I’m a couple of weeks late on this one, but Jack Lee, front man and driving force behind The Nerves, has hopped the twig. Fucking cancer.
Lee grew up in Alaska but left home at 15, eventually hitchhiking to San Francisco a few years later. According to Pitchfork …
[Lee] busked in the high-traffic Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, where he met fellow street musician Peter Case. The Nerves were born in 1974 with Lee on vocals and guitar, Case on bass, and additional recruit Paul Collins on drums. The trio played sharp and scrappy rock’n’roll with Beatlemania melodies. Their frenetic style signaled the ensuing punk movement, but chafed with the fading flower-power of early ’70s San Francisco.
Of course, Jack Lee is probably best known for “Hanging on the Telephone,” his song made famous when Blondie covered it on 1978’s Parallel Lines.
Lee, who heard about Harry’s interest from his friend, the Gun Club singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce, recalled that fateful day in a 2007 interview with Mojo. “I remember the day vividly,” he said. “It was a Friday. They were going to cut off our electricity at six o’clock, the phone too.” He added that the song was so catchy, few could resist if. “Even people who hated me—and there were plenty—had to admit it was great,” he said.
To honor Lee’s passing, Paul Collins just released another Nerves video on YouTube.