Ex-Wilco Member Jay Bennett Found Dead at Age 45

jay_bennett b&w

The Wilco fans among you may remember Jay Bennett from the Yankee Foxtrot Hotel days and his (fairly obviously tweaked-out) performance in the movie from that album, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. Bennett was kicked out of the band immediately after YFH was released in 2001.

Bennett was a tortured artist in every sense of the word, a control freak with very, very little charm. But he he did make some good music with the band, including the tracks on the Mermaid Avenue salute to the unfinished music of Woody Guthrie. It’s sad see someone destroy themselves in this manner. Well Jay, it’s over for you now. R.I.P.

I borrowed this video Yahoo!, so I can’t take credit for immediately thinking of this most appropriate line from “Pot Kettle Black”:

It’s become so obvious
You are so oblivious to yourself…

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Eartha Kitt, R.I.P (1927-2008)

Eartha Kitt died. On Christmas. Wow, I never thought that day would come. I thought she was immortal. Here she is in 2006 singing “Santa Baby” just weeks before her 80th birthday. Amazing. She’s such an inspiration to take care of oneself and to never get jaded about the beauty and wonderment of life. Heaven just got a little bit brighter:

Songs for John Zappa, R.I.P. (1971-2008)

Hey John,

I hear you passed to heaven on September 14th. It was nice knowing ya, man. As Rebecca and I sit here on my back porch I can’t help thinking that you would’ve been so proud of me, outstanding cook that you were. I fixed up a nice pork loin (one of your favorites) with roasted potatoes, carrots, and onions. Magnifique!

I mean damn, all the shit you did! Surviving Desert Storm, getting kicked out of the Marines, surviving years in jail, bringing smiles to all of those faces… Man you lived all out. You couldn’t have had it any other way, Woodstock, Illinois boy that you were.

Well, as we’re sitting here pourin’ out a little wine for you, we played a few songs to bring back that Zappa spirit:

You always had good taste in music. Other things???…Well, let’s just say that manic streak drug you down a bunch. You should’ve just pulled over the car, but what’s done is done.

“Pulled Over the Car” – Morphine:

On a more upbeat vibe, we still see ya baby, shaking that ass.

“I See You, Baby” (Fatboy Slim remix) – Groove Armada:

And for a final goodbye for now—at least from this spiritual divide—here’s one I know you realize completely now.

“Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips:

And Rebecca reminded me of an encore. I know you wouldn’t be satisfied without one. I never did get sore at you for holding on to my John Lennon Legend compilation for years. I knew it was in good hands and doing you well. A sadly anticlimactic hit from 1974, “Mind Games” – John Lennon. If only you’d made more love and less war with yourself. I will always miss what we could have still done together. I love ya, man.

The Glass Menagerie

Newman directed this one but didn’t star in it. He, like me, was quite in tune with the Tennesseen Williams. Here’s a short clip from 1987’s The Glass Menagerie with Paul’s lovely wife (now sadly widowed) Joanne Woodward, John Malkovich and Karen Allen. In my opinion it’s the quintessential version:

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I Never Planned Anything in My Life

A few more Newman clips, although I regret that I couldn’t find any good ones from The Long, Hot Summer: One of us is going to have to remedy that some day.

Cool Hand Luke, talking to God:

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, jumpin’:

The last time I saw Paul in a theater. The Road to Perdition, “I’m glad it’s you.”:

The Hudsucker Proxy, blue letter scene. Classic:

The Hustler, Final Game:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Paul Newman, R.I.P (1925-2008)

Heaven just got a new leading man. Keep on shining that Luke Smile of yours up there, Paul. You really were a natural born world-shaker. You taught many of us to grasp that side of ourselves. Another Ohio boy done good.

Sign of a good life: All the girls wanted you and all the guys wanted to be you. Hell, you were so charismatically sexy that same thing can said the other way around.

We’re gonna miss you Paul. We loved having you here so much.