Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse Passed Away

British singer Amy Winehouse, who was found dead in her London home yesterday, is now a member of the infamous 27 Club.
That is an unfortunate group of famous musicians who died aged 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. More rock stars have died at 27 than at any other age.
It was not surprising to hear Winehouse had died – as anyone who saw the video of the audience booing her concert in Serbia last month, where she was too drunk to continue, would agree.
I interviewed her in 2003 for the British release of her debut album Frank.
Just 19, Winehouse at that time was as new as MySpace.
She was shy and pleasant and loved to sing. I remember her excitement at the knowledge she was making music as a job.
She'd make music forever, regardless of whether people bought her albums or not, she said. It was what she loved.
One day, she said, her children would listen to her music and know she had done what she loved.
That interview was never published. No-one had heard of Amy Winehouse back then and no-one was interested in 1000 words about her.
Then, in 2007, after the stupendous success in both Britain and the United States of her second album, Back to Black, followed by the hype and the Mercury awards, I was scheduled to interview her again. But it never happened. Times were made on different days and numerous times for over three weeks. The phone operators had no clue where she was. "I am sorry, Miss Winehouse is AWOL" said one.
Urgent whispers in the background were audible – "no-one knows where she is again" – as new interview times were made and, later, broken.
I remember distinctly a temp working for the record label. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude like this. It's my first day," she said. "Poor thing just isn't up to much, just between you and me. It's so sad."
And it is sad. Behind the beehive, bad choices in boyfriends and that distinctive contralto voice, was a little girl who will never play her music for her own children. Getting into the 27 club is sadly all too easy.
But Kiwi modfather Ray Columbus hopes to one day see his friend, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, out of the club. In a recent interview with The Press, Columbus, who was once tipped as a potential lead singer of the Rolling Stones, claimed he "never" believed Jones died of an overdose.
"It just wasn't him, I've never believed that. If you'd have known him like I did, you'd know it just wasn't him. He was very meticulous about his appearance and the way he looked, he just wouldn't have done that stuff," Columbus said.