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Simeon Coxe Of Silver Apples Has Died
John Doran , September 9th, 2020 07:10

The electronic music pioneer was 82

Sad news has reached us that Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples has died, aged 82.

As reported by AL Obits: "Simeon Oliver Coxe, III, born June 4, 1938, passed away September 8, 2020, in Fairhope, AL. Born in Knoxville, TN, Simeon grew up in New Orleans from the age of seven. He was an artist and a news reporter-producer for WKRG, TV, Mobile, AL in the 1970s, as well as other out of state TV stations in the '70s and '80s."

In the late '60s, Coxe became an electronic musician, playing, what he once described to tQ as an "ex-military" oscillator for the Overland Stage Electric Band, but his futuristic vision for new music alienated most of the group, leading to a mass exodus. Simeon and the sole remaining member, drummer Danny Taylor, formed Silver Apples in 1967.

The line-up of drums and home made synthesiser, constructed from (as described in the liner notes of their debut album) "nine audio oscillators piled on top of each other and eighty-six manual controls to control lead, rhythm and bass pulses with hands, feet and elbows" – with Simenon also on vocals – was revolutionary.

The sound created across their first two albums – Silver Apples (1968) and Contact (1969) – remains influential to this day but Silver Apples was initially a short-lived project. After a brief tour to promote Contact, the band was sued out of existence by Pan Am with the airline taking exception to the record's cover. It depicted the duo piloting a plane on the front (with the airline's logo present) and sat among the wreckage of a plane crash on the back. "Somebody at Pan Am took offence even though it was all signed off," Coxe told The Guardian last year, adding: "They said, 'This isn't free publicity, it's damaging'." A third album was shelved and they split.

A reformation with a new line-up followed in 1996 leading to new shows. (Taylor was later tracked down and rejoined for a string of dates.) This reunion led to the final completion and release of their third album, The Garden. Simeon ended up with a broken neck after a serious tourbus crash in 1998, but he recovered sufficiently to start playing again.

In 2007, he revived the Silver Apples name once more as a solo vehicle and began touring again. He played in the UK on numerous occasions and released another Silver Apples album in 2016, Clinging To A Dream.

Simeon Coxe photo courtesy of Maria Jefferis/Shot2Bits