Dead Muse?

Every musician has his or her muse and most of them would give us the safest and obvious ones like: Mariah, Micheal Jackson, John Williams etc. Or if ever you'd be asked to name a late singer, musician that has affected your music most answers would be bordering over the so-called norm like: Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Fredy Mercury etc.

But if I were to be asked I'd have to say: Sid Vicious, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer, Darby Crash and Dee Dee Ramone. These people serve as a great inspiration to me with their cool nihilistic outlook towards music.

And for the benefit of those who are not so familiar with them yet try to check this out:

Sid Vicious

John Simon Ritchie (May 10, 1957 - February 2, 1979), better known as Sid Vicious, was an English punk rock musician and member of the Sex Pistols. He died from a drug overdose at the age of 21.

Vicious, whose stage name was allegedly named after his friend John Lydon's (aka Johny Rotten) pet hamster, was born in London. During his early years he moved with his mother to the Spanish island of Ibiza where she made a living from selling drugs, although they later moved back and again settled in London. The nickname was also important because his group of friends, including Johnny Rotten, were mostly named John and because of his often vicious personality.

Vicious was initially part of the Bromley Contingent, the group of followers and fans of the Sex Pistols that consituted the fashion avant garde of the early UK punk rock movement. He began his musical career as a member of The Flowers of Romance along with Keith Levine and Jah Wobble, who later went on to co-found John Lydon's post-Pistols project Public Image Limited. Shortly afterwards he was recruited to Siouxsie and the Banshees, playing drums at their notorious first gig at the 100 Club Punk Festival in London's Oxford Street.

Described as being "the ultimate Sex Pistols fan", Vicious joined the group after the departure of bass player Glen Matlock in February 1977. Legend has it that manager Malcolm McLaren wanted Vicious in the band because of his looks and punk attitude, it was said "If Rotten is the voice of punk, then Vicious is the look." This "punk persona" counted far more than any actual playing ability. In fact Vicious was notoriously inept musically, and according to Jon Savage's biography of the Sex Pistols, England's Dreaming, most of the bass parts on the band's later recordings were actually played by guitarist Steve Jones, and at live performances his amplifier was often switched off. Reportedly, Sid asked Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead to teach him to play bass. He said "I can't play bass" and Lemmy's reply was "I know". According to Lemmy, Sid Vicious was a hopeless student.

Although "deep down, a shy person", according to the band's photographer Dennis Morris, Vicious was renowned for his violent streak. At the aforementioned 100 Club punk festival, a glass was thrown which shattered against a pillar, causing a young girl to lose her sight in one eye. Vicious is widely believed to have been responsible, but this was never proven. At the same event he also assaulted NME journalist Nick Kent with a bicycle chain and on another occasion threatened BBC DJ and Old Grey Whistle Test presenter Bob Harris at a London nightclub.

In November 1977 Vicious met and soon after began a relationship with American Nancy Laura Spungen, who, legend has it, had come to London "to sleep with a Sex Pistol". Spungen was a heroin addict, and inevitably Vicious, who was already believing in his own "live fast, die young" mythology, came to share this dependence. Although deeply in love with each other, their often violent relationship had a disastrous effect on the Sex Pistols, with both the group and Vicious visibly deteriorating throughout the course of their 1978 American tour. Things finally came to a head at their concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco on January 14, when Johnny Rotten walked out of the band. Vicious also left shortly afterwards, and with Spungen acting as his 'manager', embarked upon a short and ignoble "solo career".

By this time Vicious and Spungen had become locked in their own world of drug addiction and self-destruction. Contemporary interview footage shows the couple attempting to answer questions from their bed: Spungen is barely coherent whilst Vicious lapses in and out of consciousness. Vicious also came very close to death following a heroin overdose, and was, for a while, hospitalised.

