something to do with that music,” Keys explained. Holly “just kinda lit a fuse that started burning then, and it’s still burning now.”

AP | Kristin M. Hall

From Wild Bill’s Facebook post, 12/02/14:
Very sad to report that the GREAT Bobby Keys, saxophonist for The Rolling Stones since 1970, has passed away today at the age of 70. Keys started touring at age fifteen with Bobby Vee and fellow Texan Buddy Holly. He will be missed. Here is the notice on his official Facebook page. May he Rest In Peace.

Early this morning our beloved husband, father, family member, and friend passed away peacefully at home in Franklin, TN. Bobby was surrounded by his family and loved ones. He will be greatly missed as he touched so many lives and made a lasting contribution to the American music scene. Bobby’s horn may be silenced here on Earth, but the music he graciously shared will eternally live on. In lieu or flowers and gifts, the family asks that contributions be made to St Jude’s Children Research Hospital and The Humane Society in his honor.

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Ian Patrick ‘Mac’ McLagan (12 May 1945 – 3 December 2014) was an English keyboard instrumentalist, best known as a member of the English Rock bands Small Faces and Faces. He also collaborated with The Rolling Stones and led his own band from the late 1970s.

McLagan first started playing in bands in the early 1960s, initially using the Hohner Cembalet before switching to the Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer electric piano, as well as occasional guitar. He was influenced by Cyril Davies’ All Stars, and his first professional group was the Muleskinners, followed by the Boz People with future King Crimson and Bad Company member Boz Burrell. In 1965, he was hired, for the princely sum of £30 a week, to join Small Faces by their manager, Don Arden, replacing Jimmy Winston. Once the ‘probation’ period ended, his pay was reduced to £20 a week, which was what the other band members were getting. They never received more than that because Don Arden collected all the proceeds of their hard-earned work, and it wasn’t until 1997 that they started receiving any royalties. Mac played his debut gig with them at London’s Lyceum Theatre on 2 November that year. In 1969, after Steve Marriott left the group and Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined, the band changed its name to Faces.

After the Faces split up in 1975, McLagan worked as a sideman for The Rolling Stones, both in the studio (Some Girls including electric piano on Miss You), on tour and on various Ronnie Wood projects, including The New Barbarians. In addition, his session work has backed such artists as Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Westerberg, Izzy Stradlin, Frank Black, Nikki Sudden, John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Scalzo, Carla Olson, Carla Olson & Mick Taylor. McLagan was a member of Billy Bragg’s band “The Blokes” for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, co-writing and performing on the 2002 England, Half English album and tour.

McLagan played piano on the studio side of the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions.

On 25 September 2010, at Stubbs in Austin, Texas, McLagan joined The Black Crowes on keyboards and vocals for their encore set. The set included two Faces songs, “You’re So Rude” and “Glad and Sorry”.

Also in 2013, he appeared with the Warren Haynes’ band at the Moody Theater in Austin Texas playing piano on one number and organ on the other. In 2014, McLagan was a founding member of The Empty Hearts. The group recorded on 429 Records and McLagan’s bandmates included Blondie drummer Clem Burke, The Chesterfield Kings bassist Andy BabCalifornia, The Cars guitarist Elliot Easton, and The Romantics guitarist and vocalist Wally Palmar. The band’s self-titled first album was released 5 August 2014 and produced by Ed Stasium.

McLagan developed a relationship with Kim Kerrigan, the young estranged wife of Keith Moon, drummer of The Who. She divorced Moon and lived with McLagan and her daughter, Amanda (from her marriage to Moon). The two married in 1978, one month after Moon died at the age of 32. Kerrigan died in a traffic accident near their home in Austin, Texas on 2 August 2006. She was 57.

McLagan published an autobiography, All the Rage: A Riotous Romp Through Rock & Roll History, in 2000, and added to, appended and reprinted it in 2013.

McLagan died on 3 December 2014 after a stroke, at the age of 69.

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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…

December 2014
3: Ian McLagan, 69, English keyboardist (The Rolling Stones, Small Faces), stroke.

2: Bobby Keys, 70, American saxophonist (The Rolling Stones), cirrhosis; Carlos Mamery, 54, Puerto Rican music producer and television political critic, heart attack.

1: Mario Abramovich, 88, Argentine violinist and composer.

November 2014
29: Luc De Vos, 52, Belgian musician (Gorki) and writer, organ failure.

28: Érick Bamy, 64, French singer; Frances Nero, 71, American soul and jazz singer.

26: Sabah, 87, Lebanese singer and actress.


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