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Obituaries: Jon Card Was a Vancouver Punk Legend

This week, we also acknowledge the passing of “Dean of Canadian Jazz” Phil Nimmons, R&B singer Clarence 'Frogman' Henry, hip-hop DJ Mister Cee, K-Pop star Park Bo Ramand Australian promoter Garry Van Egmond.

Jon Card

Jon Card

Jon Card, a Vancouver-based drummer who had stints in top Canadian punk rock bands D.O.A., SNFU, The Subhumans and Personality Crisis, died on April 8, at the age of 63. A cause of death has not been reported.

A Canadian Press obituary notes that "Card was a staple in the Canadian punk scene for four decades, recording and performing with some of the country’s most influential and enduring acts." It states that "Card started on the piano and oboe, but switched to drums to his mother’s chagrin, and eventually joined the Calgary Stampede Marching Band and later took lessons from the Calgary Philharmonic’s principal percussionist Tim Rawlins."


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The Georgia Straight reports that "Card was born in Germany to a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot in 1960. He started his playing career with the metal band Stonehenge before shifting his allegiance to punk. Raised in Calgary, he founded the hardcore band Plasticide (later renamed Suburban Slag) there in his late teens. Card would first rise to prominence as a member of Winnipeg legends Personality Crisis, followed by a stint with Edmonton-spawned thrash icons SNFU."

Card played with Personality Crisis from 1981-84, followed by two years in SNFU. He appeared on their second LP, If You Swear, You'll Catch No Fish, and recorded additional material featured on their The Last of the Big Time Suspenders compilation album.

Next up was a spell in Vancouver hardcore pioneers D.O.A., with whom he toured extensively and recorded until 1991. The Georgia Straight observes that "Vancouverites got a front-row seat for his singular style—hard-hitting and brutally precise—when he joined D.O.A. in the late-’80s, staying with the punk forefathers until the early '90s."

In a new interview, D.O.A. leader Joe Keithley tells Billboard Canada about how Card joined the band.

"He was a legend in his hometown of Calgary. I first met him when he played in Personality Crisis, a great band that never really got their due in the tough music business."

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"We had many great drummers in D.O.A., including my good buddy Dimwit, who’s no longer around either. He quit in early '85, and we picked up this kid, Kerr Beliveau, and that didn’t quite work. Wimpy, our bass player, said 'what about Jon Card? He's in town.' And we got him. Jon was with us for about five years and over 400 gigs."

"Jon had a really interesting style. He could be a meat and potatoes guy, but he had a jazz flair doing fills. For something as straightforward as punk rock, it is your basic backbeat on everything, but sped up a lot. Jon would do crazy weird fills, with the rest of us going 'I wonder where the hell this will end?' We’re holding our breath. I’m not comparing them, but it’d be like with Buddy Rich. You wait and know he’ll be back on time. Jon had the uncanny ability to do that. He was a great drummer."

Card played on D.O.A.'s 1987 album Murder and most of the True (North) Strong & Free album, and Keithley notes that "he also did a great job on the 1990 album we made with Jello Biafra,Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors.

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In 1988, he also contributed to NoMeansNo's Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed album as a guest. Card joined the reunited SNFU briefly for a 1991 tour. When Vancouver punk pioneers the Subhumans reunited in 2005, they recruited Card, and this lineup recorded one new album, New Dark Age Parade, prior to disbanding in 2010.

In 2010, Card rejoined SNFU, for his third tenure with the band, playing on their Never Trouble Trouble Until Trouble Troubles You album three years later.

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Though known as a punk rock drummer, Card was versatile enough to play with noted Vancouver roots artist Linda McRae. She tells Billboard Canada that "under the name Linda McRae and Cheerful Lonesome, we recorded an album, Cryin’ Out Loud. Gurf Morlix produced and it came out on Black Hen in 2004, and Jon was part of our band."

On Facebook, McRae posted this tribute: "Just heard that Jon Card has passed. Still processing this. Gutted. Jon was such a powerful drummer and one of the best time keepers I've had the pleasure to work with and such a good guy. Shit. Love you Jon, RIP."

