You're Gonna Miss Me: Rock's Most Messed-Up Murders
As many of you have already undoubtedly heard, Phil Spector was convicted yesterday in the murder of Lana Clarkson. More famous now for his bafflingly insane hair than the records he produced for the Righteous Brothers, Leonard Cohen and the Beatles, Spector invented the Wall of Sound production style; the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson considered him his main rival and deliberately named the group's landmark 1966 album Pet Sounds after Spector's initials. The story of Clarkson's murder has been retold ad nauseum, so we'll spare you yet another retread. Instead, we'd like to take you on a tour of other famous rock murders. Spector may have been a production pioneer, but when it comes to rock and roll slayings, others have certainly paved his way. R.I.P.: Marvin Gaye, Prince of Soul Killed by: Marvin Gaye Sr., his father
This story reads like something a suicidal O. Henry might have written. Shortly after his early-'80s comeback, on a tour supporting his album Midnight Love (the one with "Sexual Healing"), Gaye began to suffer from depression and paranoia, believing his life was in danger. When the tour ended, Gaye moved in with his parents, but didn't find the shelter he was seeking there. He constantly argued with his father, Marvin Gaye Sr., threatening suicide several times. Well, you know what they say about planting seeds: Gaye Sr. evidently couldn't get the idea out of his head because on April 1, 1984 - the day before Gaye Jr.'s 45th birthday - Gaye Jr. attempted to break up an argument between his parents, and his father shot him dead. With a gun Gaye Jr. had given Gaye Sr. four months earlier. Sometimes irony is a real bitch. R.I.P.: Dimebag Darrell, a.k.a. Darrell Abbott of Pantera and Damageplan Killed by: Former Marine and practicing crazy prick Nathan Gale
Metal is supposed to be fun. Sure, lyrically it's obsessed with death, anger and devils of all kinds, but in the end it's supposed to be just another way to vent, rock out and have a good time. This fact either escaped or never occurred to Nathan Gale. On December 8, 2004, at a Damageplan concert at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Gale rushed the stage and shot Dimebag five times in the back of the head, killing him. Gale also killed Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk, security guard Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, audience member Nathan Bray and injured several people including drum technician John "Kat" Brooks, who attempted to wrestle the gun away from Gale and was wounded and taken hostage instead. Fortunately, Officer James D. Niggemeyer - boy, that last name is really close to being unprintable - was able to sneak up behind Gale with a shotgun and blow his defective brains out. R.I.P.: Stacy Sutherland, Thirteenth Floor Elevators guitarist Killed by: His wife, Bunny
Sutherland had several run-ins with the law regarding his drug use, winding up in jail in 1969, around the same time Elevators lead singer Roky Erickson was committed to a mental institution for the same thing. To complicate matters, after Sutherland's release, he began drinking heavily. Finally, on August 26, 1978, his wife Bunny shot him accidentally during a domestic dispute at the couple's Montrose home. That was it for the Elevators, whose indefinite hiatus immediately became permanent. R.I.P.: Mia Zapata, Gits lead singer Killed by: Jesus Mezquia, Cuban refugee and criminal
Witnesses say Zapata was listening to her Walkman when she left Seattle's Comet Tavern around 1 a.m. on the morning of July 7, 1993, so she probably never even heard her killer approach. A woman found her body in the street around 3:30 a.m; Zapata had been raped, murdered and left in a Christ-like pose. The story inflamed the Seattle rock community and made national headlines, even becoming the subject of shows like Unsolved Mysteries and 48 Hours. The murder remained unsolved until 2003, when technology had finally reached the point where a saliva sample, frozen since Zapata's murder, could be properly tested. The tests indicated Mezquia, one of the many criminals kindly donated to the U.S. via Fidel Castro's Mariel Boatlift. Mezquia maintained his innocence, although a history of violence against women, in addition to the new DNA testing, were enough for a jury to convict him on March 25, 2004. In an effort to salvage some good from the tragedy, Zapata's friends created Home Alive, an anti-violence group specializing in self-defense and awareness education. R.I.P.: Euronymous, a.k.a. Øystein Aarseth of Norwegian black-metal band Mayhem Killed by: Varg Vikernes... also of Mayhem
In August 1993, only two years after their lead singer Dead (rather unsurprisingly) committed suicide, tensions between guitarist Euronymous and bassist Vikernes exploded into confrontation one night at Euronymous' apartment. Vikernes maintains Euronymous attacked him and the killing was merely self-defense; however, this assertion was difficult to take at face value, considering the victim was stabbed 23 times - 16 of those in the back. Couple that with the fact that Vikernes had already achieved notoriety for burning down a bunch of churches (in happier times, he and Euronymous had even planned on blowing up the Nidaros Cathedral together), and Vikerenes was convicted. But good news: Not only did the turmoil fail to hurt sales of Mayhem's next album, but as of March 2009, Vikernes is now eligible for parole!