Traditionally, deaths for performance artists come in triads, but historically for different reasons.
Jim Morrison: (July 3, 1971) Two radically opposite personalities on and off ethanol.
Janis Joplin: (Oct 4, 1970). Made love to 1150 adoring fans at the Fillmore West, then went home alone.
Jimi Hendrix: (Sept 18, 1970) Chronic insomnia aided to permanent sleep.
All within a year of each other, all in their twenties from acute and chronic disorders self-mistreatment. All a direct result of the suspension of most laws of God and man in the waning sixties.
And speaking of sixties, we now have the obligatory new millennium triad of:
David Bowie; (Class by himself)
Glenn Frey: (Classically “American” band- “The Eagles”)
Dallas Taylor (“Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young” drummer)
Bowie died at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer, leaving a very intense “goodbye” video, cloistering himself in a closet at the end. Frey died at 67 from complications of longstanding rheumatoid disease and colitis. There is some conjecture that the new drug “Humera” may have weakened his immune system (unverified). Taylor was 66, suffered from cirrhosis, receiving a liver transplant in 1990, lasted 26 years.
What all these guys have in common is that they died of “old men” diseases in an age where “old men” are now lasting into their 80s (but not necessarily with the same quality of life). In fact, the death rate from “old men” diseases hasn’t changed much in the new millennium. 60s is when much it peaks. All the truly great performing musicians of my generation are now facing their mortality.
What’s coming next: rode hard and put away wet, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker (Cream) are now 70 and 76 respectively. Jack Bruce died last year at age 71. Neil Young is 71 and entering his tenth or so “middle age crisis”, dumping his aging wife and taking up with famously predatory starlet Daryl Hannah (“Blade Runner”). David Crippen, still chugging along barely ahead of the game so far.
You really know you’re getting old when you start reading obituaries looking for people you know. Thomas Hobbes said: “The life of man- solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”, mercifully, has not been true for any of the above. The future will, however, continue to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.