Local Current Blog

Music News: Tommy Allsup, guitarist saved by a coin toss in Buddy Holly plane crash, dies at 85

Guitarist Tommy Allsup has died, of complications from a hernia operation, at age 85. A longtime performer and producer who worked with artists including Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, Allsup remains best-known for losing a coin toss to Ritchie Valens on Feb. 3, 1959: “the Day the Music Died.” Winning the coin toss, Valens climbed aboard a plane that crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa; the crash also took the lives of J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson and Buddy Holly, whose band Allsup was touring in. (New York Times)

The music world is also remembering Yanni “John” Alexis Mardas, also known as “Magic Alex” back in the days when he hung out with the Beatles. Mardas, an artist who died Friday of natural causes at age 74, was introduced to John Lennon by Brian Jones after Mardas created psychedelic lighting effects for the Rolling Stones. Mardas became one of the first employees of the Beatles’ Apple Corps; he traveled with the band to India and made an appearance in the film Magical Mystery Tour. (Rolling Stone)

Inauguration drama continues

Drama over the musical lineup for Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration continued over the weekend, as Broadway star Jennifer Holliday reversed plans to sing at the “Make America Great Again” Welcome Celebration. “I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgment, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans,” wrote Holliday in a statement. Her decision to drop out of the event, she said, came after she realized that many of her gay fans were hurt by her planned performance at an event celebrating an administration that many see as hostile to the LGBTQ community. (New York Times)

*COME SUNDAY…THAT'S DAY* Greetings My Dear IG Friends, I'd like to say THANK YOU for Your LOVE,Your SUPPORT and Your PRAYERS! It's been a very rough,a very ugly and a very frightening 48 Hrs. for me but I'M STILL HERE! My sincere apologies to any of you who felt dismayed or heartbroken by my personal decisions and I'm extremely grateful to those of you who waited without judging me,who stood by me regardless of the choice that I would have made… Praying that God will use my voice as an instrument of healing and unity during this time of discourse in our nation… Again, I say to all of you with all my heart– THANK YOU! As we celebrate the life and memory of Dr.Martin Luther King,Jr.,We must also take a moment to pay tribute to A Great Man & Civil Rights Icon- CONGRESSMAN JOHN R. LEWIS Most Definitely NOT "All Talk and No Action"! We HONOR and THANK REP. JOHN LEWIS for the "Ultimate Action" that he took by almost losing his life on "BLOODY SUNDAY" at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in SELMA,AL (1965) so that we and "EVERY AMERICAN" could have a better life! Have A Happy & "PEACE-FILLED" Sunday,My Friends! Love&Blessings Always….. JENNIFER❤💛💜💙💛❤

A photo posted by JENNIFER HOLLIDAY (@jenniferhollidaydreamgirl) on

Deadly shooting at Mexican EDM festival

Five are dead and 15 wounded after a shooting at the BPM Festival: an EDM event in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Early Monday morning, a lone shooter opened fire outside the Blue Parrot club, where musical performances were happening as part of the festival. “We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation,” wrote festival organizers in a statement. Among those dead are three members of the festival’s security team; authorities say the shooting was not a terrorist attack. (Pitchfork)

BRIT nominees announced

David Bowie, AdeleRadiohead, and Coldplay are among the British performers nominated for this year’s BRIT Awards. The annual awards recognize both British and international music artists; among non-British artists, nominees include Bon IverLeonard CohenBeyoncé, A Tribe Called Quest, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The BRITs will be presented on Feb. 22 at London’s O2 Arena. (Pitchfork)

Legendary New York folk venue opens after renovation

Caffe Lena, a famous folk music venue in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has reopened after a $2 million renovation carried out with funds contributed by Arlo Guthrie, among many other musicians and fans. A young Bob Dylan performed at the coffeeshop in 1961 and 1962, just shortly after the venue opened in 1960. (Billboard)

Michael Jackson parody scrapped, biopic announced

An episode of the British series Urban Myths won’t be broadcast as planned, in the wake of controversy over the casting of actor Joseph Fiennes, a white man, as Michael Jackson. On the same day that news broke, Lifetime announced that it’s making a Jackson biopic starring Navi — a British artist who calls himself “the world’s greatest Michael Jackson impersonator.” The Lifetime movie, tentatively titled Searching for Neverland, is based on a memoir penned by two of Jackson’s bodyguards. (Rolling Stone)

Simpsons hip-hop episode features star cameos

BeyoncéFlavor FlavGeorge ClintonSnoop DoggRZA, and Common were among the hip-hop stars who appeared in cartoon form in a Simpsons episode called “The Great Phatsby” — a Great Gatsby takeoff featuring fictional rap mogul “Jay G.” (Pitchfork)