Benjamin Bossi, saxophonist for S.F. new wave band Romeo Void, dies at 69

Benjamin Bossi, saxophonist for S.F. new wave band Romeo Void, dies at 69 - Похоронный портал
Benjamin Bossi’s sax solos for San Francisco new wave band Romeo Void were influenced by jazz and funk. Photo: Frank Zincavage

Aidin Vaziri 

Benjamin Bossi, the dynamic saxophonist for San Francisco new wave icons Romeo Void, died Tuesday, Dec. 13 in Marin County. He was 69.

The cause of death was complications from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, according to the band’s bassist and founding member Frank Zincavage.

The musician was diagnosed with the disease about three years ago.

“His incredible musicianship was a major factor in the band’s sound,” Zincavage told The Chronicle

Bossi’s powerful sax solos, influenced by jazz and funk, were the driving force on the band’s biggest singles, including 1982 hit “Never Say Never,” which was produced by the Cars’ Ric Ocasek, and 1984’s “A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing).” Both songs helped the band — which also included Native American artist-turned-singer Debora Iyall and guitarist Peter Woods — become a household name in the early days of MTV, alongside Duran Duran and Michael Jackson.

“Together we were the voice of Romeo Void,” Iyall told The Chronicle. “On any given night, he could transform a club and a performance. His playing would encompass everything in our lives and in the world. I’m feeling so grateful to have shared so much with such an effusive, musical life energy.”

Saxophonist Benjamin Bossi (left), vocalist Debora Iyall, bassist Frank Zincavage, guitarist Peter Woods and drummer Larry Carter of Romeo Void. Photo: Joel Selvin / Getty Images 1982 -  SF Chronicle Datebook : Benjamin Bossi, saxophonist for S.F. new wave band Romeo Void, dies at 69 | Datebook

Iyall and Zincavage formed Romeo Void on Valentine’s Day in 1979 after meeting at the San Francisco Art Institute. Bossi was recruited by the singer while working behind the counter at New York City Deli on Market Street. The band released its first single, “White Sweater,” on the seminal local indie label 415 Records — named for both the area code and the police code for disturbing the peace.

The band, which had four drummers fill in the role during its short run, released three albums, 1981’s “It’s a Condition,” 1982’s “Benefactor” and 1984’s “Instincts.”

But the band broke up in 1985, shortly after 415 Records signed a distribution deal with Columbia Records. The major label reportedly insisted Iyall lose weight. In a 2004 television reunion for VH1, the singer recalled, “They were like, ‘Who’s this fat chick?’ They decided that was as far as it was going to get and pulled their support.”

After the group split, Bossi played on a 1986 solo album by Iyall titled “Strange Language.” But she soon gave up music to pursue a career as a high school art teacher in Desert Hot Springs (Riverside County), and the saxophonist moved to New York City, where he played with a variety of acts.

“I kept in touch as we could through the years and I had one last visit with him Monday via FaceTime,” Iyall said. “I sang to him. From inside his disease, he responded as he could, and once again I felt a beautiful connection to him through the music.”

She said she serenaded him with standards such as “God Bless the Child,” “Sentimental Journey,” and “Someday Soon.”

Portrait of the band Romeo Void at the Park West in Chicago, Illinois, October 22, 1982. Left to right, Frank Zincavage, Peter Wood, Debora Iyall, Ben Bossi, and Larry Carter. 

“Losing him makes me treasure all the more all the creative collaborations I’ve had through the years,” Iyall said.

Bossi, who was born Sept. 7, 1953, in San Francisco, gave up playing the saxophone in the early 1990s after suffering from hearing loss, turning instead to playing a nylon-string acoustic guitar. He was unable to perform with the band during the live portion of its reunion on VH1’s “Bands Reunited,” watching the set from another room.

“A compassionate and loving person, he will be missed,” Zincavage said.

                                                                                     Datebook SF

Делясь ссылкой на статьи и новости Похоронного Портала в соц. сетях, вы помогаете другим узнать нечто новое.