Rumble of the Dead

Starwood and Brushwood alumni, and many others in the Northeast Ohio area and the SubGenius community, were saddened on October 16, 2007 when, after suffering a stroke complicated with pneumonia, and fighting a recurrent battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, our great friend Chas Smith was taken from us. Chas (AKA Charles Vincent Smith) was the lead man in Einstein's Secret Orchestra and an architect of Tranquility Base and the Rumble in the Jungle. He was an author, musician, radio personality, a Cleveland State University music professor, and a member of the Chameleon Club, the family that brings you the Starwood Festival and the WinterStar Symposium.

Chas wrote three books on American Roots Music, which he taught for over 20 years and taught basic music composition to grade school kids through a program with the Cleveland Opera, and taught at every Starwood and WinterStar since he joined ACE. He sang and played keyboards, bass guitar, and theremin for over 30 years with groups including The Clocks, The Pagans, Venus Envy, ESO, The Fullbrights, Caelyn and Cobra Verde. ESO was voted Best Electronic/Instrumental Band at the Cleveland Free Times Music Awards in 2001, and graced our stage many times, including an unforgettable collaboration with Egyptian composer and fellow Chameleon Halim El-Dabh. He was also a frequent back-up band for Church of the SubGenius Rev. Ivan Stang both on stage, CD and video, and they shared air on Ivan's radio show The Hour of Slack and Chas' Swamp Radio.

On Friday November 23rd, 2007 a tribute event called Chasfest: The Rumble in the Urban Jungle was held at the Beachland Ballroom in his honor. All proceeds went to his family to help defray medical bills. After a drum circle featuring many ACE members and Halim El-Dabh, members of every band he had been in took the stage, along with Brushfire Island's Ron Slabe and video projections provided by Ivan Stang, and played both separately and together in his memory. This year we dedicate the Rumble of the Dead party to our dear friend, featuring a reunion of Einstein's Secret Orchestra.

















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