Creative Loafing was saddened to learn that long-time Atlanta music fixture and one-time Eastside Lounge co-owner Johnny Ether (Johnny Laubach) has passed away.
Details regarding the cause of his death are still not available. A Lunar Magazine thread addresses some vague details concerning the accidental nature of his death, but there aren't any substantial details to report at this time.
A post from his close friend Joe Cruz states:
Johnny Ether Laubach. Joe Cruz here. I am johnny's friend and roommate. Thank you all for your well wishes. The Laubach family thanks you all. I have no word on a service yet. I know Johnny requested creamation. Sorry for the delay. We just got word that Johnny died from blunt force trama to the head, a freak accident. We will miss you dearly, Johnny Ether.
All I can say is that I will let you all know when and where the service will be held asap. There will be a gathering at the Albert in Inman park in his honor. Time and day TBD
Laubach was performing music in Atlanta during the city's so-called "Destroy All Music" era in the early to mid-'80s. He performed in the electro/industrial act PVC Precinct as well as several other like minded groups before he went by the name Johnny Ether. He later emerged onto Atlanta's drum and bass scene as a musician, DJ and promoter.
Local goth rockers the Changelings even wrote an ethereal number about him, titled "Johnny Ether's Great Escape."
More details will be posted on Crib Notes as soon as they become available.
In the meantime e-mails are pouring in offering insight and testimonials about Johnny Ether's passions as a musician and friend.
Bay area musician Josh Brown writes:
In the mid-90's Johnny approached me to collaborate with him mixing traditional Indian ragas on Sitar with his digital music... Johnny was a VERY astute student of Indian Classical music. I point this out because Indian Raga is EXTREMELY detailed and almost impossible to learn in the west. Johnny researched, went to performances, studied with my Guru-Ustad Rafi Akbar Zada and talked endlessly with me about this majestic music which he loved so much.
Through his understanding of this difficult music, he was able to really incorporate it into his music which set him above other music makers that used Sitar as a gimmick... I think his understanding and love of Raga really made him stand out...
(Photo courtesy of Johnny Ether's Myspace.)
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