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Cover Story Feature Jack Dowd’s 27

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Jack Dowd’s 27

“Not a celebration, not a memorial, just a portrait.”

 

jack-dowd-27-spread

robert-johnsonRobert Johnson

Robert Johnson, an American blues singer was a ruthless, rootless, sly, street smart, womanizing, whiskey drinking hobo with a guitar and gifted ability to pick up and synthesize music he heard in juke joints, on records or radio. His music influenced later generations of musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, Roy Rogers, B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones and more.

brian-jonesBrian Jones

Brian Jones was the founding member of the “Rolling Stones” in the early 60’s…he was a talented multi instrumentalist…his innovative use of traditional folk instruments, such as sitar, marimba and harmonica was integral to the changing sound of the band. He was, soon after, overshadowed by Jagger and Richards, diminishing his once prominent role in the band, resulting in his overindulgence in alcohol and other drugs which, in turn, alienated him further from the group.

allan-wilsonAlan Wilson

Alan (Blind Owl) Wilson was lead singer, guitar and harmonica for the band “Canned Heat.” The group started out in the delta blues tradition but got caught up in the psychedelic 60’s and added a more contemporary spin to their boogie. They headlined both the Monterey pop and Woodstock festivals and their song “Going up the country” was the unofficial theme of the Woodstock phenomenon, and was used as the background song in the movie “Woodstock.”

jimi-hendrixJimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is considered the greatest guitarist in musical history. After initial success in Europe he achieved fame in the USA following his 1967 performance at the Monterey pop festival. He later headlined the 1969 Woodstock festival where his psychedelic rendition of the Star Spangled Banner would become part of the 60’s zeitgeist.

jim-morrisonJim Morrison

“I see myself as a huge fiery comet: a shooting star… everyone stops, points up and gasps “Oh look at that! …then whoosh, and I’m gone…and they won’t see anything like it ever again…and they wont be able to forget me, ever.” -Jim Lizard King Morrison

janis-joplinJanis Joplin

Janis (Pearl) Joplin, at the height of her career was known as the queen of rock n’ roll. She was the most staggering leading woman in rock. “She slinks like tar, scowls like war, clutching the knees of a final stanza, begging it not to leave.” -Vogue magazine

jean-michel-basquiatJean Michel Basquiat 

Jean Michel Basquiat was a graffiti artist and neo-impressionist painter in the late 1970’s. About the same time he formed the noise band called “Gray” and performed at many NYC night clubs. “He loathed the idea that visual art was appreciated only by an elite group…He was jealous of me because music is more accessible and it reached more people.” -Madonna

ron-mckernanRon Mckernan

Ron (Pig Pen) Mckernan was a founding member of the Grateful Dead. He grew up with many African American friends and felt strongly connected to black music and culture. During his music career in the 60’s and 70’s, while his friends were experimenting with LSD and other psychedelic’s, Mckernan stuck to thunderbird wine and southern comfort.

kurt-cobainKurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain’s band “Nirvana” entered into the mainstream of alternative rock and was considered the flagship band of Generation X. He was a singer, songwriter, and lead guitar but immersed himself in visual art projects as much as he did his music. He was married to Courtney Love of the band “Hole.” Courtney not only lost Kurt to an alleged suicide, but a few months later lost the bass player, drowned in a bath tub, in an apparent drug overdose. Many conspiracy theories still exist today.

amy-winehouseAmy Winehouse

Amy (Jade) Winehouse…”What she is, is mouthy, funny, sultry, and quite possibly crazy and it’s impossible not to be seduced by her originality.” -Time Magazine.

Amy’s beehive hairdo and Cleopatra makeup was inspired by The Ronettes…”Amy Winehouse is a perfect storm of sex kitten, raw talent, and poor impulse control.” -Newsweek Magazine

jack-dowd-studio

27 years is not a long life, hardly enough time to leave a mark that will not wash away faster than it was created. Time, as absolute as it seems, can still be as vague as any myth, omen, philosophy, religious doctrine, or history that has come within it. There seems a strange paradox that lives aren’t long enough to understand them and we ask are we writing these stories or are they writing us?

The end of their stories have only led to new questions. Was the common age of 27 coincidence or were they all just part of a rare breed that took just over a quarter of a century to fly too close to the sun? Their iconography will forever be romantically shrouded in the morbid secrecy of quiet lips.

They died creating music, art, and something so full of life and energy it would last years, decades, maybe even centuries. Their memory could go on forever. But we know nothing lasts forever and old age, comfort, and happiness was a lifetime apart from their desperate flicker of creativity.

Jack Dowd | (941) 350.5921 | jackdowd@aol.com | www.jackdowd.com

Copyright © 2012 REAL Magazine
Links to this article are encouraged

Artwork used under license from Jack Dowd
Artwork Copyright © 2012 Jack Dowd

Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi Photography
Photography Copyright © 2012 Giovanni Lunardi Photography

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One Response to “Cover Story Feature Jack Dowd’s 27”

  1. lew watters says:

    So great to see the finished art so well showcased at Vermont Institute of Contemporary Art right here in little ole Chester, VT. The exhibit is still up and I keep going there.

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