On the morning of 12th October 1978 Vicious awoke from a drug-induced stupour to find Spungen dead in their apartment at the Hotel Chelsea, Room 100 in New York. She had been killed by a single stab wound to her abdomen. Vicious was arrested and charged with her murder, although he claimed to have no memory at all of the previous night's incidents. Bail of $50,000 was put up by Virgin Records at the request of Malcolm McLaren, and in February 1979, a party was held at the home of his new girlfriend Michelle Robinson to celebrate his release. During his time at Rikers Island prison, Vicious had undergone drug rehabilitation therapy, and was supposedly "clean". However, at the party, he was able to obtain some heroin (supplied by his mother, Ann Beverley, herself an ex-addict), and was discovered dead the following morning, having taken a large overdose. Speculation has persisted that Vicious, unable to live without his beloved Nancy, took his own life. He wrote the following poem about her:

You were my little baby girl,

I knew all your fears.

Such joy to hold you in my arms

and kiss away your tears.

But now your gone, theres only pain

and nothing I can do.

And I don't want to live this life,

If I can't live for you.

After his death, his mother phoned Nancy's mother to request that Sid be buried next to Nancy, and she declined. So late at night, Sid's mother jumped the graveyard fence where Nancy was buried and scatered his ashes over his beloved for them to be together for all time.

Sid Sings, a solo album, was released posthumously by Virgin records. This was largely a collection of poorly recorded cover versions of rock-'n'-roll numbers such as "C'Mon Everybody" and "Something Else" by Eddie Cochran, and material by Iggy Pop and Johnny Thunders, as well as a rendition of the Paul Anka / Frank Sinatra standard "My Way". Striking footage of Vicious' performance of this song provides the closing sequence of Julien Temple's film The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.

A fictionalised film account of the relationship between Vicious and Spungen, Sid and Nancy, was made by director Alex Cox in 1986.

Joey Ramone

Jeffrey Hyman (May 19, 1951–April 15, 2001), better known as Joey Ramone, was the vocalist for the legendary punk rock group The Ramones.

Joey grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. His mother, Charlotte, encouraged both him and his brother's interest in music. Joey was a fan of The Who, among other bands. He took up drums in his early teen years and was originally the drummer for the Ramones. Upon realization that some particular parts of the band didn't work, he became the vocalist. Both Joey and future bandmates attended Forest Hills High School.

After the skyrocketing success of the Ramones in the early seventies and throughout the 80's and 90's, their eventual end led to Joey's brief solo career, which included his album, Don't Worry About Me.

Joey died of lymphoma on April 15th, 2001.

On November 30th, 2003, Joey Ramone Place was officially named a new street in New York City. It is located alongside the block where The Ramones got their start at CBGB. His birthday is annually celebrated by many.

Joe Strummer

John Graham Mellor (August 21, 1952 - December 22, 2002), better known as Joe Strummer, was the co-founder and lead singer of punk rock band The Clash, and later The Mescaleros.

Before forming the Clash, he played in the Vultures and The 101ers. The Clash were the most musically diverse and overtly political of the original English punk bands. Strummer was involved with controversial Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism campaigns. He later also gave his support to the Rock Against the Rich series of concerts organised by anarchist organisation Class War. The Clash's London Calling album was voted best album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone magazine.

After the disbanding of the Clash, he acted in a few movies, recorded movie soundtracks (notably "Love Kills" for the film Sid and Nancy) and experimented with different backing bands with limited success. Finally, in the mid- to late-1990s, Strummer gathered top-flight musicians into a backing band he called The Mescaleros. Strummer signed with the Californian punk label Hellcat Records, and issued a stunning album co-written with Anthony Genn, called Rock Art and the X-Ray Style. A tour of England and North America soon followed; sets included several Clash-fan favourites.

Following the release of Global A Go-Go, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros mounted a 21-date tour of North America, Britain, and Ireland. Once again, these concerts featured Clash material ("London Calling", "Rudie Can't Fail"), as well as classic covers of reggae hits ("The Harder They Come", "A Message To You, Rudie") and regularly closed the show with a nod to the late Joey Ramone by playing The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop".

