Steve Moyer Has Died

Steve with Ian MacKaye during a break during the Follow Fashion Monkeys sessions.

  1. Steve loved numbered lists.
  2. He was a good dresser. He always wore shirts with patterns, and often with snaps.
  3. He also recognized the dress of others, pointing out a drummer or bass player who had made a good or bad or interesting choice in a video.
  4. He and I invented the Fantasy Baseball Guide together. Steve was working for Rotowire, my partner in the Guides for a couple of years, and they gifted me with an excellent collaborator. Having a cool and smart partner on the payroll was a beautiful thing for me, and gaining a friend was even more important.
  5. Steve always had ideas, about everything. And his resistance to seeing the middle ground was sometimes frustrating, but often also endearing, which is why everyone ended up giving him a lot of space to be himself. His ideas were passionate and heart-felt and often right. Or valuable, even if you disagreed. Or when he was wrong.
  6. He was more punk than the rest of us. He said so.
  7. When we put together our Essential lists, at the start of Rock Remnants, there was no more surprising item on any list than Steve’s choice of More Specials.

  1. Steve always said the Guide was the best baseball mag out there. Who doesn’t like that?
  2. There were always surprising things about him that would come out in conversation. Like, I’m dating a minister. Or, My country band does [that song] this way…. Or, when I’m at the gym I have to listen to this crap. As if he didn’t know he had other choices to listen to what he wanted. But he did not take to the streaming world. To someone who has driven through Times Square listing to Supershit 666 at maximum volume with Steve, on DVD, these seem like oxymorons. Who is this person who contains such multitudes?
  3. And who gets pissed off when the music isn’t pushing it enough. Even when it is folk music, and it really shouldn’t.
  4. Steve suggested we include a broad range of fantasy voices in the Guide, and helped me to draw those voices in. I’d always been shy about the fantasy industry, a phrase that is particularly ludicrous on Oscar night, but Steve in real and important ways introduced me to people I already knew from LABR and Tout, and helped forge friendships with them that have become a central part of my life. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that, but with Steve’s help I did.
  5. Steve named Rock Remnants. It was his name. And when my implementation of his name wasn’t to his liking, he was fierce in his defense of his vision. That led to some uncomfortable moments, and we all know what happens to muscle that is challenged.
  6. The perfect tribute would be to burn a CD of cuts Steve loved. A mix tape on CD. Because Moyer didn’t stream. In the meantime, how about this song from The Upper Crust:



RIP: Steve Moyer (1960-2018)

It is with extreme sadness that I must report the departure of one of the core Remnants, Steve Moyer.

Steve, with whom I have worked and been friends for over 25-years, was indeed one-of-a-kind: brash, opinionated, fierce, funny, direct, loyal with a mischievous mind and mouth like no one else I know.

Of course like the core Remnants I met Steve via our other common love: baseball. So for those of us driven by the forces of the diamond and the guitar, endless hours of talk just flew from our mouths when assembled.

And, that “assembly” happened a couple of times each year. In the fall we all gathered for the Arizona Fall League, and over the first three weeks of March. For, the coming of March means the annual Fantasy Baseball industry tour together among various First Pitch conferences, Spring Training, The League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR), the XFL, all culminating with Tout Wars in New York City.

Last night, as we gathered after the American League LABR auction, we got the news that Steve, who was to be drafting in the National League LABR auction tonight, had passed away in his sleep at his hotel after handling some business before joining us in baseball nirvana.

I will leave it with that.

But, since Steve was such a music junkie, as I got into the car to drive back to my hotel last night, I plugged in my shuffle and wondered just what song Spotify would deliver as the tune to contemplate the passing of Steve Moyer, and amazingly–and somewhat eerily–Elton John’s Funeral for a Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding came on.

Now, I know Steve well enough to know that he would hate being remembered by Elton John of all people, but sorry, the universe gave me what it gave me. Although below, I also added the vid to his favorite song, Search and Destroy by Iggy and the Stooges.

RIP Steve. Your friends. Your family. Your colleagues. Your industry will all miss you to the max.



The Temptations, Ball of Confusion

Dennis Edwards joined the Temps about the time their sound got harder, and the content of their songs political. Also when they became their most popular selves. He died earlier this week.

There are some great videos of the band singing this one, with psychedelic video, on YouTube, but the audio part of this version is the best.

Mark E. Smith Has Fallen.

Over the years I’ve listened to a lot of The Fall records, and liked all of them. But I never was a fan. There is probably a conversation to be had about that.

Mark E. Smith, the singular head of The Fall, the constant amidst constant change over 40 years, died this week. The first video of them I found was this, which doesn’t seem typical, but does kind of get a vibe going.

The younger Fall is what I remember better. And it isn’t that different.

Watching that Totally Wired clip I could imagine why I would fall in love with this band, this guy, this poet. But that wasn’t a connection I made. At the same time, I was totally down with the Fall as a great band. Why? Because of a Barbara Manning song. Her endorsement meant everything.

Going Out In Style: Johnny Hallyday

Johnny Hallyday was a giant rock star in France, and would show up in all sorts of French films I’ve seen over the years. Whether the movie be commercial cheese or popular entertainment, Hallyday’s presence was always electric. This guy was a real rock star.

Not that I ever listened to his albums. Like Elvis Presley, I got the sense he had some great songs, but he also recorded a lot of shlock, all the more so for the movies. So, incredible aura, but very little consideration as an artist. And this seems to be the case all over the English speaking world.

