photo by Scott Beale
Last week I found out that our good friend Tom Morgan and his girlfriend Rebecca passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. I first met Tom back in 1996 at Chicken John’s weekly Church of the Bleeding Ulcer events at the now defunct Commotion space in San Francisco. Back then most of us had email accounts and were on the Burning Man email list. Tom did not have email at the time, so I gave him the nickname “Analog Tom”, which seem to stick with him, even after he finally got online.
Tom was a great guy, full of passion and he really knew his music, especially psychedelic rock. In fact it was Tom who turned me on to the German group Can and New York’s Silver Apples, both amazing and somewhat obsure, late 60’s psychedelic bands.
Tom was a talented musician in his own right, with his bands Sexpot and later on Transcender. Transcender’s “self-titled debut album” is still available through CD Baby, so you may want to pickup a copy as a reminder of Tom’s contribution to the music world. Here are some photos I shot of a Sexpot show from August 5th, 2000.
Tom, thank you so much for writing the Alonso Smith tribute song. One day, someone should write a song about you, maybe something like “Strawberry Tom Forever” (Tom played the unforgetable role of a giant, dancing strawberry in the fruit and vegetable ballet at Burning Man’s 1997 Mysteria event at SomArts).
Rock on Tom! We’re going to miss you.
UPDATE 1: After a thorough investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Tom and Rebecca death was determined to be accidental, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. A couple of articles confirming this information were published on June 1st, 2005 by the Lake County Record-Bee and Clear Lake Observer. For more info on carbon monoxide safety, check out this PG&E article. (Thanks for the update, CB.)
UPDATE 2: “Instrument of Change”, Tom Morgan’s last album, is now online.
Instrument of Change was recorded February 18-21, 2005 in Clear Lake, California. Tom, Eugene and Bill spent a rainy weekend in Tomâ€™s living room improvising and working with some of Tom’s latest song ideas. By the fourth day, the tape had captured three hours of music. After Bill and Eugene went back to San Francisco, Tom started mixing, with the idea that some tracks were worth sharing.
A few weeks later a malfunctioning heater took Tom and his girlfriend Rebecca from this world leaving friends, family and the arts community stunned. Eventually Bill and Eugene continued with the mixing and distilled the entire three hours into this 35 minute CD. Instrument of Change serves as a sonic memorial to the supremely talented Tom Morgan and his music, both of which are sadly missed.
Tom Morgan: Guitar, Keyboard, Vocal
Eugene Chen: Casio, Farfisa, Guitar, Vocal *
Bill Miller: Drums *