Cathal Coughlan, frontman with Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions, has died aged 61

Cathal Coughlan, frontman with acclaimed indie bands Fatima Mansions and Microdisney, has died, aged 61.

His family announced the news, saying he “slipped away peacefully in hospital after a long illness”.

The statement added: “It is with deep sadness that we have to inform you of the passing of Cathal Coughlan on 18th May 2022.

“Cathal Coughlan first came to prominence as the singer and songwriter, alongside Sean O’Hagan, of their band, Microdisney. Formed in 1980 in Cork, Ireland, the duo relocated to London, became a five-piece, and recorded five albums for Rough Trade Records, first, and then Virgin Records. The enduring appeal of their music was joyously evident when the band returned for two reunion concerts at Dublin’s National Concert Hall and the Barbican in London in 2018.

“After the end of Microdisney in 1988, Coughlan formed Fatima Mansions, an outfit that combined his love of abrasive near-industrial rock noise with a fondness of traditional folk music, and fiercely idiosyncratic lyrics full of striking imagery and mordant social and political comment.

“There followed a series of albums released under his own name which brought to the fore a more experimental approach to song writing, and several collaborative efforts, including work with the French composer François Ribac, and ‘North Sea Scrolls’, a concept album recorded with Luke Haines and Andrew Mueller.

“Cathal Coughlan’s most recent solo album, ‘Song of Co-Aklan’, was released in 2021 by Dimple Discs and contains contributions from many of the musicians he had worked with over the previous forty years, including Sean O’Hagan. Even more recent is the release of ‘a hAon’, the debut album from Telefis, the duo Coughlan had formed not long ago with the Irish producer, Jacknife Lee.

“Cathal leaves behind his wife, Julie. A memorial ceremony will be held amongst close friends and family in the near future.”

Among those paying tribute was musician Luke Haines, who had collaborated with Coughlan previously. “I have no words at the moment. Just sadness and anger really,” Haines tweeted.

Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess added: “His brilliant songs remain. Play them loud and remember him.”

You can see some of the many tributes to Coughlan here:

This is a developing story – more to follow 

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Dead body found following My Chemical Romance Milton Keynes show

A dead body has been found in a Milton Keynes car park being used for My Chemical Romance‘s nearby MK Stadium concerts.

According to MK Citizen, the body was discovered last night (May 21) at the Milton Keynes Bowl, which was being used as a ‘park and stride’ for three MCR concerts taking place across the weekend.

Police arrived at the scene around 8.30pm and witnesses said intensive searches were being carried out. Some concert-goers who had parked at the Bowl reported that they were prevented from moving their cars after the concert finished at 10.30pm.

Thames Valley police confirmed in a statement that the body found is a man’s, adding that the death is being treated as unexplained but non-suspicious.

A spokesperson told MK Citizen: “Thames Valley Police is investigating an unexplained, non-suspicious death in Milton Keynes. As such, it is not being treated as a crime.”

They added: “There is a scene watch in place while enquiries are being carried out. A file will be prepared for the coroner, but I can confirm it is the body of a man.”

My Chemical Romance Eden perform at Cornwall's Eden Project. Credit: Frances Beach for NME
My Chemical Romance. CREDIT: Frances Beach for NME

Police are yet to reveal how the body was found or whether the deceased’s next of kin have been informed.

My Chemical Romance kicked off their European tour on Monday night (May 16) at the Eden Project in Cornwall, marking their first UK show in 11 years.

After performing two shows at MK Stadium on Thursday (May 19) and Saturday (May 21), they will play their third and final gig at the venue this evening (May 22).

At last night’s show, Gerard Way paid tribute to MCR fans who have passed away over the last two years.

The frontman held aloft a flag with the names of deceased MCR followers at Stadium MK after a fan passed it on to him.

“So this is kind of crazy, this is our third show, we’ve played two shows and I think it was the first night where were fucking around having a good time and I was talking about how its been two and a half years and how does it feel and things like that” Way told the crowd.