They also toured Australia in 2000 with the Big Day Out concert series, to a very warm reception.

Shortly before his death Joe Strummer and Bono of U2 co-wrote a song, "46664", for Nelson Mandela as part of a campaign against AIDS in Africa. Strummer had been scheduled to play at Mandela's SOS fundraising concert in February 2003 on Robben Island.

Strummer died on December 22, 2002 in his home at Broomfield in Somerset, England, the victim of a heart attack. His untimely death at age 50 shocked and saddened a generation of fans to whom he had been an inspirational figure.

He had especially been a massive influence on all of the members of Manic Street Preachers as listening to The Clash had inspired them to form a band.

At the time of his death Strummer was working on another album, which was released posthumously in October 2003 under the title Streetcore.

At the Grammy Awards in February 2003, London Calling was performed by Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Steven van Zandt, Dave Grohl, Pete Thomas and Tony Kanal in tribute to Strummer.

In March 2003, The Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In addition to his music, Strummer was instrumental in setting up Future Forests, an organisation dedicated to planting trees in various parts of the world in order to combat global warming. Strummer was the first artist to make the recording, pressing and distribution of his records carbon neutral through the planting of trees. Many other artists such as Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Pink Floyd have followed suit and fans can visit the Future Forests website to buy trees to be planted in their favourite artists' forest.

His 1975 marriage to Pamela Moolman ended in divorce. He married Lucinda Tait in 1995. He had no children with either wife, but had two daughters by Gaby Parker.

Strummer also dabbled in acting, and had some major roles in some minor films.

Darby Crash

Darby Crash was born Jan Paul Beahm in December 1959. He had a very rough childhood, with his biological father leaving him, his mother being a devotee of Scientology and his older brother dying of a heroin overdose. In 1972 he set out to find his true father, tragically to find he was also dead. In 1976 he met Pat Smear and thusly formed Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens. They then changed it to The Germs. The Germs became a huge Los Angeles punk band, known for their chaotic live shows. Crash broke up the Germs (who once included future Go-Go Belinda Carlisle) only to die of a heroin overdose in 1980 on the same day that John Lennon was killed.. His legacy has carried on past the release of The Germs (MIA): The Complete Anthology, in 1993.

Dee Dee Ramone

Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin (September 18, 1952 - June 5, 2002) was a founding member of The Ramones, a heavily influential punk band. He was the bass player with the band until his departure in 1989 (though he did continue to write songs for the band).

In 1987 Dee Dee started a brief career as rapper Dee Dee King, and then formed The Chinese Dragons as well as several other bands. He reunited with The Ramones one last time in 1996.

Dee Dee was found dead in June 2002, by his wife. A heroin overdose was the official cause of death. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

Ian Curtis

Ian Kevin Curtis (July 15, 1956 - May 18, 1980) was an English singer and songwriter, born in Stretford, England. Curtis lived most of his life in Macclesfield, England.

Ian Curtis is notable as the singer and lyricist with the band Joy Division, which he helped form in 1977 in Manchester, England.

Curtis developed a unique dancing style, which mirrored the epileptic fits he experienced late in life--so much so that at times audience members were unsure whether he was dancing or having a seizure. He also possessed an eerie baritone voice, which he used to great effect in the songs Joy Division created. As well as suffering from epilepsy, his life was plagued by depression. He committed suicide by hanging in his kitchen the night before Joy Division was to embark on its first American tour. Curtis' death led to the creation of New Order by Joy Division's remaining members.

Curtis was cremated and buried in Macclesfield, with the inscription on his memorial stone reading, "Love Will Tear Us Apart." The epitaph, chosen by his widow Deborah Curtis, is a reference to Joy Division's best-known song.

In the mid-1990s, Curtis' widow Deborah Curtis wrote Touching from a Distance, a biographical account of their marriage, in part detailing his infidelity

Text Courtesy Of Wikipedia

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