It’s a sad week for the regional music scene with the passing of Upper Darby’s Jeff LaBar, best known as the guitarist for Cinderella, one of the most notable performers on the Philadelphia rock and roll scene amid the 80s. He was 58 years old.
The group, which also included vocalist/guitarist Tom Keifer, bassist Eric Brittingham and drummer Fred Coury, was notably discovered by Jon Bon Jovi at the long-closed Empire Rock Club and became an MTV staple with hits like ” Nobody’s Fool, “Shake Me” and “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Until It’s Over)” Pigeonhole as just another hair metal outfit in the Warrant and Poison-strewn musical landscape, Cinderella was actually a more blues-based rock band, largely because of the swagger of LaBar’s playing.
“Night Songs,” Cinderella’s 1986 triple-platinum debut album, exploded on radio and television, though the group was no stranger to the latter, having appeared in a 1983 commercial for Pat’s Chili Dogs, located on MacDade Boulevard. At the time, LaBar was still two years away from joining the roster.
Cinderella followed “Night Songs” with “Long Cold Winter” in 1988 and then “Heartbreak Station” in 1990. Unfortunately, they were caught up in the burgeoning grunge movement and never replicated the success of their first two efforts. . The band lay dormant for much of the early 90s, but rebounded as the decade progressed and the early years saw nostalgia set in.
In recent years, Keifer has embarked on a solo career while LaBar and Brittingham have teamed up in Naked Beggars. The singer remarked in a 2017 interview that Cinderella was, for all intents and purposes, over.
“There’s been a lot of trouble over the decades and a buildup that’s irreparable at this point,” he told All That Shreds. “So there will be no meeting.”
The previous year, LaBar had figured out that his alcoholism was the cause of the friction and subsequent split and that he had a long history of substance abuse, including cocaine and heroin. He added that Keifer wouldn’t even return his phone calls.
“I can only speculate, but I believe it’s all my fault,” LaBar said. “It’s no secret that I had a drinking problem. And he showed his ugly face (a Monsters of Rock Cruise Cinderella did in 2014). I guess that’s what caused a breakup.
The news of LaBar’s death was revealed by his son, Sebastian, who followed in his father’s footsteps and currently plays guitar for the post-grunge unit Tantric.
“So I just got the call…Jeff LaBar, my father, my hero, my idol, passed away today,” Sebastian wrote on social media. “I am currently at a loss for words. I love you pop!”
Like many musicians who rose to prominence in the ’80s, LaBar moved to Nashville and released a solo album, “One for the Road,” in 2014. Through it all, he remained a die-hard Philadelphia fan, a huge Eagles fan who never forgot his roots. Late Wednesday, his former bandmates expressed their condolences.
“Heavy hearts cannot begin to describe the feeling of losing our brother Jeff,” they said in a collective statement. “The bond that unites us over decades of creating music and touring the world is something we as a band uniquely share. Those memories with Jeff will live on in our hearts forever. It’s unimaginable that one of the brothers of our band has left us. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Debinique, his son Sébastien, his family and his friends. The memory and the music of Jeff will be with us forever.
All of us… the band, the family and the management appreciate the immense outpouring of love.
VINYL OF THE WEEK
Keep an eye on this place as each week we’ll be reviewing new or upcoming vinyl from a variety of artists. It can be a reprint of a historical recording, a special edition or a new collection of a legendary act. This week, it’s a Prince protege who deservedly gets a long overdue credit.
LE TIME: ‘LE TIME: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION’
It’s been four decades since The Time burst onto the Minneapolis music scene, releasing their self-titled record, which remains a funk landmark to this day. Lead singer Morris Day fused his talents with the creativity and vision of fellow singer Prince to create a new sound that fused soul, funk, dance, rock and roll and what became known as the “Minneapolis sound”. .
Originally released on July 29, 1981, the album was written, produced and arranged almost entirely by Prince under the pseudonym Jamie Starr. To celebrate the album’s 40th anniversary, Rhino released an extended edition created from the original analog tapes. It is available as a red and white 2LP set and features several alternate takes of the album’s six main tracks. The digital version was remastered under Day’s supervision.
“When I was a young teenager in Minneapolis, all I wanted to do was be in a band and play drums,” he said in a statement. “Never in a million years would I have imagined 40 years later that my band The Time would be considered funk royalty. For some, 40 years in this business is considered a lifetime. to begin. Stay tuned. Yep!!”
Known for their live performances, The Time introduced the world to Morris Day on vocals and as an energetic frontman. He quickly became a pop culture icon thanks to his stunning performances in the film “Purple Rain”, which also featured the touring band and the inventors of the New Jack Swing in Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jellybean Johnson, Jesse Johnson and Mont Moiré.
Minneapolis in the 80s ushered in a new era for funk and urban disco, and The Time was at the center of it all. The band remains current and influential and shows no sign of losing funk and energy 40 years later. Songs like “Cool,” “Get it Up,” and “Girl” landed in the Top 10 of the R&B charts, and their influence on that genre and the sound of pop music continues to be heard in the music of generations. artists and musicians who came after them.
‘The Time’ is available online and in stores from all respectable retailers that sell vinyl.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, email [email protected] Also check out his blog at www.thechroniclesofmc.com