“And it occurred to me later after the second show, that there was a bunch of people that were probably gonna be at these shows that aren’t here with us anymore. And I think it was yesterday, a friend of mine told me that there were some people on the internet that had gotten a list as best they could of names of people that were gonna come to the shows.”

The MCR frontman then lifted the flag up for the crowd to see the names of those that have passed away.

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Watch the late Nipsey Hussle create new Cannabis strain in posthumous documentary

The late Nipsey Hussle can be seen creating a new Cannabis strain as part of new documentary The Marathon (Cultivation).

The film followed the late rapper, who was shot outside his Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles in March 2019, as he launched his music career and opened his own dispensary, where he developed the ‘Marathon OG’ cannabis strain produced by The Cure Company.

The documentary recounts how he grew his empire alongside his music career and features contributions from the likes of Snoop Dogg.

Alongside the premiere of the documentary last Friday (May 20), yesterday (May 21) marked the grand opening of The Marathon (Collective) – a cannabis retail store in Los Angeles.

His brother Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom said of the opening in a statement: “This is something we always spoke about. Nipsey, Fatts, Adam, and I had a goal to get a legitimate licensed store and have our brand in other stores across the state. We’re so honoured to be able to fulfil the dream,” (via Rolling Stone).

You can check out the documentary here:

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Last year, it was reported that a date had been set for the trial of Eric Holder, the man accused of killing Nipsey Hussle.

As Rolling Stone reported last September, a Los Angeles County judge initially set Holder’s trial for January 5 this year after numerous delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the retirement of the previous judge in the trial, and the resignation of Holder’s prior lawyer – former O. J. Simpson attorney Christopher Darden – who was replaced by public defender Aaron Jansen.

It was then later moved again and now is expected to take place this June.

Holder has pleaded not guilty to the charges – one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of felony possession of a firearm.

Since his death, Hussle has appeared on numerous posthumous releases, including Big Sean‘s ‘Deep Reverence’, ‘What It Feels Like’ with Jay-Z and a remix of Maroon 5’s ‘Memories’ that also featured his ‘FDT’ collaborator YG.

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My Chemical Romance pay tribute to Power Trip’s Riley Gale at Milton Keynes show

At their Milton Keynes show last night (May 21), My Chemical Romance‘s Gerard Way paid tribute to late Power Trip frontman Riley Gale.

Gale, a giant of the US hardcore scene, passed away in August of 2020. His family then asked fans to donate to Dallas Hope Charities, a local organisation Riley was passionate about. The huge amount of donations led to the opening of a new transitional home for LGBTQ youth, which was named after Gale. The Riley Gale Memorial Library was also opened a month earlier, housed in the organisation’s Dallas Hope Center.

Last summer, a charitable foundation was then set up in Gale’s name. The Riley Gale Foundation will support LGBTQ+ organisations, animal rescues and mental health initiatives, and will be administered by Gale’s family, with all net proceeds raised by the foundation dispersed to those in need.

Speaking to fans at the Milton Keynes show, Gerard Way spoke of the hat he was wearing at the show, and how in production rehearsals for the tour, a friend of his said the hat reminded him of Gale.

“I was so inspired by that fucking dude,” Way then said of Gale. “They were gonna be one of the bands that were gonna open for us… or I was gonna ask at least. They could have said, ‘Fuck no’, which I would have been totally respectful of, but I have a feeling they might have said yes.”

Way added: “They were a great fucking band… rest in peace Riley motherfucker!”

On the band’s second night at Stadium MK (May 20), Way paid tribute to MCR fans who have passed away over the last two years since the band were originally set to play the venue.

The frontman held aloft a flag with the names of deceased MCR followers at Stadium MK after a fan passed it on to him.

