Tim Mockler, Jack Bruce (Cream), and Alvin Stardust Move On
LOCAL MUSICIAN TIM MOCKLER PASSES
I saw your post about prayers for Tim. I have bad news — Tim has passed away. My sister Melanie was Tim’s girlfriend and a member of his band(s) for many, many years. ~ Per Laura Sanchez
From Michael Hossler on Facebook last month: When I was a kid in Broomfield, as a fledgling guitarist, I was influenced by the other guitarists around me in that small town in the middle of nowhere. The one guy who was the most creative, the very guy who put a twelve string in my hand and had me record with him and Katy Moffett (my first recording session), is now slipping away in the ICU in Boulder. If you can spare a prayer for Tim Mockler, he sure could use it.
[Editor’s note: As of this writing, we have been unable to find additional information in spite of several internet searches. If someone has information regarding services for Tim, please send a note to President@coloradomusic.org and we’ll post immediately.]
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JOHN “JACK” BRUCE – BASSIST FOR CREAM – DIES
John Symon Asher “Jack” Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014) was a Scottish musician and composer, known primarily as a member of the British rock trio Cream.
Bruce maintained a solo career that spanned several decades and also played in several musical groups. Although particularly famous for his work as a vocalist, bass guitarist and songwriter, he also played double bass, harmonica, piano and cello. He was trained as a classical cellist and considered himself a jazz musician, although much of his catalogue of compositions and recordings tended toward blues and rock and roll. The Sunday Times said that “many consider him to be one of the greatest bass players of all time.”
Bruce was born on May 14, 1943, in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, to musical parents who moved frequently, resulting in the young Bruce attending 14 different schools, ending up at Bellahouston Academy. He began playing the jazz bass in his teens and won a scholarship to study cello and musical composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama while playing in Jim McHarg’s Scotsville Jazzband to support himself. The academy disapproved of its students playing jazz. “They found out”, Bruce told Musician correspondent Jim Macnie, “and said ‘you either stop, or leave college.’ So I left college.”
After leaving school he toured Italy, playing double bass with the Murray Campbell Big Band. In 1962 Bruce became a member of the London-based band Blues Incorporated, led by Alexis Korner, in which he played the upright bass. The band also included organist Graham Bond, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and drummer Ginger Baker. In 1963 the group broke up and Bruce went on to form the Graham Bond Quartet with Bond, Baker and guitarist John McLaughlin. They played an eclectic range of music genres, including bebop, blues and rhythm and blues. As a result of session work at this time, Bruce switched from the upright bass to the electric bass guitar. The move to electric bass happened as McLaughlin was dropped from the band; he was replaced by Heckstall-Smith on saxophone and the band pursued a more concise R&B sound and changed their name to the Graham Bond Organisation. They released two studio albums and several singles but were not commercially successful.
During the time that Bruce and Baker played with the Graham Bond Organisation, they were known for their hostility towards each other. There were numerous stories of the two sabotaging each other’s equipment and fighting on stage. Relations grew so bad between the two that Bruce left the group in August 1965.
After leaving, Bruce recorded a solo single, “I’m Gettin Tired”, for Polydor Records. He joined John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers group, which featured guitarist Eric Clapton. Although his stay was brief; the Universal Deluxe double album Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton contains all the known tracks featuring Bruce.
After the Bluesbreakers, Bruce had his first commercial success as a member of Manfred Mann in 1966, including “Pretty Flamingo” which reached number one in the UK singles chart (one of two number one records of his career – the other being an uncredited bass part on The Scaffold’s “Lily the Pink”) as well as the free-wheeling and ground-breaking jazz-rock of Instrumental Asylum. When interviewed on the edition of the VH1 show Classic Albums which featured Disraeli Gears, Mayall said that Bruce had been lured away by the lucrative commercial success of Manfred Mann, while Mann himself recalled that Bruce attended recording sessions without having rehearsed but played songs straight through without error, commenting that perhaps the chord changes seemed obvious to Bruce.
While with Manfred Mann, Bruce again collaborated with Eric Clapton as a member of Powerhouse, which also featured the Spencer Davis Group vocalist Steve Winwood credited as “Steve Anglo”. Three tracks were featured on the Elektra sampler album What’s Shakin’. Two of the songs, “Crossroads” and “Steppin’ Out”, became staples in the live set of his next band.
In July 1966 Bruce, Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker founded the power trio Cream, which gained international recognition playing blues-rock and jazz-inflected rock music. Bruce sang most of the lead vocals, with Clapton backing him up and eventually assuming some leads himself.
