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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LeRoi Moore of Dave Matthews Band

posted by on August 20 at 12:02 PM


Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died yesterday at the age of 46. His death was a result of injuries he suffered from an ATV accident back in June, although the press statement did not specify exactly how he died.

There is not an instrument I despise more in the rock and roll context than the saxophone. For example, my least favorite song of all time is “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger, thanks mostly to that sax solo. I’m sure Clarence Clemons is solid enough guy, but he’s kept me from ever truly appreciating the Boss. Don’t get me wrong, the saxophone is not inherently shitty – I love me some Coltrane. And there are several rock bands that have used the sax tastefully and interestingly (Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Mars Volta, to name a few), but 99% of the time the rock/sax combo is all Bob Seger, and it makes me want to stab out my ears.

I know it is monumentally uncool to admit to it, but there was a time deep in my adolescence when I could get down with some DMB. It was short lived, only until I was introduced to the wide world of independent music, but there’s still a soft spot. The pro-DMB outpouring on the Stereogum message board is a bit baffling considering that site’s usual indie commenter snark, but it would seem that “soft spot” is more commonplace than I would have thought. Though I haven’t listened to their records in years, and don’t plan to ever again, I can remember back to the time when I did, and realize that my feelings toward LeRoi Moore’s saxophone are decidedly out of step with my opinion of rock saxophone in general. When it came time for me to leave DMB behind and never speak their name again, it had nothing to do with the saxophone of LeRoi Moore.

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If you were a session player in the mid 80s that played saxophone, you are probably shitting in a gold toilet right now.

It's just one of those instruments that CAN be done really well, but is usually done painfully wrong.

Posted by Jeff | August 20, 2008 1:09 PM

i have your back on that one, kirby. the sax is an awful instrument. Constantines managed to make good use of it on a few songs, but i'm hard pressed to think of many more bands that weren't ruined by including it.

Posted by brian cook | August 20, 2008 1:47 PM

Brian--I have a very notable exception.
The greatest post-punk band of them all used a saxophone to great effect: the Psychdelic Furs. The saxophone parts on Talk Talk Talk and the other trio of early albums are amazing and little bit scary. Great band, way underrated.

Posted by jm | August 20, 2008 1:55 PM

wow. that explains a lot. thanks for admitting to your DMB fascination.

Posted by emily | August 20, 2008 2:13 PM

The trumpet is the new saxophone. Lots of rock bands these days have one guy who can pull out the trumpet when a song needs that extra little push to get over the top. But eventually we'll be ridiculing the trumpet player, so if you want to stay ahead of the curve learn how to play the trombone now.

Posted by Mr_Friendly | August 20, 2008 2:53 PM

Kirby, I usually find that your tastes and mine align but I have to strongly disagree with you here. Clemons' solo on 'Born to Run,' (I think it was edited together from 9 different takes) remains an epic and triumphant highlight of one of the best American rock albums evar.

Posted by christopher h | August 20, 2008 3:02 PM

way to make sure everyone knows how exceptionally cool you are before you say something nice about LeRoi dying. thank god your credibility is intact. viva la stranger!

Posted by newradio | August 20, 2008 3:27 PM

Seattle guitarist Joseph Shikany killed by falling tree
By Isaac Arnsdorf

Seattle Times staff reporter

A Seattle guitarist was killed Monday in Spokane when a tree fell on him, his wife confirmed Tuesday.

Joseph Shikany, 58, played guitar and bass in several Seattle-area bands, including Magic Bus, Sex And Violins, PowerCell, N'SANE, Spike And The Impalers! and The Davanos.

At his family's lake cabin near Spokane, his hometown, Shikany was trying to secure his boat to the dock amid a storm when he was struck by a windblown tree, his nephew Paul Shikany said.

Paramedics arrived and performed CPR for an hour and a half, his nephew said, until Shikany's pulse returned. He was then taken to a hospital, where doctors determined he would not survive.

Shikany was booked this week for concerts in Seattle, Bothell and Shoreline. He has also played in Cleveland, Holland and England.

Posted by bobcat | August 20, 2008 3:28 PM

What about Morphine, people?? Their sax player often played 2 at once.

Posted by starbird | August 20, 2008 5:27 PM


Posted by bunnypuncher | August 20, 2008 7:16 PM

Soft Machine, the Stooges on Fun House, the Band, Van Morrison, Louis Jordan, Jimmy Forrest, Motown, and many more great rock or rhythm 'n' blues musicians all used the saxophone at various times.

Posted by PJ | August 20, 2008 10:11 PM

I think this post could do without the snarkiness directed at DMB, or sax, since LeRoi devoted a great deal of his life to both. Show a little tenderness, asshole.

Posted by SeanD | August 20, 2008 11:30 PM


Posted by Roger Officer | August 20, 2008 11:59 PM

all you stupid hipsters ... show some respect.

go listen to some Girl Talk, cause we all know, mixin' some top 40 hits on a laptop takes REAL music talent, eh?

LeRoi - RIP

Posted by whatever | August 21, 2008 11:14 AM

i thought this was going to be a post to pay respects... turns out to be a sax hating rant. nice one.

Posted by kdiddy | August 21, 2008 1:05 PM

Sax player for DMB dies, so you rip on the sax's place in rock and roll. Yeah, that makes sense.

You like Coltrane? Nice... really going out on a limb there with that one.

Next you'll be telling us you like the Beatles.

Posted by saxophone was my gateway instrument | August 21, 2008 4:02 PM

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