Crash 45 Was One of Denver's Strangest, Friendliest Bars

Tom Murphy
robot sculpture | Crash 45 | December 20, 2014
Crash 45 ended its three-year run on Saturday, December 20. It was a place you could see experimental music, bike clubs, "burners" and b-movies. Its very unassuming facade hid the array of metal art inside.

When you stepped inside on the final night, the staff cheered you in welcome and some good electronic music was being played by a DJ. It smelled of barbecue, and on the patio a large, metal orb with square-ish holes to let out the fire warmed visitors.

See also: Globeville Staple Crash 45 Is Closing This Week

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Remembering the Late, Great Donald Byrd

Categories: In Memoriam

Donald Byrd, from the House of Byrd album cover.
Yesterday brought upon us the birthday of the late, great, sir Donald Byrd. Mr. Byrd passed away on February 4th, 2013 at the age of 80. He is celebrated as one of the most influential jazz trumpeters to emerge from the bebop era, and his career spanned more than forty years.

See also: The Ten Best Jazz Drummers of All Time

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Hear Highlights From the Final Album by Willie Lewis, Colorado's Rockabilly King

Categories: In Memoriam

Willie Lewis was a wild musical legend, a collector of supernatural talent, a label head of uncompromising values and, by some estimations, the best rockabilly singer of his generation. The Colorado native died earlier this year, and at his funeral, friends were still at a loss for words to capture such a man. "That presence about him, like some hero out of the Old West," says fellow musician Johnny Barber. "He's one of a kind, man."

Jon Solomon tells the story of Lewis and his Rock-a-Billy Record Co. in this week's Backbeat feature. It's a great one -- give it a read if you missed it in the excitement of all that food and family last week. His estate has also given us permission to share with you Lewis's final album: Pulling Time with Willie Lewis, which came out earlier this year. Stream the whole thing below; you can buy it at Wax Trax here in Denver and find more information about the Rock-a-Billy catalog online.

See also: Willie Lewis Was Colorado's Wild, Brilliant King of Rockabilly

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RIP, KL Tha General: Friends and Fellow Artists Pay Tribute

Categories: In Memoriam

From KL Tha General's Facebook page.
Kevie Durham (aka KL Tha General) was making strides in Denver's hip-hop scene. This week, in fact, he was headed to Atlanta to work with some artists and industry people there. But that's a trip he'll never take: Durham's life was cut short Saturday night in a shooting outsideThe Beach nightclub.

"Even from the road far from Denver and the music scene, I heard and saw his hunger for music grow. I am proud and delighted to see artists from my home town making great music," says fellow rapper Pries. "I was even more proud to see someone I knew, KL, doing something positive. He will be missed, and his family will always be in my prayers."

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RIP Oderus Urungus: Gwar's five most entertaining videos

Categories: In Memoriam

Jon Gitchoff for the Riverfront Times. Full slideshow.
Dave Brockie, better known as Gwar frontman/front-alien Oderus Urungus, passed away this morning. He was just fifty years old. His death follows that of guitarist Cory Smoot, aka Flattus Maximus, in 2011, while the band was on tour. Having formed the band of terrifying alien creatures in 1984, Brockie had long been the only remaining founding member of Gwar.

In the midst of the sadness, it should be remembered that Gwar was/is one of the most relentlessly entertaining bands on the metal circuit, with endlessly elaborate stage shows consisting of fake blood, props, things getting chopped in half, and tireless sets of over-the-top thrash metal. The last time I saw Gwar, the lead singer of Every Time I Die was fed to a gigantic maggot during the encore. Gwar was definitely a good time.

Here are some of the most entertaining Gwar videos I could pull together on short notice, chronicling the band's time not only as a legitimately good metal act, but as entertainers and comedians as well.

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R.I.P., Pete Seeger

Categories: In Memoriam

Anthony Pepitone / wikimedia

Folk music fans woke up some very sad news this morning. Banjo player, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, folklorist and all-around activist Pete Seeger died late last night in New York from natural causes. He was 94. The loss is tough to quantify for fans of any folk, roots, blues and Americana music released the past seventy years.

See also: Pete Seeger, Pete Seeger: In His Own Words (the ten best books of 2012)

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Nelson Mandela inspired a rich musical legacy


Nelson Mandela was a pivotal agent for change who inspired a rich musical legacy of resistance. Biographer Richard Stengel describes Mandela, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95, as "the last pure hero." And while he was all that and more, the music the iconic historical figure inspired was pure protest music, particularly for those caught up in the struggle for South Africa's freedom but living here in America in the '80s. The music and the movement was pure in a way that just doesn't seem possible today.

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R.I.P., Lou Reed

Man Alive!/Wikimedia Commons

One of the largest looming and most influential icons in the history of rock and roll, Lou Reed died on Sunday at the age of 71. No word has been received regarding the cause of Reed's death, though the "Walk on the Wild Side" songwriter underwent a liver transplant last May that nearly cost him his life.

See also: The Velvet Underground and Nico turns 45 today

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R.I.P., Tanner Seebaum

Categories: In Memoriam


We've got some sad news to share with you this morning: Tanner Seebaum, the sixteen-year-old DJ we told you about last month who was battling brain cancer, passed away this past Friday, July 12. As you might remember, a number of Denver dubstep icons stepped up to support the young man, who was able to spend his last days happily spinning records, including a chance to deejay alongside Reid Speed and Downlink and guest-spot at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's Rehab pool party in Las Vegas during Electric Daisy Carnival.

See also:
- Dubstep icons help dreams come true for sixteen-year-old DJ battling cancer
- Whomp there it is! The story behind the ever popular, award-winning Whomp Truck
- DJ Ishe wants you to unplug from society

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R.I.P., Ray Manzarek: The Doors' keyboardist dies at 74

Categories: In Memoriam

R.I.P., Ray Manzarek (second from right)

Possibly the most famous and influential keyboardist in the history of rock, Doors co-founder Ray Manzarek, died yesterday at age 74 from complications due to bile-duct cancer. Known as the lanky professor crouched off to the left of Jim Morrison, Manzarek was an erudite multi-instrumentalist who delivered a complex and layered sound to an otherwise minimalist arrangement.

See also:
- The Doors' Robby Krieger on playing with the Roadhouse Rebels and his new album
- A new box set reveals Jim Morrison with his pants down
- Ian Astbury on being a devotee of the Doors -- not just a fan

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