With his Gibson EB-3 electric bass, Bruce became one of the most famous bassists in rock, winning musicians’ polls and influencing the next generation of bassists such as Sting, Geddy Lee and Jeff Berlin. Bruce co-wrote most of Cream’s single releases with lyricist Pete Brown, including the hits “Sunshine of Your Love”, “White Room”, and “I Feel Free”. Cream broke up in 1968.
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Bruce had suffered a period of declining health, after many years of addictions which he finally beat with clinical treatment, and in 2003 was diagnosed with liver cancer. In September 2003, he underwent a liver transplant, which was almost fatal, as his body initially rejected the new organ. He recovered, and in 2004 reappeared to perform “Sunshine of Your Love” at a Rock Legends concert in Germany organised by the singer Mandoki.
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Improved health led to Bruce playing a series of live outdoor concerts across the US starting in July 2008 as part of the Hippiefest Tour. He was supported by members of the late Who bassist John Entwistle’s The John Entwistle Band, and headlined at a tribute concert to the bassist.
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Composing Himself: Jack Bruce The Authorised Biography by Harry Shapiro was released by Jawbone Press in February 2010. Shapiro had previously written biographies of Bruce collaborators Alexis Korner, Graham Bond and Eric Clapton. The book followed biographies from his Cream bandmates Clapton (Clapton 2007) and Baker (Hellraiser 2009). His songwriting partner, Pete Brown’s, biography White Rooms & Imaginary Westerns was published in September 2010. They each have differing recollections of forming Cream, playing and writing together.
On January 14 at the 2011 North American Music Merchants Show, Bruce became only the third recipient of the International Bassist Award, a lifetime achievement award for bassists, after Jaco Pastorius and Nathan Watts.
His first website CD release, Live at the Milkyway, Amsterdam 2001, featuring his Latin-based band of the time, was issued in October 2010. The double album received an official UK release, distributed by EMI in February 2011. To support this release Bruce again played four dates in London at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club with the Ronnie Scott’s Blues Experience, followed by a further ten dates across the UK with the band. On 4 June 2011, Bruce played a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, which was celebrating its 60th anniversary. The evening celebrated the 50th anniversary of the blues in Great Britain, and Bruce played with his Big Blues Band and special guest Joe Bonamassa.
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In 1964 Bruce married Janet Godfrey, who had been the secretary of the Graham Bond Organisation fan club and had collaborated with Bruce on two songs written for the group. Together, Godfrey and Bruce had two sons, Jonas (Jo) Bruce, who grew up to play keyboards in his father’s band and formed a band called AfroCelts, and Malcolm Bruce, who grew up to play the guitar with his father and played with Ginger Baker’s son, Kofi. Jonas died in 1997 from respiratory problems.
In 1979 he married his second wife, Margrit Seyffer. With her he had two daughters, Natascha a.k.a. Aruba Red born in 1982 and Kyla born in 1985 and a son Corin born in 1992.
Bruce died, from liver disease, on 25 October 2014, in Suffolk, England, aged 71. His publicist Claire Singers said: “He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.” He is survived by his wife, Margrit, as well as four children and a granddaughter.
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ALVIN STARDUST (My Coo Ca Choo) DIES
Bernard William Jewry, known as Alvin Stardust, was an English pop singer and stage actor. Performing first as Shane Fenton, Stardust’s stage and screen career spanned over a half-century. He is best known for singles released in the 1970s and 1980s, including “My Coo Ca Choo”, the UK Singles Chart-topper “Jealous Mind”, and “I Feel Like Buddy Holly”.
Bernard William Jewry was born September 27, 1942 in Muswell Hill, North London. Moving to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at a young age, Jewry attended the Southwell Minster Collegiate Grammar School (now Southwell Minster School) in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, near Newark-upon-Trent, as a boarder. He made his stage debut in pantomime at the age of four.
In the early 1960s, Shane Fenton and the Fentones were an unknown teenage band who recorded a demo tape and mailed it in to a BBC program with the hope of being picked to appear on television. While awaiting a reply from the BBC, the band’s 17-year-old singer Shane Fenton (whose real name was Johnny Theakston) died as a result of the rheumatic fever he had suffered in childhood.
The rest of the band (guitarists Jerry Wilcock and Mick Eyre, bassist Graham George Squires and drummer Tony Hinchcliffe) decided to break up, but then unexpectedly received a letter from the BBC inviting them to come to London to audition in person for the program. Theakston’s mother asked the band to stay together, and to keep its name, in honour of her son’s memory. Jewry, who was a roadie with the group at the time, was asked to join the band and to use Shane Fenton as a pseudonym. The combo had a handful of hits in the UK Singles Chart, basing their sound on that of the Shadows: “I’m A Moody Guy”, “Walk Away”, “It’s All Over Now” and their biggest hit, “Cindy’s Birthday”. These and their subsequent misses were all on Parlophone.
