Five sad tales of musicians who went AWOL

Ashley features, Gallery, Music 1 Comment

up-manicOn February 17th 1995 police found Richey Edwards’ Vauxhall Cavalier abandoned at the Severn View service station. They reported that there was evidence that The Manic Street Preachers’ guitarist had been living in the car.

As for the car’s owner, well nothing has been heard from him since. There have been alleged sightings in Goa and Lanzarote, while there are those believe that he took his own life and jumped off the Severn Bridge. I guess we will never know.

Edwards, however, wasn’t the first rock star who decided that they had had enough of their old life and wanted to start anew. Various members of Fleetwood Mac disappeared in the late 60s and early 70s to be discovered in the cradle of slightly iffy religious groups.

There are others too and I have rounded up five stories of musicians who, for one reason or another, completely disappeared. Some, like Richey, are missing presumed dead, others are just keeping an incredibly low profile while working on that magical next album. Then there’s the tale of Rodriguez, a singer whose life was shrouded in mystery before a film was made retelling his amazing tale.

The other thing about all five is that each of them has created some wonderful music, which in four out of the five cases, deserves to be much better known.

Licorice McKechnie - the folk singer who disappered

Picture 2 of 5

Listening to their offbeat, sometimes discordant folk music now it is actually quite hard to imagine what a big deal The Incredible String band were in the mid 60s. Feted by Paul McCartney, loved by the San Francisco psych bands, a hit at Woodstock and the toast of folkies everywhere the band's two seminal albums The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter were both huge global sellers. As time went by the partners of the two key band members - Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, (namely Licorice McKechnie and Rose Simpson) - became an integral part of the band adding vocals and playing a variety of odd instruments. Gradually the band's influence waned and their records stopped selling. In 1972, her relationship with Robin Williamson at an end Licorice left the band and began to get involved with the Scientology religious group. For the next fifteen year she lived in California, occasionally playing on albums. Then in 1990 she suddenly completely disappeared. In a 1989 issue of Q magazine "a former String Band associate" reports she was behaving oddly and was "last seen setting out on a journey across the Arizona desert." There have been many reported sightings of Licorice since which have been cataloged on web forums. But no one is entirely sure if she is alive or dead. Robin Williamson apparently believes she is dead, though Wikipedia says that someone investigating her disappearance, described her as "alive.. and hiding in plain sight" in California."As far as I can tell, she doesn't really want to be found, so I'm not going to give away anything about her whereabouts on a public forum, but I'm pretty confident that I've located her. Unless I'm quite mistaken, she's still living in California, and quite content with her obscurity. Hopefully she will find her way here one day"