Simeon Coxe, Electronic Music Pioneer Dies Aged 82

Musician, electronic music pioneer, inventor, and co-founding member of Silver Apples, Simeon Coxe has died at the age of 82, on 8 September at his home in Fairhope, Alabama.

The Guardian reports that Coxe had a progressive lung condition, pulmonary fibrosis. While he is most well known for his 1960s experimental electronic band, Silver Apples, he also worked as a news reporter and producer for WKRG TV in Mobile, Alabama, and even an ice cream truck driver after the group broke up.

Coxe founded Silver Apples with drummer Danny Taylor in the late 60s, releasing their debut eponymous album in 1968.

He was originally a member of the Overland Stage Electric band when he decided to incorporate the sound of a vintage oscillator into their music. He created an electronic rig that featured 6 oscillators, foot pedals, telegraph switches, wah-wah pedals and Echoplexes, that was dubbed the Simeon.

The change of musical direction caused all but Coxe and Taylor to leave the band, which they then renamed Silver Apples.

The band attracted many fans, and despite many hailing their sensibilities as a rejection of rock music, one of their most famous fans was Jimi Hendrix, who jammed with Coxe on The Star-Spangled Banner before Hendrix’s legendary Woodstock performance.

In a 2010 interview with Clash, Coxe recalled the collaboration with Hendrix: “Yeah the tapes would sometimes roll when we were playing together and some of that has survived. We found a two-track dub of Hendrix and me working on the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’.

“Danny had taken it home to try and figure out a way to put a drum part to it because the way Jimi and I played it was almost non-rhythmical.”

Silver Apples have been cited as an influence by bands such as Stereolab, Spiritualized, and Portishead. Geoff Barrow from Portishead described them as “the perfect band … they should definitely be up there with the pioneers of electronic music”

Silver Apples split up following a lawsuit from Pan Am Airlines over the cover art for their 1969 album Contact. The front cover showed the band in a Pan Am cockpit, but on the back, they were shot near the wreckage of a plane.

The lawsuit meant that the album was pulled from record stores, and their record label, Kapp Records folded, and the band went their separate ways.

After a stint as a news reporter in Alabama, he revived the band in 1996 with a new line-up and produced two new albums, before teaming up again with Danny Taylor for live shows and a new album, The Garden, which was released in 1998.

Coxe also suffered extensive injuries, including a broken neck in a car crash in 1998. When Silver Apples co-founder Taylor died in 2005, Coxe continued to sample his drumming to include in the band’s live performances.

The final Silver Apples album, Clinging to a Dream, was released in 2016.

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