Jeffrey Lee Pierce Memorial

b. 27 June 1958, Montebello, CA
d. 31 March 1996, Salt Lake City, UT


I am ten thousand miles away,
rainy days in england,
i heard you fell in utah
was there someone there to catch you?
oh, blondie boy
of love and desperation.
you carried in your heart,
to march away in time.
Hope you meet Blind Willie Mctell at that James Brown concert. Ah....
Ah..................Cleopatra dream on........

-Cassell Webb-1996

  • Ex-Gun Club Leader Dead,
    by Fred "Phast Phreddie" Patterson, Addicted to Noise, April 2, 1996

  • My 80s and Jeffrey Tribute

    My favourite records at the time were Iggy's "TV Eye" and Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures," these along with the Doors and Velvets, provided the soundtrack to my later teens /early twenties. Listening to these bands often involved sitting in a dark room, alone with a head full of angst. The volume would be cranked up so loud that the neighbours would feel the full power of these primal rock bands pounding their walls to a fine rubble.
    I watched programmes like "The Tube" in the early 80s and was utterly blown away by an appearance of Iggy himself, a manic wildman unleashed onto British TV!.
    I began hanging out with various friends at various clubs in the city. I never got into the Goth scene. I wore black , yeah, but that scene was brimming with pretence and it did not appeal to me. I pursued an unrequited love at the time with no success. She did, however, become a good friend.
    I learned to drink to excess then and acquired a taste for Guinness, Jack Daniels and Tequila , my musical horizons were widening all the time. I started listening to all sorts of music then. It was if I had just found out what 'eclectic' meant, and was going about proving it in my choice of music.
    The list went like this: Motorhead, ZZ Top, free jazz; taking in the likes of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, blues, folk stuff, alternative rock from the States ; Dream Syndicate, R.E.M, Long Ryders, many of who, years later were big league contenders in the world of corporate rock.
    One of my all time favourites were (and are) the Gun Club. An L.A. based punk band with blues influences worn on their sleeves, they were a big influence on my tastes musical and literary.
    Their singer, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, a peroxided Marlon Brando lookalike, was a drunken poet/singer similar in style to Jim Morrison. His lyrics were great and reminded me of the best poetry I had read, and the best punk lyrics. He often stated in interviews that he was an avid fan of "black" music, often dropping names of rappers and jazz players like Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra into the conversation.
    The Gun Club's "Las Vegas Story" affirmed this fandom with idiosyncratic covers of Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now" and Sanders "The Creator has a Masterplan". The horn section on this LP was named "The Synanon Reeds" , which is likely a reference to the sax player Art Pepper and his sojourn at the rehab centre of the same name.
    The Gun Club and Jeffrey Lee laid the foundations for my years long quest for the perfect African American music which I later discovered in artists like Charlie Parker and Robert Johnson. Both of these individuals lived their lives on the edge of the switchblade and were eventually destroyed by their own talent. The intensity of their lives was evident in the intensity of their music. The same was perhaps true of Jeffrey Lee.
    Pierce was also a writer. He performed spoken word gigs with the likes of Lydia Lunch, Henry Rollins and William Burroughs. Looking back on things, I started writing myself in the 80s inspired by Pierce as well as books like "1984", "Naked Lunch" and "On The Road"!.

    Fast Forward to 1996.
    It's Wednesday.
    I have had a shit day at work and I pick up a copy of the NME on the way home for old times' sake.
    Opening the paper, I see an article saying that Jeffrey Lee has died.
    I feel sad and remember the times I associate with his music and its continuing influence on me and my writing.

    Fast Forward to 2001.
    I'm in town.
    It's Sunday and lots of shoppers are buzzing about.
    I seek refuge in a bookstore and discover "Go Tell The Mountain," the complete lyrics/writings of Jeffrey Lee. It's published by Henry Rollins' 2.13.61 imprint.
    I hand over my money and read.
    The fire still burns, even in the 21st Century.

    ŠAdam 2002

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    Created: February 22, 2002
    Last modified: May 7, 2003 by Ger Potze.