In the last year we lost some dear friends in the Burlington music community and we’d like to take a moment to remember them before we move on into 1998.
Local legend Zoot Wilson killed himself on Friday, June 13th. The charismatic, troubled leader of the N-Zones (and a host of other projects) became the subject of an emotional memorial at Nectar Rorris’ Restaurant. Soon Zoot will be everywhere, thanks to some upcoming compilation CDs. The N-Zones do a rocking “Winter Wonderland” on Magic Hat’s holiday-themed Feast of Fools CD and there are several Zoot Wilson songs on Mister Charlie’s Best of the Green Mountain Blues Volume Two disc, out in early December.
Spider Dave was the drummer for the Northeast Kingdom based band known as the Spider Dave Band (photo at right). I first saw Dave, with his mighty snarl of dreadlocks, dancing in the dirt with his son Andru at the site of the Johnson mud bog. It was the first Vermont Jam concert and after Chin Ho! played I went around front to watch Slush finish up the show. I watched as Andru, maybe sixteen, egged Dave, maybe forty, on, goading him into the mosh pit. I laughed when Dave went for it and gave the kids a run for their money. Andru ran out of the pit at one point and introduced himself to me. He said that he, his girlfriend and his dad had a band together and he asked if they could play with us sometime. I remember I just said “yes.” I hadn’t even heard his band, but it didn’t matter. He and his Dad were characters I just had to know. A few months later we played a few shows with the Spider Dave Band at places like the Pyralisk Art Gallery and some abandoned school up in Bradford. I enjoyed hanging out with Dave at those shows (and he grew incredible herb), so I was really sad to hear that he’d fallen ill last year with cancer and he had to drop out of the band. I recently read a posting on the Big Heavy World message board (www.bigheavyworld.com) that said the Spider Dave Band had broken up. I wrote to the guy who’d posted it and asked him about Spider Dave, hoping the news would be good. But when he wrote back, he said that Spider Dave had passed away, almost a year ago, and that Andru and Jeanne had moved, maybe to New York. And so it goes.
A lot has been written about Richard Haupt since he had his second, fatal heart attack last summer in New Orleans. I got to know him when we asked him to be on the cover of Good Citizen for our second issue. We decided that “The Clarinet Man” was our “hardest working man in show business” and we wanted to reward him for all the time he spent entertaining us. Richard loved the cover photo by Eric Hutchins, and he thanked me every time I saw him on the street. We hooked him up with Phish for the Burlington Does Burlington CD and yes, that is Richard on the cover of the album. For the CD release party, we had him play with Barbacoa at Club Toast. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that Richard had the time of his life that night…the crowd loved him and Richard just bounced around the bar all night. Later that summer we took him over to the Clifford Ball in the Good Citizen caravan and he got to go backstage and hang out with Phish. They loaded him up with goodies that he proudly displayed later in the day as he wandered around Ball Square playing his clarinet. That’s how I’ll remember Richard – rocking back and forth, playing his clarinet, pausing occasionally to sing a little – hammin’ it up on the street.