But in France? He died this week and they threw him a rock star’s funeral. Dig all the pictures here.

A few songs:



Tommy Keene RIP Places That Are Gone

I liked this song back in the day, partly because of the Bobby Thompson quotes, but it’s also smart and sounds great and has a bit more oomph than many of the 80s power pop tunes did. He went to the same high school as Nils Lofgren, made many records, had no hits and a part of the world mourns his death yesterday.

Obit: Gord Downie

I’ve only been to see Saturday Night Live live once, in 1995, and the musical guest that night was Canadian band The Tragically Hip, which I’m told all Canadians call The Hip.

What I noticed is that they took their name from an Elvis Costello lyric (Town Crier), and they rocked, but seemed oddly removed. I’ve heard about them over the years, but never really revisited them until today. They had a rep as one of those bands that can’t find an audience outside of Canada. So there you go.

But the band’s lyricist and leader, Gord Downie, died this week at 53 after a long struggle with brain cancer. Reading an obit in New York magazine turned me on to the song Fifty-Mission Cap, from a 1993 album. It’s a driving rocker that tells the shaggy dog story of a Canadian hockey player, a Maple Leaf, who disappears in 1951 while on a fishing trip, and whose body isn’t found until a 1962 plane crash. Good lyrics, tough song, weird combo. I’ll be listening some more.

Tom Petty (10/20/50-10/02/17)

It is hard for me to compartmentalize the passing of the great Tom Petty.

I was a little later to the party than Gene, for I noticed Petty in the similarly great Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley Valentines Day in 1977 when I was buying Frampton Comes Alive (laugh if you will, but I was a big Humble Pie fan and had Frampton’s three previous albums which featured George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Klaus Voorman, to name a few).

But, I remember the stack of records and the debut album which held a sign that said, “his name might be Petty, but his music ain’t small.”

So, I bought both.

In April 1977, Petty and band played Winterland (with Greg Kihn) and a few months later–in September–he again played and I attended both, this time with the band opening for Be Bop Deluxe.

By then the group had become my favorite band, and this was all amplified when I went to London that fall and fell under the spell of the punks and Petty et al totally meshed with American New Wave to me despite the classic rock set-up.

In June of ’78 the band again played Winterland and again, I was there, and then again in December as part of the closing of the venue I had loved and seen so many great bands (in fact the final three acts were Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and then the Dead for New Years, and that was that for Winterland).

The following summer Petty was embroiled in a lawsuit and petitioned the court to tour and make some money since their next recording was tied up in litigation, so I saw the “lawsuit tour,” as it was known in Sacramento in the summer of 1979.

There were more. The Mountain Aire Festival (1983), Petty with Dylan at the Greek in ’86, Southern Accents in 1987, and unfortunately missed the Into the Great Wide Open tour due to strep throat. But, my ex-wife, Ava, who became a Petty fan used the tickets I got. In fact Ava said during Mountain Aire that she got the feeling Petty was looking at her for a moment, singing to her, connecting with her.

By then, Petty et al were an arena band so I saw them only once more, again at the Greek, in 2006 for the Highway Companion 30th Anniversary Tour.

I think that makes nine times, and aside from buying the bulk of the band’s albums (I am not a greatest hits guy) but, in 1979 I began working on a novel that became my Masters Thesis, a pretty chunky play on the Picaresque called Dirty Laundry and Petty and his band and that debut album–which I believe was among my essentials–were pivotal parts of the plot.

Petty was surely a rock star, and a wonderful song writer and lyricist in my view, but he was also a regular guy–or tried to be–and carried that attitude within several lawsuits he had with his record companies.

In the end, I am just at a loss how a guy, so vital on the stage, had a heart attack and poof, gone, but there you go.

If there is a West Coast/East Coast difference in sensibilities about the Heartbreakers and their name and band, I always thought of The Heartbreakers as Johnny Thunder’s band, as opposed to the West Coast band which was all lumped in with the name Tom Petty. As in “Tom Petty” included the Heartbreakers, and “The Heartbreakers” included Johnny Thunders, and I mean no disrespect to the great Thunders or his band in separating the two like this.

Here is an early live recording of a song of the band’s I always dug from the first record. There is a great story around this gig, and that the band got searched at customs getting into Germany. Apparently they had a big chunk of hash and were concerned, but the goods were never discovered.

Petty asked bass player Ron Blair, who was holding, what happened to the stuff and Blair smiled, showing off some very black teeth. And, he played this gig while blitzed.


Again, I just don’t know what to say, though. The Biletones have at least a half dozen Petty tunes in their setlist. I guess the only place I can go is thank you so much Tom, for your songs, your humanity, and for being yourself.

I hope things are as fun on the other side! RIP mate.

Tom Petty Has Died.

This was the first song most of us heard by Tom Petty, I’m pretty confident to say. At least those who were alive when that record, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out. Some of us were confused, there was another band called the Heartbreakers out there already, playing around the neighborhood. But LAMF, that band’s first album, didn’t come out until late in 1977. Tom Petty’s band’s first eponymous elpee dropped in February, and with it this amazing song that seemed to meld southern rock, LA country and NY punk into a perfect song.

Petty turned out be a giant star who had at least a bit of the heart of a remnant. He kept playing with his high school band, all through his life, and he genuinely seemed to enjoy the whole process, the writing and performing and being a star while also being himself. He wrote and sang and performed everywhere since those early days, and has had scores of hits and a ton of fame, but this is the song that comes to me first and foremost when I hear something awful, like I did today.