Friday, 4 June 2010

RIP Paul Gray (1972 - 2010) & Dennis Hopper (1936 - 2010)

It’s a terrible shame that so many public figures are dying. Having only recently lost Peter Steele and Ronnie James Dio it has emerged that Slipknot bass player Paul Gray has died from causes unknown. In addition to this the legendary actor Dennis Hopper has also passed away after a long illness with prostate cancer.

Love them or loathe them there’s no denying that Slipknot’s brand of accessible Extreme Metal has opened up a lot of worlds for many teens since their debut album in 1999. With a mix of Nu-metal, Death Metal, Grunge and Hip Hop the band’s sound is certainly eclectic. The skill involved in playing in a band such as that is without question. And as the band’s bass player Paul Gray was in the middle of that sonic maelstrom.
Many traditional Metalheads may pooh-pooh the news of Gray’s passing but to a generation of kids who first discovered Slipknot in 1999 and were in turn compelled to check out this newly opened up world of Extreme Metal, the news will be met with great sadness.

It was well documented that Paul had problems in the past with drugs, getting into trouble with the police after being pulled over with cannabis, cocaine and assorted paraphernalia in his car. But that shouldn’t detract from the music he helped to create.

RIP Paul Gray

What can you say about Dennis Hopper? The actor, director and artist’s work was prolific. From his early film roles alongside James Dean, to the seminal counter-culture classic Easy Rider, and into his well earned reputation as one of the statesmen of Hollywood Hopper thrilled his audience. Even in his so-called “outcast years” Hopper exuded a cool credibility. Most will know him though for his major film roles such as Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and Rumble Fish - However Hopper had an incredibly well developed artistic side. Working in poetry, paint and photography he could turn his hand to many different styles in these mediums. Like so many geniuses though, his personal life was troubled - his relationship problems and drug use being well known.

Dennis Hopper was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in October 2009 after being admitted to hospital the previous month. Reports soon followed that it was terminal. Hopper’s Hollywood walk of fame ceremony in March this year was overshadowed by the frail frame of the legendary actor and he later died on the 29th of May.

Hopper was buried yesterday at Jesus Nazareno Cemetery, Ranchos de Taos.

RIP Dennis Hopper


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