January 1, 2004

Maybe it’s the alignment of the planets—or just coincidence— but the end of 2003 is turning out to be a tough time for the physical health of the musician community.

In October, former Kiss/present Grand Funk Railroad guitarist Bruce Kulick was shot in the leg outside the Rainbow Bar &Grill in West Hollywood. Apparently, a drunken 21-year-old got into an argument inside the club, went to his car, grabbed his gun, and opened fire. Kulick and one other man were randomly shot before the gunman was tackled to the ground. Luckily, Kulick is expected to fully recover, saying “I’m very grateful for the immediate response of both the crowd and the doctors, and—obviously—the EMS crew.” While there are surely some possible lessons in paranoia here—like don’t go to Hollywood—the real question is how a kid with a propensity to get drunk and start shooting gets his hands on a 9mm handgun to begin with…

Meanwhile, former-Cream bassist Jack Bruce is recovering from a successful liver transplant—which took place on September 19 (almost exactly the release date of his latest solo album, More Jack Than God).
Diagnosed with liver cancer this summer, the new liver was initially rejected—causing infection and kidney failure—but he recovered shortly thereafter. In a statement, the Bruce family said: “After being very critical for a period in which we almost lost him, Jack is now making a successful recovery. The whole family is very relieved that Jack will be with us for many years, and obviously we are looking forward to more new songs, concerts, and records to come!”

Announced in October was the postponement of Ozzy Osbourne’s fall European tour. It turns out the medication he has been prescribed to help with Parkinson’s-like tremors has the side effect of dry mouth, rendering him unable to sing. His doctor made it clear that Osbourne does not have Parkinson’s specifically, but just described his condition as “a tremor.” The iconic artist—who is, of course, no stranger to the public eye—explained, “I felt as if this problem was practically destroying my life, along with my self-esteem. I was no longer comfortable being around people, which, as you can imagine, is not the best trait for a performer.” While there are no specific plans to reschedule, Osbourne hopes to make it back to Europe in the early part of 2004.

And, finally, not even the indie icons are immune. K Records founder/former Beat Happening member/all-around Olympia, Washington-celeb, Calvin Johnson was injured while on tour with his band, Dun Narcotic Soundsystem. The band was on it’s way to Fargo, North Dakota, when their van swerved to avoid colliding with a deer. Johnson and bassist Chris Sutton both required hospitalization, though both are expected to recover fully. Since medical costs tend to be exorbitant, and independent musicians tend to be relatively uninsured, a series of K Records benefit shows were being organized around the country as this went to press. Let’s hope the needed funds were raised!

And on that note, here’s wishing all these guys speedy recoveries and the ability to get back out playing soon.

—Emily Fasten

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