Simeon Coxe, one of the founding members of psychedelic synth group Silver Apples, has passed away at the age of 82.
The musician’s death was confirmed by one of Silver Apples’ managers to Billboard. Coxe “had been battling with a progressive lung condition, pulmonary fibrosis, which made it difficult for him to breath without oxygen,” read their statement.
Coxe was born in 1938 in East Tennessee, and was raised in New Orleans. He formed Silver Apples in 1967 with drummer Dan Taylor, who had been his bandmate in The Overland Stage Electric Band. The group disintegrated after their guitarists, infuriated by Coxe’s sudden improvisation with Taylor on an oscillator, quit.
Coxe and Silver Apples became well known in the New York underground, especially for Coxe’s self-made synthesizer that consisted “of 12 oscillators and an assortment of sound filters, telegraph keys, radio parts, lab gear and a variety of secondhand electronic junk,” the band’s official bio notes. They put out their self-titled debut in 1968, following it up with Contact the next year. Silver Apples recorded a third album, but their label folded and it was shelved.
The German label TRC revived interest in Silver Apples in 1994 when it reissued their first two albums—without the proper license. Coxe rebooted the band in 1996 with keyboardist Xian Hawkins and drummer Michael Lerner, releasing the album Beacon. Taylor reunited with Coxe and they released The Garden in 1998. Later that year, Coxe suffered neck and spine injuries in a van crash. Taylor died of cancer in 2005, but Coxe continued to keep the project alive, especially on the road. The last Silver Apples album was 2016’s Clinging to a Dream.
Artists who paid tribute to Coxe include members of Portishead and Yo La Tengo. See their messages below:
Very sad to hear Simeon fromSilver Apples died yesterday. Massive influence on us and when I first heard them in 97 I refused to believe they were a band from the 60s. He joined us on stage at IBYM Fest New Jersey. https://t.co/26b2XZ1P3P
— adrian utley (@adrianutley) September 9, 2020
RIP Simeon Cox III
When Ade first played me Silver Apples I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!! It was like Public Enemy/Pink floyd/ Hendrix/ Techno / Music Concrète all in one from 1968!!!!!
— