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Thread: Jeff Cotton (Antennae Jimmy Semens of the Magic Band) has passed

  1. #1

    Jeff Cotton (Antennae Jimmy Semens of the Magic Band) has passed

    Left us last Saturday, apparently in the midst of treatment for advanced stages of cancer. He was 68.

    Immortalized for his input on Trout Mask Replica in particular, but also responsible for the grim axesound on Strictly Personal (as in the complete sonic attacks of "Kandy Korn" and the slide orgies on Mirror Man), he joined the Magic Band as second guitarist and replacement for Ry Cooder in late '67. According to Beefheart lore, on first meeting he jumped out at Van Vliet from behind a bush where Cotton was imitating birdsong wearing nothing but a wornout female nightdress.

    The real story being somewhat more prosaic I suppose, Cotton was recruited by way of connections to singer/songwriter Merrell Fankhauser - himself prone to cult status - whom Cotton would join later on in the semi-legendary MU, whose excellent yet highly underrated first album displays other assets to Cotton's playing and songwriting skills.

    I'm surprised no one else has picked up on this, so here it goes. R.I.P.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  2. #2
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I had NO idea. Thanks for posting.

    I had some correspondences with him 20 years ago, about MU reissues that he didn't have and I got to him; I hope I still have the letters....
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  3. #3
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    The MU reissue is interesting, but marred by Fankhauser's vocals IMO. RIP Jimmy Semens, your lines are embroidered on my brain.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    The MU reissue is interesting, but marred by Fankhauser's vocals IMO.
    Well, I don't find the Lemurian Music recordings (first album remixes + extras) particularly marred in any way; rather they represented a quite original take on the meeting of roots- and early "progressive" sensibiities in American rock. I pulled out this album yet again just a few weeks back, and while I haven't really been listening to it for a number of years I have to say that it stands the test of time pretty effin well. They were - to my ears, at least - a musically way more interesting endeavour than their compatriot ex-Beefs in the (somewhat) better-known Mallard.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  5. #5
    Member Lopez's Avatar
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    My first listen to Jeff was via Merrell Fankhauser's original band the Impacts. Great surf music. Years later (that is, last year) when I heard Trout Mask for the first time, I thought, "Wow." Goodbye, Jeff.
    Lou

    Awarded the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval. It's not just good, it's good enough.

  6. #6
    Pikachupacabra spellbound's Avatar
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    Rest in peace to one of my favorite artists. You will be missed.

  7. #7
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I was just told that Jeff Cotton has NOT died. That it was his wife that died.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  8. #8
    Jesus. Could someone please instruct on how to delete this thread?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  9. #9
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Jesus. Could someone please instruct on how to delete this thread?
    This is the internet. You are supposed to get hostile about my questioning of this and say, "HOW DO YOU KNOW?"
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    This is the internet. You are supposed to get hostile about my questioning of this and say, "HOW DO YOU KNOW?"
    Ah, but I'm not normal - I'm a Marcoeur-fan, for Chrissakes!

    This being said, it's very sad that the wife of Jeff Cotton may has passed - while it's still good to know that Antennae Jimmy himself is perhaps still among us. Best I can do!
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  11. #11
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Most reports seem to end up pointing back to the as yet uncorrected...
    https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas....56284015940832
    Gary Lucas
    21 hrs
    RIP Jeff Cotton a/k/a Antennae Jimmy Semens

    who sadly died of cancer two days ago

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    his wife [...] died.
    Steve, do you know anything about this (rather unfortunate possible) mishap? Have you heard anything? If Cotton's in fact still alive, I feel a bit shit to leave this thread active.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  13. #13
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    from John French's FB page:

    Re: JEFF COTTON...
    I have read several rumors about Jeff Cotton passing away. Some say "two days ago" and some say "ten days ago." I have sent him a note about this and will respond when I receive information. I seriously doubt it to be true. He did, however, lose his wife, Erna, to cancer last year ( nearly a year ago). This may be how this rumor started. The last time I heard from him, he was busy making plans for the future, and that was on December 21st.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  14. #14
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Most reports seem to end up pointing back to the as yet uncorrected...
    And Gary's link above was removed.....
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  15. #15
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Everybody loves the dead guy

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