Concert Is Tribute to Jeff Ward
Author: Jim DeRogatis
The combination of drugs, indulgence and the hard-rock lifestyle has claimed a lot of casualties, and every year the list gets longer: John Bonham. Keith Moon. Sid Vicious. Johnny Thunders.
On March 19, Jeff Ward became the latest name on the list. He was 30 years old.
The Chicago drummer - a veteran of Ministry, the Revolting Cocks and Nine Inch Nails - committed suicide in his West Side home. Friends and family members say he was tormented by a drug problem he couldn't kick, and frustrated by the way he was treated by some of his musical employers.
Many in Chicago's heavy-metal/industrial-rock scene remember the practical joking "playboy drummer" and tonight, they'll remember him in the most appropriate way: through music.
Jason Ward, Jeff's bass-playing younger brother, organized the tribute at the Thirsty Whale, the metal club where the two made their musical debut as teens. A portion of the proceeds will go to settling Jeff Ward's estate.
Jason and Jeff grew up in a musical household. Their father was a drummer, and both marched with the Cavaliers drum and bugle corps. Jason moved to Phoenix several years ago and became a member of Flotsam and Jetsam, which is touring behind its latest MCA album, "Cuatro."
Jeff stayed in town and played on several successful records, including Ministry's "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste," the Revolting Cocks' "Beers, Steers + Queers," and Low Pop Suicide's first album. He performed in Lollapalooza '91 with Nine Inch Nails, and joined the local metal group Coven of Thieves last summer.
"There are people in the business who dissed Jeff," Coven singer Dan McGuinness said. "Jeff wasn't the kind of guy who would hold a grudge against people; he would still show up and play on a session if he was asked. But he'd say, `I can't believe I have to call and ask for royalties.'
"That was a big thing for him: that he would have to track people down just to get paid."
Adds Jason: "I think it's kind of indicative of the music business in general. It's the kind of business that can eat you alive. Obviously, it did it to him."
Jeff Ward struggled unsuccessfully to kick a hard drug habit, Jason said. "It's not like he's the first person in rock 'n' roll who's gone down that track," he said. "I think it's part of the business that's the most difficult part of it, the indulgence and trying to have self-control in the face of incredible temptation." Flotsam and Jetsam "
Jeff Ward Tribute"
The Thirsty Whale, 8800 W. Grand Ave., River Grove
Page Last Edited on 2005-08-22 20:30:47 UTC CST (8219)