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Obituaries: Jay Scott, Mark Goodwin, Laura Lynch & More

This week, we acknowledge the passing of Montreal and Vancouver scene stalwarts, a co-founder of the Dixie Chicks, and more.

Jay Scott

Jay Scott

Courtesy Photo

Mark Goodwin, a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and musician, died on Dec. 24, at age 64.

Goodwin's early bands included the London, ON based new wave/indie rock outfits Second Thoughts, Sub Rosa and Magic Binmen, who released a self-titled EP in 1989.


Goodwin then made a splash on the Montreal scene with the bands Li'l Buck and Lazarus Moan. Li’l Buck, an alt-country group that earned a Montreal following, formed in 1993, then broke up in 2000, with Goodwin and other members forming the more rock-focused Lazarus Moan. That band released a debut album, Sunrise, in 2008, followed by Decorated in 2014. A 2014 feature in The Montreal Gazette described Lazarus Moan as "Montreal’s roots-rocking answer to the Wrecking Crew."

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Another Goodwin project was Ffud, who released one album, Eye Candy in 2009, then morphed into The Mighty Ffud, and released a self-titled garage rock-accented album in 2015. Other bands he was involved with include Blue Seeds, Little Birdie, Jimmyriggers, Broken Muse, and Punching Weasel.

His production credits included Cinematic Way, by Little Birdie, headed by singer/songwriter Orit Shimoni. On Facebook, Shimoni recalled that "Mark offered to produce my first record, Cinematic Way, to bring his whole band in, working on spec. Everything that happened to me after that, musically, was directly because I had a record and also because I now had a reason to believe in myself as a musician and songwriter."

Montreal drummer Robert D. Harris played on the vast majority of Goodwin's projects, and he offered this tribute to Billboard Canada FYI: "We're all still in shock. We had plans for 10 more years of projects. Mark and I were the best of friends and musical cohorts for 30 years. He never once told me what to play as there was a trust. That's rare with a songwriter. He was the most talented, funny, serious, sweet, nasty #$%^ I've ever known. Every rehearsal and gig ended with a hug and an 'I love you' without the macho reaffirming 'Man!' attached at the end!"

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Goodwin's Montreal rock comrade Jonathan Cummins (Doughboys, Bionic) posted this tribute on Facebook: "Rest in peace Mark Goodwin. You were one of the good ones that proudly stuck out in the storm of insurance salesmen and plastic telemarketers that litter our path. Your fight for joy, art, literature, laughter and making music was never lost on me. Wherever you may be right now, I hope all of the radios are tuned into Eno and blasting in your honour."

Another Montreal musical peer, Patrick Hutchinson (Bare Bones, Swift Years), noted on Facebook that "Mark was a great songwriter, singer, player, all-round talented and genial musical cat. I always enjoyed when our paths crossed, as they often did over the past 30-odd years. I've enjoyed catching him live many times with his bands such as L'il Buck, Lazarus Moan, (The Mighty) Ffud, and Punching Weasel, as well as accompanying Mack MacKenzie and the late Ian Stephens, and other cool things like the guest songwriter series he was doing at Barfly (Montreal) for a while. He put out many fine recordings and produced more for other artists as well."

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Jay Scott, a Vancouver concert promoter, tour manager, festival manager, and a crucial figure in that city’s independent music community, died on Dec. 21.

His age and a cause of death have not been reported.

In a 2014 feature story on Scott's appointment as general manager of the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, The Salmon Arm Observer noted that "Scott began his music career in 1981, working as a DJ on a UBC interview show and running a battle of the bands contest. In 1985 he launched a concert promotions company called Cattle Prod(uctions)."

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Co-founding Cattle Prod with Scott was Mark Smith, who informs Billboard Canada FYI that "Cattle Prod focused on promoting concerts and booking tours. In 1986 and ’87, they initiated the Canadian Independent Music Festival in response to Expo ‘86 cancelling independent music events after Slow's bassist Hamm mooned the audience."

Smith adds that "While on tour with D.O.A., I reached out to Jay from Florida, sharing that I had successfully booked 20+ bands for a festival. Now, we need as many bars and venues as we can get. I've committed to at least three shows each. We have 3 weeks."

"Part of our bread and (not so much) butter at Cattle Prod was postering for larger promoters, helping other promoters get bands over the border, rescuing lost gigs, or giving bands floor space to sleep at our Emerald City Squat. We were involved in helping bands even if it was not our show. We mainly booked bands no one ever heard of: 13 Engines, Rheostatics, Deja Voodoo, Spirit of The West, Cowboy Junkies, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, No Means No, SLOW.“

"Jay had no qualms about anything if it involved music. I could throw any crazy idea out and he would just take it and run. If it didn’t work it would be tried again, and again, and again:12 band blow outs in a 40 seat room, Arts Club on Seymour Street, became a monthly event. Seattle was really lacking in anything musically cohesive then, so we created a Seattle Showcase, bringing bands up to Vancouver to give them a chance - Soundgarden, Skin Yard, Green River."

Mark Smith recalls that Scott "approached everything with a wide, engaging grin and unhinged enthusiasm. He once said, 'I could play and read music but I was terrible. But I think it helped me recognize talent in others. I am not a frustrated musician, I just wanted to put others on stage so I could see them.'"

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After Cattle Prod, Scott tour managed bands across Europe and North America, primarily Vancouver punk band D.O.A.. He then became manager for Music West, worked with Laurie Mercer at Wrong Records and produced the Slam City Jam, the North American Skateboarding Championships.

