Former Roanoker Keith Carper, bass player for country music singer Hal Ketchum, died yesterday.
If you knew or heard Carper, post your thoughts and memories here. Meanwhile, I’ll try to gather more information.
UPDATE: Courtesy of Keith’s old friend, Larry Crocker, comes this information:
> Beloved and well-respected bass player and singer, Keith Carper passed away on Tuesday night, September 22, 2009 at his home in New Braunfels (Texas). He was only 50 years old. No further details are available at this time.
> FRIENDS OF KEITH CARPER – GRUENE HALL, SUNDAY 2 PM-ish. Friends of Keith Carper are gathering this Sunday, September 27, starting around 2 pm at Gruene Hall. It’ll be an informal gathering in celebration of Keith’s life. Please pass this on to anyone that knew and loved Keith. Anyone needing more information can email Tracie Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE 2: I just got off the phone with Rob Campbell, guitarist for The Worx and an old friend of Carper’s.
Here is what Campbell had to say when asked to describe him: “Big heart, easy-going. Even-keeled. Just a really nice guy, fun to hang out with. Good sense of humor.”
The two had known each other since Campbell was 13 and Carper was 12. They came up together in Cave Spring and for a short time played together in a band called Abalone Curry.
“When he was like 15 years old, he was playing Chris Squire, [of] Yes bass parts. He had a Rickenbacker bass, like Squire.
“He was into the bluegrass scene as well. He had an upright. He was just a prodigy from the get-go. Since his early teens, he was kicking butt on the bass. He was the best bass player I played with, bar none. I’ve played with some good bass players over the years … but he could do it all.
“It’s a great loss in the friend and music arena.”
UPDATE 3: Jennifer Sutton, of Roanoke, said she knew Carper back in the days when he played music with her ex-husband, Gary Kelly, and she remembers him as an “awesome” player, whether on a fretted bass, a fretless one or an upright.
She wrote in an e-mail on facebook.com: “I watched him finger pop so much during a jazz funk tune one night that he was slinging blood all over the place (literally popped a finger).”
Now, that’s dedication to the groove.