Very sad day yesterday. I found out that Hardrock Gunter, the legendary guitarist who recorded a few sides for Starday in the late '50s and early '60s (four solo sides on the Tennessee Guitar LP [SLP 176], and also alongside the Sunshine Boys [45-353] and with Buddy Durham [45-581]), had passed away a few days ago (March 15th). Though his encounters with Starday were somewhat brief, he is primarily remembered as a pioneering rock and roll guitar player who made some legendary sides for Bama, Sun, and others, though his Starday sides, both solo and with the Sunshine Boys, are particularly great! More info at www.hardrockgunter.com.
At the same time I also found out that legendary rockabilly artist Eddie Bond passed away just yesterday. Eddie was one of the first people I interviewed for the Starday book. I had wanted to find some of the Starday rockabilly artists and I remembered him cutting Sonny Fisher's Starday tune 'Rockin' Daddy' for Mercury in '56, then later recording for Mercury-Starday in '57. After talking with him, I realized that he never actually cut any rockabilly sides for Mercury-Starday. Instead, now that Don Pierce was producing his sessions, he went back to recording country music (the music he loved most) with fiddles and steel guitar. He did do some boppin' stuff for Mercury-Starday with trumpets and horns, but as he told me, country music was the true music in his heart. That said, I finally got to meet Eddie at a rockabilly festival in Green Bay back in '07. For that reason alone I was glad that he was still willing to indulge the rockabilly fans and play the festival circuit. He was a fun guy with whom to talk, still remembered all sorts of names and recording details from the '50s, and will be sorely missed! Here is a link to a story about him: http://
To make the day even sadder, I also learned that my buddy Donie Maxwell also passed away yesterday. He never recorded for Starday (though his son plays guitar on my new Starday Sessions tribute CD), but he was a sweet, sweet man who loved Starday and rockabilly music and his family band, Mad Max & the Wild Ones, was always my highlight of the Indy Road Rockets rockabilly festivals, regardless of who else was playing. I really enjoyed hanging out and talking with him at the festival each year and my heart goes out to his entire family. All three men will be truly missed and their music shall play on in my heart for as long as it beats. R.I.P.