Card's musical peers paid tribute on social media and elsewhere as news of his death became known.

SNFU bassist Dave Bacon offers Billboard Canada this tribute: "I always thought of Jon as the drummer’s drummer. At live shows drummers (and musicians in general) would gather to watch him play, mouths agape. Oftentimes during soundchecks, Jon would pull off some amazing beat or lick on his kit and the whole room would turn their heads with a group 'wtf!'

"And he could find the groove to a song so quickly, and was able to pull off any genre, whether rock based, country twang, or jazz even. He was pretty amazing. Personally, he was a great guy, but not without his troubles. He could walk into a room and take it over, but not in a rockstar way. He was just really funny, engaging and entertaining in general — which also extended to his live performances. Not ironically, he was a card.

"He was also a very kind person and one way he showed it was to encourage young performers and artists to stick to it; giving them advice and guidance along the way. It meant a lot to more than a few mutual friends of ours who have regaled me with their Jon stories."

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Keithley recalls that "Jon was fun to hang around with. A funny guy, with a good sense of humour and a big smile. We had a good time on the road, let me put it that way. We spent a lot of time gambling in the van. We had a card table so we’d play poker or a dice game. One Jon and I played a lot was crib, and it turns out I was a lot better. We’d have $2 then $5 games, and he’d say 'Shithead, let’s do $10.' I’d say ‘fine, but I’ll basically be taking back all the money you’d have made from this tour!

"Jon rejoined D.O.A. for a bunch of shows in Alberta in 2007, and it was fun, like old times. We started gambling again, with Jon still trying to get his money back, unsuccessfully! I’'m not a card shark but am pretty good at crib!"

"Jon was a good hockey player too. We had a great hockey team, the DOA Murder Squad, and we’d do benefit games for the Vancouver Food Bank. He was one of the quicker forwards."

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Art Bergmann sent this to Billboard Canada: "I don't know what to say about Jon except I loved him dearly and he loved me...a silent mutual respect."

On Facebook, actor/theatre director Michael Scholar Jr. posted this tribute. "A Canadian music legend died on the day of totality. No one played harder. [Roadie] Chris Crud used to have to nail a 2x4 in front of his base drum to keep it from moving. Rest in Percussion Jon Card. I’m lucky I got to see you play so many times with so many great bands. You will be missed."

Music industry veteran Mark Smith sent Billboard Canada this tribute: "Forty years ago, I met Jon in Calgary while on tour. The next morning, he joined us in the van and a week later became my housemate near the notorious Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver's DTES.

"Coincidentally, DOA needed a drummer, and Jon's addition brought a new musicality to the band. Reflecting on the past week, I've come to see Jon not just through the fog of friendship but have also come to understand his position as one of the great punk rock drummers."

A Celebration of Life event in Vancouver is expected, with details yet to come.

Phil (Philip Rista) Nimmons, a Juno-winning and highly influential Canadian jazz composer, bandleader, educator and clarinetist, died on April 5, at age 100.

Receiving honours that included the Order of Canada and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award testifies to the impact Nimmons (often dubbed the “Dean of Canadian Jazz”) had on Canadian jazz over a long and prolific career.

Fluent in both free jazz and mainstream styles, Nimmons was also adept in classical music. It is estimated he composed over 400 pieces of music in various genres, including film scores, music for radio and television, chamber music, music for large ensembles, concert band and symphony orchestras.

Read an extensive Billboard Canada obituary featuring tributes from leading Canadian jazz musicians here.

A legacy fund has been established at the Canadian Music Centre in Nimmons' honour.

Mister Cee (Calvin LeBrun), a legendary hip-hop DJ, has died, at age 57. A cause of death has not been reported.

A Billboard obituary notes that “Known as 'The Finisher,' Mister Cee was a fixture on New York City radio waves for over 25 years, helming the “Throwback at Noon” block on Hot 97 where he played classic old school hip-hop records. Most recently, he took over the same noon time slot on NYC’s 94.7 The Block.”

His first break came from DJing for rap star Big Daddy Kane and scratching on Kane’s debut album Long Live the Kane.

