Wednesday, January 16, 2008

As you lived, Ike...

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's office released the news late this afternoon that Ike Turner died of a cocaine overdose. Hardly surprising, I guess, considering the vile lengths to which he went to keep himself in supply during his youth, but I think I covered that fully in the eulogy I wrote for him a few weeks ago. It was a well known fact that he was struggling with pulmonary emphysema (which the nose candy probably actually helped relieve), but he apparently was suffering from hypertensive cardiovascular disease as well. It doesn't take a medical professional to tell you that piling speed on top of something like that is like lighting the fuse of an M-80.

I discussed before the struggle in myself to reconcile the music geek in me who thought the man a genius and the (barely) functioning member of normal society in me that finds his actions with regards to his wife Tina, his other female back up singers, and various others utterly reprehensible. At what point can one say the ends justify the means? And, more to the point, did he really need to be such a sociopathic, selfish son of a bitch in order to make the unbelievably powerful music he created? Somehow, I think not. "Rocket 88" came from some deep part of the human soul, but it wasn't an evil part.
In the end I guess I have to be satisfied with the fact that Ike died as he lived. It seems somehow unfair that he went out flying high on the same shit that led him to cause so much misery. If life isn't fair, rock 'n' roll sure as shit isn't.

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