It is with considerable sadness that we share the following news : CHAIN GANG’s Ricky Luanda passed away earlier this year from esophageal cancer. Chain Gang (in general) and Ricky (in particular) provided a window onto a side of NYC much of the city’s cultural gatekeepers would’ve sooner forgotten. Though their 1977 7″, “Son Of Sam” b/w “Gary Gilmore And The Island Of Dr. Moreau” has achieved mythic status in recent years (the A-side covered by JSBX, Ty Segall and Fucked Up amongst others), subsequent recordings, performances and films were that all too rare combo of the genuinely weird but always fully realized. Their discography is slim, but close to flawless. Bruce Springsteen recently argued that Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is shamed by their oversight of Suicide ; whether or not you agree with this statement, Chain Gang long ago earned their place in the Smithsonian, the Museum Of Natural History, and perhaps even Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.
We were very lucky to work with Ricky during the early days of Matador and we’re beyond lucky to have experienced his friendship and observed his artistry-in-action. NYC, nay, the world, is a poorer place without him. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and musical co-conspirators.