As we continue our journey though the history of Rock and Roll we come to the letter "I." You know, there are not a lot of famous groups or artists whose name begins with the letter "I." Don't you worry, the internet is a wonderful research tool and it has not failed us this morning.
Let me call to your attention Mr. Chris Isaak. Chris was born in Stockton, CA, on June 26, 1956. His mother Dorothy worked in a potato chip factory. His dad, Joseph drove a forklift. Chris graduated from high school in 1974. He was the student body president and class valedictorian. He was also captain of an all-male cheering squad. He graduated from the College of the Pacific in 1981 with a degree in Communication.
Chris was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1984. He contributed songs and music to movies, most notably Blue Velvet, a cult classic, and Wild at Heart. Both movies were directed by David Lynch.
Chris' most famous record is Wicked Games which was released in 1989. Chris displayed his high vocal range on this song. Through the years Chris has continued to play music but he also branched out into acting. He had bit parts in several movies and television shows. He even had his own talk show for a couple of years.
Chris Isaak isn't the brightest star in the Rock and Roll galaxy but his voice is solid as is his talents.
Next on our Rock and Roll "I" Chart is the band Iron Butterfly. This group pioneered what was known as Psychedelic Rock which became known as heavy metal in later years. The band formed around 1966 in San Diego, CA.
In 1968 they had their greatest commercial success with their album In A Gadda Da Vida. I have read somewhere (I forget exactly where) that the title of the album is really "In the Garden of Eden." However, the lead singers vocalization made it sound like In A Gadda Da Vida and the name stuck. This album was the first ever to be awarded a platinum album. It sold over thirty million copies.
Iron Butterfly went through many personnel changes. In 1974 their bass guitar player, Philip Taylor Kramer, joined the band. Taylor was the subject of much controversy and speculation after he left the band.
Taylor obtained a degree in Aerospace Engineering and performed work on the MX rocket guidance system for a Department of Defense contractor. He also made contributions to the computer industry. He worked on fractal compression which allows movies to be compressed to fit on a DVD and facial recognition systems. Kramer reportedly made a mathematical breakthrough that would make "faster than light communication" possible.
In 1995 Kramer mysteriously disappeared. It was speculated by some that he had been kidnapped by our government, a foreign government or more outlandishly by extra terrestrial aliens. At the time of his disappearance he went to LAX to pick up a colleague. He never met the colleague and made a flurry of calls to several people. The most bizarre call being to "911" where the recorded message was "I'm going to kill myself."
Theories of Kramer's disappearance continued until 1999 when Kramer's skeletal remains were found inside his Ford Aerostar van at the bottom of Decker Canyon, near Malibu, CA. The cause of death is presumed to be suicide. Because of his classified work for the DoD and his math breakthrough some conspiracy theories still persist.