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By Rhys Lett

Musical Genius M.I.A.

Here are some musicians that have walked away from the public stage. They have all created great music moments. Some were crushed by the nature of the business. Others simply got lost in time. Here are some musical genius that we would like to see take to the stage again.

Emitt Rhodes – Genius

With the Beatles breaking up in 1970 the music world was in search of new leaders. Emitt Rhodes was marketed as an all in one Beatles. He played all instruments on his albums. He wrote in a pop style reminiscent of Paul McCartney. His genius and brilliant music did not translate to big record sales as expected. His contract also demanded the release of two albums a year. This was too much for someone that would write, perform and record all the material from his home studio. Just the ability to record in this way was unheard of in the early 70s. He made four solos albums in the early 70s and disappeared from the music scene.

Emitt has re-emerged in recent years. He has recorded a new album, his first since 1973. The release is being funded by a Pledge Music campaign. Enjoy one of the classic tunes from his solo debut below.

Andy Sturmer – Jellyfish

Andy Sturmer was the ultra talented singer/drummer/songwriter for early 90s rock act Jellyfish. Jellyfish released two albums at the start of the 90s. Both albums are unmatched pop rock perfection. Critical acclaim did not match sales. They were a casualty of an era where grunge ruled. This contrasted their Beach Boys and Queen influenced songs. Andy Sturmer was a unique drummer in concert. He stood at the front of the stage with his drum kit surrounding him. He now concentrates on composing for TV and film soundtracks. He has written songs and produced for J Pop acts such as Puffy Amy Yumi.

It would be a dream to see him live on stage once again performing the Jellyfish catalogue. His voice and musical genius is missed.

Vito Bratta – White Lion

Vito Bratta was the guitarst in 80s hair metal band White Lion. Vito was the cleanest shred guitarist in the 80s scene. His technique sounded and looked effortless. White Lion had moderate success. They were known for their power ballads more than their rock tunes. Vito walked away from the music industry avert White Lion finished in the early 90s. He also has reportedly suffered a wrist injury. This has kept this musical genius from returning to the public stage.

Check out this live clip to see his flawless technical skills in action.

Vinnie Vincent – Kiss/Invasion

Vinnie started the 80s as a possible saviour of hard rock. He could write amazing songs, had a great voice and could play blinding fast guitar. His musical genius lead to two great albums with KISS before his out of control behaviour and reluctancy to sign a contract with the band lead to his departure. Vinnie Vincent Invasion released two albums before once again his inability to get along with band members and business partners lead to the implosion of the band. Remaining members of Invasion went onto form Slaughter. Vinnie wrote songs once again with KISS before again poisoning this relationship.

Vinnie burned down too many bridges with band members and industry. His destructive personality left him without a band, collaborators or business backers. Bankruptcy, family and legal issues have kept him out of public life since the early 90s. He occasionally teases at a releasing music that has so far lead to nothing.

Chris DeGarmo – Queensryche

Chris was the guitarist and main musical creator for 80s metal band Queensryche. They created musically challenging rock metal in a period dominated by preening posers. Queensryche’s crowning achievement was their 1988 concept album Operation:Mindcrime. DeGarmo is noted as being solely responsible for penning Queensryche’s most successful single “Silent Lucidity”. As band relationships fractured, DeGarmo chose the family life over his musical endeavours. The band has now splintered in two with lead singer Geoff Tate performing under the band name Operation Mindcrime. Remaining band members won the rights to the Queensryche name and still put out great new music.

Chris DeGarmo now makes a living as a charter pilot. Check out this great tune from his era in Queensryche.

Paul Geary – Extreme

Paul Geary was the drummer for 90s rock act Extreme. His tale is not as unhappy as some of the musicians so far mentioned in this article. He moved his genuis from the performing life into band management. He has had great success in this field. He now manages the reformed Extreme. Best known for their acoustic ballad “More Than Words”. Extreme played rock with a heavy dose of funk with Geary’s rock solid drums a key part of the band sound.

His playing is certainly missed. Paul has occasionally performed songs with Extreme since his departure. Check out this clip from his time in the band.

Rodriguez – Lost Folk Genius

70s folk singer Rodriguez was presumed dead by many. He released two albums with minimal sales. His did find enough popularity in Australia to tour here at various times. His popularity in South Africa was legendary throughout the turbulent times of the Apartheid political policy. This popularity made him the subject of academy award wining documentary Search for Sugarman. Documentary makers discovered he was still alive and a musical genius was reborn. Rodriguez now tours to international acclaim at age 70.


Jake E. Lee

Jake E. Lee was the guitarist to replaced the deceased Randy Rhodes in the Ozzy Osbourne solo band. He guitar genuis would blend jazz chord sounds into amazing metal guitar riffs. His genius can be heard on the Ozzy albums Bark at the Moon and The Ultimate Sin. His poor contract with the Osbourne camp lead to his departure.

Following this he was the main focus of critically acclaimed band Badlands. Like many artists of this era, his style did not translate to the new decade and was out of the industry from the mid 90s for many years.

Jake has returned to the stage in the last couple of years with his act Red Dragon Cartel. This act has had a rocky existence with many band members coming and going.

Ozzy Osbourne still plays the classic Bark at the Moon written by Jake in every live show to this day. Listen to it here.

Billy Squier – Video Killed the Music Genius

Billy Squire had carved out a great solo career in the early 80s. His momentum was stopped dead by a tragic video for the song “Rock Me Tonite”. This awesome song was unfortunately forever associated with his pink singlet prancing in the bizarre video. View the disturbing video below!

When told by an executive at his record label in 1994 that his new album was great but will be buried by the label he effectively decide to end his music career. Where Billy has beaten the system is that on exiting the record label he gained ownership of his recordings. Hip Hop artists have sampled from many of Billy’s songs. This has generated a great living for this forgotten 80s star. As he can live comfortably from owning all his publishing Billy rarely performs live. The guy still can play and sing at a great level. This live take on Rock Me Tonite from 2009 certainly shows this.