Jeffrey Ladd passed away some days ago. He was a member of Black 47 back in the chaotic first year of the band. Officially, I suppose he sang back up vocals but oftentimes he would double my voice. I met him in 1979 through our drummer, Thomas Hamlin and our associate member, guitarist Mike Fazio. He was part of the Queens connection when the Major Thinkers were blasting through the CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City scene.
He became “roadie” for the Copernicus “orchestra” and I have a memory of him at a performance in the old Tier 3 in Tribeca getting his foot broken during a particularly fractious and rowdy gig. That was Jeffrey, always in the thick of things, ensuring that there be at least some infinitesimal control on the chaos. He later became a vocalist/keyboardist with Copernicus.
I have another memory of him with Black 47 in Sunnyside when a fight broke out in a very narrow and hostile bar. We had just finished a set, so I moved backwards to avoid the fray. Not Jeffrey – he stood before the equipment, impressively making sure the fisticuffs did not spill over to the stage. It was only later I found out that he was an ice-hockey goalkeeper.
He was lead vocalist in a number of bands including The Baby Flies and Life With The Lions. A fine singer in the Ian Curtis/Peter Murphy mould, he was one of those creative, sensitive people for whom the brutality of the business end of rock music often proves too much. They enter it with a sense of idealism that often turns to disillusion. Jeff Ladd, though, never lost his sense of humor.
A beautiful person – never less than kind and caring – he was particularly loved by women as he always took the time to listen and identify with individual pain. He certainly knew enough about the subject. He’d had some hard times of late but had pulled his world together; then life played its cruelest joke.
He was a comrade and a friend, someone you could always turn to. He will be deeply missed by the Black 47 family and by the many who loved him for himself and his undoubted talent.