After 12 years in the industry, Scott moved on to licensing music for video games and commission soundtracks with RockStar, working in Canada, the UK, Ireland and India. He then relocated to Armstrong, B.C., and his family's farm.

Smith reports that "there, Jay worked with the community, helping fundraise for the Volunteer Firefighters, and acted as the general manager of the Salmon Arm Blues Festival for several terms."

As news of Scott's passing spread, his industry colleagues were quick to pay tribute. Here are some of their comments:

“Jay & I went way back. Jay & a few others like Frank Wypert and Dan Erison were in a league of their own. Kept me interested in fostering live music culture. The greed was never prevalent” - Frank Loffredo, Crocks N Rolls, Thunder Bay.

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“His lack of embarrassment, his willingness to dive head first into things - accepting the most radical presentation as art, seeing what they were trying to do and applauding the artists for trying - he really was generous of heart. Anything that stood outside the norm caught his eye, and anyone that had a valid reason behind their initiative was treated with acceptance.“ - Laurie Mercer, Manager, NoMeansNo.

In a Facebook post on the NoMeansNo site, Adrian Southward termed Scott “a tireless champion of great Canadian independent music at the start (and in the midst) of that incredible first wave I feel lucky to have been alive for. There are a lot of great bands (DOA, NoMeansNo, and Rheostatics being high on that list) that owe a lot to Jay getting down and dirty in the trenches, working hard on their behalf.” Scott is extensively quoted in a new book, NoMeansNo: From Obscurity to Oblivion: An Oral History.

A celebration of life is being planned.

International

Colin Burgess, an Australian drummer and original member of AC/DC, has died, the band confirmed on its social media accounts. He was 77. No cause of death was reported.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Colin Burgess,” said an unsigned post on the band’s official Facebook page on Dec. 15. “He was our first drummer and a very respected musician. Happy memories, rock in peace Colin.”

An Associated Press obituary notes that "Burgess was recruited in November 1973 to help form AC/DC with Malcolm Young on rhythm guitar and his brother Angus on lead guitar, lead vocalist Dave Evans and bassist Larry Van Kriedt. The band fired Burgess in February 1974, accusing him of being drunk on stage; he later said someone had spiked his drink. He was followed by a succession of drummers and filled in for one for a few months in 1975."

Prior to the short stint with AC/DC, Burgess played in popular Australian rock group the Masters Apprentices, inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 1998.

Read more at Billboard.

Laura Lynch, a founding member of the Dixie Chicks, died on Dec. 22, after being involved in a head-on collision in El Paso. She was 65 years of age.

A bassist and vocalist, Lynch founded the Dixie Chicks — now officially known as the Chicks — with Robin Lynn Macy and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer (née Erwin) in 1989. Variety notes that "Lynch and Macy shared lead vocal duties until Macy’s departure in 1993, at which point she became the sole frontwoman. She was replaced by Natalie Maines in 2005."

Chicks members Maines, Strayer and Maguire issued a joint statement on Lynch’s death, calling her "a a bright light… her infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band. Laura had a gift for design, a love of all things Texas and was instrumental in the early success of the band. Her undeniable talents helped propel us beyond busking on street corners to stages all across Texas and the mid-West.”

The Dixie Chicks recorded three albums with Lynch on lead vocals: Thank Heavens for Dale Evans (1990), Little Ol’ Cowgirl (1992) and Shouldn’t a Told You That (1993). The group only achieved national success after Lynch's departure.

In June 2020, the band shortened its name to “the Chicks."

Read more at Billboard.

Les McCann, a US jazz musician and composer, died on Dec. 29, at age 88.

The Kentucky native was an important figure on the West Coast jazz scene. In an obituary,NBC News called him "an architect of the soul-jazz sound. He helped jazz connect with the counterculture's protest music and provided a wellspring of material for sample-crazed hip-hop stars, including Notorious B.I.G., Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, Warren G., Slick Rick, Dr. Dre, and A Tribe Called Quest."

In its obituary, Billboard notes that "McCann would enjoy a fruitful relationship with Atlantic Records, releasing a dozen albums on the label from the late-‘60s through to the mid-‘70s.

"During that run, Atlantic released Swiss Movement, featuring McCann, frequent collaborator, saxophonist and labelmate Eddie Harris, and trumpeter Benny Bailey. The album earned a Grammy nomination for best jazz performance – small group or soloist with small group, and included the protest song, 'Compared to What,”'which McCann and Co. performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969." The response to that festival appearance helped propel Swiss Movement to RIAA gold status."

McCann released more than 60 albums. He also published a photo book, "Invitation to Openness: The Jazz and Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980."

Tony Oxley, an English free improvising drummer, died on Dec. 26, at age 85, after a long illness.

The Free Jazz Blog described him as "a phenomenal sound researcher, percussionist, violinist and electronic musician."

Early in his career, Oxley worked with John McLaughlin, on the album Extrapolation, and Gavin Bryars. He accompanied such visiting American jazz stars as Joe Henderson, Lee Konitz, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins and Bill Evans, and was a member of bands led by Gordon Beck, Alan Skidmore, and Mike Pyne.

In 1969, Oxley formed a quintet with Derek Bailey, Jeff Clyne, Evan Parker and Kenny Wheeler, releasing the album The Baptised Traveller, followed a year later by 4 Compositions for Sextet. In 1970, Oxley helped found Incus Records with Bailey and others.

Through the 1980s he worked with Tony Coe and Didier Levallet, toured and recorded with Anthony Braxton, and also began a working relationship with Cecil Taylor. In 2000 he released the album Triangular Screen with the Tony Oxley Project 1, a trio with Ivar Grydeland and Tonny Kluften.

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