“So this is kind of crazy, this is our third show, we’ve played two shows and I think it was the first night where were fucking around having a good time and I was talking about how its been two and a half years and how does it feel and things like that” Way told the crowd.

“And it occurred to me later after the second show, that there was a bunch of people that were probably gonna be at these shows that aren’t here with us anymore. And I think it was yesterday, a friend of mine told me that there were some people on the internet that had gotten a list as best they could of names of people that were gonna come to the shows.”

The MCR frontman then lifted the flag up for the crowd to see the names of those that have passed away.

My Chemical Romance Eden perform at Cornwall's Eden Project. Credit: Frances Beach for NME
My Chemical Romance Eden perform at Cornwall’s Eden Project. Credit: Frances Beach for NME

Across their reunion dates so far, the band have played a mix of hits, fan favourites and deep cuts, also performing two songs for the first time ever.

My Chemical Romance kicked off their run of live dates on Monday night (May 16) at the Eden Project in Cornwall, marking their first UK show in 11 years.

In a five-star review, NME said: “They’re now safely one of the biggest rock groups to emerge in the last 20 years but if the band are worried about their new found status, they don’t show it. Tonight’s show is fearless, loose and raw. It genuinely feels like anything could happen, as My Chemical Romance channel punk rebellion and playful ambition. ‘This has been special and amazing,’ says Way, taking the words right out of our mouths.”

Any remaining tickets for MCR’s MK gigs, as well as their other UK and Ireland dates this month, remain on sale here. You can see the band’s upcoming tour dates below.

MAY 2022
22 – Stadium MK, Milton Keynes
24 – Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin
25 – Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin
27 – Victoria Park, Warrington
28 – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
30 – OVO Hydro, Glasgow

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Ozzy Osbourne’s daughter Aimée narrowly escapes deadly studio fire

Ozzy Osbourne’s daughter Aimée Osbourne escaped a deadly fire yesterday (May 19) that claimed one life at a Hollywood recording studio complex.

Aimée, who makes electro-pop music under the alias ARO, and the producer she was working with made it out of the building located at 6600 W. Lexington Ave. alive, according to the singer’s mother Sharon Osbourne.

“They are the lucky two that made it out alive,” she wrote on Instagram about the tragedy. “It is utterly heartbreaking that someone lost their life today in this fire & we are sending our prayers to this person & their family.”

Two people who were evacuated from the building suffered from smoke inhalation but declined to be taken to a hospital, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department (via LA Times).

The blaze started on the first floor of the industrial building – which houses several recording studios – shortly before 6pm local time, before spreading to parts of the second. It took 78 firefighters and 51 minutes to extinguish the fire, according to the LAFD.

LA Fire Captain Erik Scott said the building’s layout and interior construction made for a challenging firefight; the recording studios had soundproofing, double drywall, and more than the usual amount of insulation, which concentrated the heat.

“What happened today was beyond horrific,” Sharon Osbourne’s post continued. “I really hope moving forward that buildings like this are better regulated for fire safety. This building was a creative hub for music in Hollywood, a space that should have been regulated for fire code.”

Rapper Maxxamillion told ABC7 that he lost his entire studio and $50,000 worth of equipment in the fire.

“I opened the door, I saw smoke coming from across the hall,” he told reporters. “I immediately reached over to grab a jug of water. I threw it at the door, flames bursted. I tried to go back to my room and grab anything I could, but flames were everywhere, and we ran out the building, and that was it.”

The unnamed man who lost his life in the fire was found dead on the first floor by trained LAFD dogs who were sent in to sweep the building. The Fire Department’s arson investigators are looking into the fire to determine the cause.

ARO’s most recent track was last month’s ‘Against Mine’, which she penned before the coronavirus pandemic.

“I really tried to capture the element of frustration that comes with not feeling like you can actually express how you really feel about someone,” she said of the single. “And then if you do, how they pull away, even though they might feel the same way. The ebbing and flow of that were fascinating to me.”

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