Jewry later also appeared in Billy Fury’s movie Play It Cool. He was managed by Larry Parnes.
Jewry disappeared from the spotlight for a decade after the break-up of the Fentones, working in music management and performing at small venues with his wife Iris Caldwell, the sister of Rory Storm. During the early 1970s, however, Jewry acquired a new persona, Alvin Stardust, cashing in on the glam rock bandwagon. His new name was given to him by Peter Shelley, the co-founder (with Michael Levy) of Magnet Records, who had found himself unable to continue as Alvin Stardust when “My Coo Ca Choo” charted in 1973. Hal Carter, Fenton’s manager, suggested his client as a substitute.
Stardust had further chart successes with the hits “Jealous Mind” (UK No. 1.), “You, You, You”, “Red Dress” and “Good Love Can Never Die”. In total, he amassed seven Top Ten entries, in a chart span lasting almost 25 years.
“Pretend” was a hit in the United Kingdom in 1981, reaching number four in the UK Singles Chart. It reached number one in the Dutch Top 40 in November, 1981. The song was also successful in Portugal in 1983.
The singles “I Feel Like Buddy Holly”, written and produced by Mike Batt and “I Won’t Run Away” reached number 7 in the UK Singles Chart, in 1984. “So Near To Christmas” was a minor hit, No. 29, in the same year.
He participated in A Song for Europe, the UK qualifying heat of the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1985, with the song “The Clock on the Wall”. He finished in third place behind Vikki and Kerri Wells.
In 1986, Stardust performed the duet “I Hope and I Pray” with Sheila Walsh on her album Shadowlands, which was released as a single. That year he also performed at Windsor Castle as a lead in the Lloyd Webber–Rice musical Cricket.
Stardust also starred in the UK tour of Godspell and played Uriah Heep in David Copperfield – The Musical and Sir Billy Butlin in The Butlin Story at the London Palladium. In 2005 he starred as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, also at the London Palladium.
Stardust has numerous television appearances to his credit, and continued to tour as a performer and singer. In 1989, he also hosted his very own Sunday morning children’s TV series on ITV called It’s Stardust. It featured stories, songs, poems, jokes and also cartoons and shows for younger children including The Adventures of Parsley, Little Miss and Satellite City.
During one show, in 1994, he was performing “My Coo Ca Choo” when one of the pyrotechnics went wrong and blew up in his face, knocking him to the ground. After a night in hospital, he was checked out the next day with no major problems.
In 2011, Stardust made a return to the stage as a singer rather than an actor, and was due to play the Arts Guild Theatre in Greenock on 28 October.
Stardust was married three times. His first marriage was to Iris Caldwell, sister of Rory Storm and an ex-girlfriend of both George Harrison and Paul McCartney, having grown up with them in Liverpool. In 1981, Stardust married the actress Liza Goddard. Their daughter, Sophie Jewry, was critically injured at the age of two months after she fell down a set of stairs and suffered a severe fracture of the skull. She later recovered from her injuries. Stardust was married to the actress and choreographer Julie Paton at the time of his death.
His son, Shaun Fenton, is the head teacher at Reigate Grammar School, and was previously head teacher at Pate’s Grammar School and Sir John Lawes School. His other son, Adam, is a music producer and DJ, known as “Adam F”. Stardust’s third child, Sophie Jewry, runs her own business and lives in Norfolk with her partner and daughter. Stardust’s fourth child, Millie Margaret May, was born in December 2000. The christening was covered by OK! magazine, with Sir Cliff Richard as one of the godparents. As wife Julie hails from Swansea, a Welsh flavour was provided by a harpist and Welsh male voice choir, the Gwalia Singers from Swansea.
Stardust died after a brief illness confirmed by his manager on the morning of October 23, 2014. His death came just weeks before he was due to release his first album after 30 years. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 months earlier, which later metastasized. He died at home with his wife and family around him.
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
27: Shin Hae-chul, 46, South Korean pop singer (N.EX.T), heart attack.
25: Jack Bruce, 71, Scottish bassist (Cream, Manfred Mann) and composer, liver disease.
24: Eunice Betances, 58, Dominican merengue singer (Las Chicas del Can), breast cancer.
23: Alvin Stardust, 72, English singer (“My Coo Ca Choo”).
22: Paul Nabor, 86, Belizean musician.
21: Dale Dorman, 71, American radio disc jockey (WODS); Tyson Stevens, 29, American singer-songwriter (Scary Kids Scaring Kids), possible drug overdose.
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