Friday, July 22, 2011

“Eric Moore, Remembered”

c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

For this writer, music activist Eric Moore was like a comet.

He traveled quickly above the Rock & Roll horizon, offering illumination and hope. But too soon, he was gone.

I knew him because of my membership in the online Davie Allan fan forum. While discussing guitar techniques and recording history with that plectrum icon, Eric spoke about his own activities. He had created an ongoing petition to have the late axemaster Link Wray inducted into the Rock Hall.

It was an effort I supported in spirit, and in print:


Readers of this (column) will know about Eric Moore's ongoing petition to have Link Wray inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. But have you participated in this effort? If not, take another look at:

Here's what I posted in the comments section of Eric's site, after signing the petition:

"This is appropriate in every sense. Link Wray’s importance as an iconic figure of electric guitar history can’t be overstated. He has inspired so many. To ignore his contributions is an act of wanton negligence. Link should be honored in the Rock Hall, and everywhere."

This effort is worthwhile and noble. Join in the good fight, today!

In 2009, Eric would organize a Link Wray tribute concert at the Beachland Ballroom. It was an inspirational night, where we both were privileged to be in the company of Beth Wray Webb, Link’s daughter. I wrote enthusiastically about the event:

Native Visions Fill The Beachland Ballroom In Link Wray Tribute

CLEVELAND – It was a homecoming of sorts.

Fans rocked and remembered Link Wray on a recent Saturday night at The Beachland. It was appropriate because Alan Freed held his groundbreaking ‘Moondog Coronation Ball’ in this city by Lake Erie. And because the late performer had played this venue before, most recently in 2003.

But attendees experienced something more than simply a well-organized tribute to the late guitar shaman born in Dunn, North Carolina.

They felt the touch of an intangible force greater even than Rock ‘n’ Roll.
To be sure, musical energy echoed throughout the ballroom, as provided by a hero’s roster of performers. Included in the event were The Topcats, Wraygun, Link Wray's
Raymen, Chris Webb with Stuck In Gear, and Webb Wilder. Each delivered passionate testimony to the artistic worth of the world’s most iconoclastic axeman.

Yet many fans agreed that an unseen participant hovered over the stage - one who boasted the mesmerizing power of his Shawnee ancestors.

His photographs loomed large as a background. But Link’s spirit was also there.
The release of ‘Rumble’ in 1958 defined his legacy forever, as a pioneer without equal. By developing the use of unique tonalities and chord structure, he inspired generations of popular and unpopular musicians. Still, greater success and stardom went to those who followed his wandering path.

Link was content to live the life of a Native American scout, stealthily crossing uncharted artistic territory with swiftness and self-confidence.

Eric Moore, who organized the concert, expressed this conundrum in simple language. “He (was) Rock and Roll's greatest underdog.” An ongoing petition to have this influential guitarist inducted into the ‘Rock Hall’ has become his life’s work.

I also saw Eric at a ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’ concert during that year. The show featured Los Straitjackets and Southern Culture on the Skids. Entrepreneur and Surf Music promoter Unsteady Freddie was in attendance, which made the night even more special. Freddie had long been an active force in the Davie Allan fan community.

Eric’s shimmering arc across the sky seemed to bring light to everyone. So we could never have imagined that, in only a short while, he would be gone.

Strangely, our last encounter came over a subject totally unrelated to popular music.

While reading through his online posts, I discovered mention of a speaking engagement at the public library in Chardon. He explained that this appearance was on behalf of a group dedicated to growing flowers.

Shortly afterward, I wrote about this unexpected development:

The subject of popular music is a frequent topic for installments of this column.

In past issues, I have written about the efforts of area resident Eric Moore to have legendary guitarist Link Wray inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But a recent Internet encounter with this energetic fellow uncovered a different side of his personality.

On a fan forum dedicated to another plectrum icon, Davie Allan, Moore mentioned speaking at the public library in Chardon.

Since this online group included members from around the world, I was stunned at the mention of a locale so close to home.

I contacted Moore directly, and asked about his appearance. It seemed likely that he would have visited to discuss Rock music, or some facet of popular culture. But instead, he mentioned a club I’d never heard of before – the Western Reserve Daylily Society.

Unexpectedly, Eric passed away on June 11th of this year. He was 32 years old. Surviving him were his wife, Angela, and two children, Veronica and Isaac.

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