Dead People We Wish We'd Seen
So have we all. But if you review concerts for a living, there's nothing worse than someone you like dying before you get the chance to see them live. So for this week's Round Table, Rocks Off Sr. polled our writers to see who that was.
Within reason. All of us would have loved to have seen the Beatles and Elvis, we're sure - and if not, they better keep it to themselves or they are so fired. But the majority of us were born after the Fab Four broke up and Elvis kicked, so that's just not possible.
Therefore, we asked them to limit their answers to people who died, died after they had already attended their first concert.
Chris Gray: Personally, this is the easiest one for me to answer since we've started doing these things. In December 1993, I was getting close to the end of my first semester as a Music Studies major at UT-Austin. Nirvana, the Breeders and Shonen Knife were coming to the AstroArena the Monday of final exam week.
I had been playing In Utero virtually non-stop that entire fall, so I really wanted to go to the show. But I had also been struggling with my first-ever piano class, which was a requirement for all UT music majors, and Monday was the final exam. So the weekend rolled around and I spent most of it in a practice room, fumbling over the keys and trying not to imagine how awesome "Heart-Shaped Box," "Rape Me" and "Serve the Servants" were going to sound.
I may have passed that piano final. I can't remember, but if I did it would have been just barely. I didn't last much longer as a music major, and still can't play the piano worth a damn. But that was the last time the conscientious student in me got the better of the live-music junkie.
Honorable mention would be John Entwistle. Keith Moon died when I was three, I know Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are still touring as "The Who." But I came close to going to Dallas to see the band in 2000 when Entwistle was still alive, and I know it just wouldn't be the same without The Ox.
Neph Basedow: While my easiest answer would, like many others, be Kurt Cobain, I'm going to instead say Elliott Smith, whom I didn't see because I was simply out of town when he came through Texas in 2000 - on college visits, if I remember correctly. My brother saw and met him at La Zona Rosa in Austin that same weekend, which he still deems the best show he's ever seen...
As for Nirvana, as young as I was when they were still touring, I was actually supposed to see them in 1994, as they were slated to headline that year's Lollapalooza, to which I had tickets (as an 11-year-old). After Kurt died, of course, the Pumpkins became the fest's headliners, to the Beastie Boys' alleged surprise, as they were second headliners to Nirvana).
Sigh x 2. But what is rock and roll without some regret, I suppose?
Marc Brubaker: I'm going to cast my vote for Jay Reatard. Jay died in January 2010, well into my concert-going career, and was known for bringing quite a show with him. He'd appeared in Houston just a month before his death, and for the life of me I can't recall why I skipped it. I was certainly sore about it after he passed, though.