“Cee’s claim to fame wasn’t being Kane’s DJ or even being a member of the legendary Juice Crew, it was for helping discover arguably the greatest rapper of all time in the Notorious B.I.G.“

Read more here.

Clarence “Frogman” Henry, one of New Orleans’ best known old-time R&B singers, died on April 7, at age 87.

An Associated Pressobituary states that "Henry scored a hit at age 19 with 'Ain’t Got No Home,' in which he imitated the voice of a frog. It was a hit in 1956 and later brought Henry renewed fame when it was featured on the Forrest Gump and Mickey Blue Eyes soundtracks.

"By 1958, Henry’s popularity waned and he took to playing nightclubs on Bourbon Street. But in 1960, a new song, 'I Don’t Know Why But I Do' by Cajun songwriter Bobby Charles and arranged by Allen Toussaint, brought Henry renewed success. With the Bill Black Combo and the Jive Five he opened for the Beatles for 18 dates in 1964 during their first U.S. trip and toured extensively, from Scotland to New Zealand."

The hits then stopped coming, but In Louisiana, Henry remained popular. He was one of the few black New Orleans musicians to cross over into Cajun musical circles, and he had been scheduled to perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival later this month.

Park Bo Ram, a South Korean singer and K-Pop star, died on April 11, at age 30. A cause of death has not been reported.

A Billboardobituary notes that "Park Bo Ram first impacted the K-pop industry at age 17, competing in the 2010 singing competition series Super Star K2 as a high school student with a love of R&B music. She finished eighth.

"She made her official debut on the scene on Aug. 7, 2014, with the single “Beautiful,” featuring popular rapper Zico, which peaked at No. 2 on Korea’s local Gaon singles chart and won her an Artist of the Year honor for the chart’s top song of August at the 2014 Gaon Chart Music Awards."

Bo Ram also collaborated with singers Eric Nam, Park Kyung, and rapper Lil Boi. This year she released the song “I Hope” with Huh Gak, and most recently, “I Miss You.” Billboard notes that "it was previously shared that the star was working on an album celebrating her upcoming 10th anniversary in the music business for this summer."

Garry Van Egmond, the veteran concert impresario behind some of the biggest tours in the history of Australia’s touring business, died on April 6 following complications of recent surgery, at age 82.

A Billboard obituary notes that "Van Egmond was AC/DC’s promoter of choice for touring Australia and New Zealand, and, in 1986, he helmed Dire Straits’ record-smashing Brothers In Arms tour, a juggernaut that shifted more than 900,000 tickets when Australia’s population was just 14 million. More than 250,000 tickets for that Dire Straits tour were sold in Sydney alone.

"Dire Straits’ national box-office bonanza was the all-time record holder for tickets sold on a single tour, holding the mark for more than 30 years, until Ed Sheeran’s 2018 Divide tour pushed past one million ticket sales".

With over 50 years’ experience in live events, Van Egmond promoted major concerts across Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. TEG acquired the late entrepreneur’s company, Van Egmond Group, in 2020.

Van Egmond produced AC/DC tours dating back to 1985, including the 2010 Black Ice trek, a co-production with Michael Chugg Entertainment, which shifted more than 600,000 tickets across 11The rock legends’ Rock or Bust Australasia leg in 2015 sold in excess of 460,000 tickets across nine stadium dates in seven cities (five in Australia, two in New Zealand).

Other major tours Van Egmond produced included Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, Riverdance’s The Show, plus tours by Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, INXS, Prince, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton and more.

The TEG Van Egmond business will continue to be run by managing director Christo Van Egmond, his daughter. Read more here.

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Metro Boomin & Future
Matt Adam

Metro Boomin & Future

Chart Beat

Future, Metro Boomin & Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Like That’ Tops Two More Airplay Charts

The song has now ruled four radio rankings.

Future, Metro Boomin and Kendrick Lamar’s “Like That” adds two more Billboard airplay No. 1s to its collection, rising to the top of the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay tallies dated June 1.

The coronation of “Like That” on both lists accompanies its continued reign on Rap Airplay for a fifth week and Rhythmic Airplay for a third frame.

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