It's been a sad week for music of all varieties.
The passing of Stax bassist Duck Dunn leaves a mark on soul music. Dunn and his cohorts in Booker T and the MG's backed pretty much everyone that recorded at Stax, at least in its heyday: Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Rufus Thomas, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas and on and on.
Dunn and his cohorts created a simple music that was both down home grits and gravy and cosmopolitan at the same time, offering a counterpoint to the slicker Motown sound emerging simultaneously from Detroit.
Maybe it's because I was in Brooklyn when I heard the news about Donna Summer, but I was immediately transported back to the '70s, when Summer's influential collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, "I Feel Love," was ubiquitous on the Brooklyn side (and maybe in Milwaukee, too) and helped create synthesized dance music and even inspired the British synth pop explosion that followed.
But the real hit to someone in the Milwaukee music scene was the passing of Mark Shurilla, who we all called "Dog" back in the day. I was out of town when I heard, hence this delayed post.
First with The Blackholes – sh*t, they even got to play on the field at County Stadium thanks to their awesome tune "Warren Spahn"! – and later with his Buddy Holly show and his work mentoring and managing young local talent, Shurilla was a force on the local scene.
And that doesn't even take into account those years he spent at the helm of The Express – which later merged with The Shepherd – chronicling and supporting local music.
Remember his passion for punk rock polka? Dog was a Milwaukee boy through and through.
All three will be missed, but on the mean streets of the East Side, we'll miss Mark Shurilla the most.
Myke Stanton commented on onmilwaukee.com.
Will miss Mark, as we miss his dear friend Mike "Lighting" Sardina & Jerry "Pork" Armstrong. All departed in recent years before we would have liked, leaving holes in our hearts as well as the Milwaukee music scene. Donna Summer was the best of the best & one of the few " celebrities" I admired & leaves a great dance music legacy. R.I.P. to them all.
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