Michael Kennedy, a respected member of the local music scene, died of an apparent overdose of the muscle relaxant Soma on October 1. He was 37 years old. As primary songwriter for the critically acclaimed Broward-based band Rooster Head, vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Kennedy penned many of the often humorous songs that showed up on the group's albums Traditional Cock and Barnyard Delights.
"He was a good man. I considered him a friend," says Adam Matza, promotions director at the Fort Lauderdale music club Squeeze, where several area bands and solo artists will pay tribute to Kennedy on Wednesday, November 1. "He was also a very tortured soul who never let himself fit in, although he did." Matza points out that Kennedy had been abusing prescription pills for several years. "He had a problem that he was only open about to a few people."
Along with guitarist Bob Wlos, Kennedy had been at the core of Rooster Head since the band's inception in 1990; they recorded four full-length albums, as well as a handful of singles and EPs.
"He was a very talented, sparse guitarist, and, like Dylan or Springsteen, his vocals were right for his music," notes Matza. "And he had such a touch for melody. It's definitely a loss."
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Diane Ward, Jim Wurster, Kathy Fleischmann, Johnny Tonite, and the remaining members of Rooster Head are among the acts performing at the tribute. The evening will also feature a spoken-word performance by Matza and a reunion of Kennedy's first band, Spanish Dogs. According to Matza, it was Kennedy who first came up with the idea of Squeeze's occasional "tributes" to rock icons (Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix). "He was in the hospital three times during the last month of his life, and the funeral was very expensive, so I thought, What would be more appropriate?" explains Matza. "We deferred to his friends on what bands should play so that it would have some nice closure for them."
The event begins at 9:00 p.m. Admission to this eighteen-and-over show is five dollars, with proceeds benefiting the Kennedy family. For more information, call 522-2151. (Georgina Cardenas)
. . . And You Miss It
Issue number ten of Miami-based national fanzine Blink just out. It includes bands-chat-about-themselves sessions with the Fleshtones, Bazooka, and Papas Fritas (marshmallow questions presumably lobbed by Blink staffers), a passel of numbing this-sucks/this-rules thumbnail reviews of CDs and seven-inches, and a self-serious history of the 'zine itself by editor Fia, plus poetry, fiction, and art. Nice graphics, though. If you need a copy, write to P.O. Box 823, Miami,