Ignored Obscured Restored
A few weeks ago, I was ushering at the Guild in Menlo Park and was having a very nice conversation about music with one of our guests. Through our conversation, I learned that his son, Alex Jordan, was sitting in on keys and vocals with the warm-up group, Santa Cruz’s Wolf Jett. The dad, Jay Jordan, was the music teacher at Junipero Serra High School, in San Mateo, CA, for over forty years. Serra’s most famous alumnus is quarterback Tom Brady.
Jay told me he knew Brady back in the day but was very proud of another Serra alumnus that he worked with as the music teacher. He asked if I was familiar with the work of Kevin Gilbert. (I wasn’t.) He told me Gilbert had an interesting backstory that I should look into. I did, and Jay was right – Gilbert has a very colorful and interesting backstory. Here’s the thumbnail (courtesy of Wikipedia):
- Gilbert was an accomplished composer, singer, producer, and instrumentalist who played keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, cello, and drums.
- Released the eponymous No Reasons Given album with Jason Hubbard in 1984.
- Toured with Eddie Money.
- Placed 2nd in the 1988 Yamaha International Rock Music Competition with his progressive rock group Giraffe.
- Worked on the projects of several established pop musicians, including Madonna (I’m Breathless), Michael Jackson, and Keith Emerson.
- Released one album with his next group, the eclectic Toy Matinee.
- Was part of the LA songwriting collective “The Tuesday Music Club”.
- Introduced his then-girlfriend, Sheryl Crow, to The Tuesday Music Club which became the title of her debut album.
- Released his first solo album Thud in 1995.
- Reformed Giraffe to perform the Genesis double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway at Progfest ’94, reflecting his fondness for progressive rock and early Genesis in particular.
- Died in 1996 of autoerotic asphyxiation.
This is exactly the type of story I wanted to share when I started the SotW almost 15 years ago!
Today’s SotW is “Turn it on Salvador” by Toy Matinee.
It was dedicated to Salvador Dali and features backing vocals by Julian Lennon. I like the arrangement that is mostly typical power pop but incorporates New Orleans jazz elements at the end using Sal’s Clarinet Trio.
Gilbert was an unhappy person. He was never able to gain the fame and recognition that his talent deserved. That frustrated him, as did the superstar status of Crow whose career he played a significant role in launching.
As for his early death at age 29, look it up yourself. I prefer not to go into the salacious details here.
Enjoy… until next week.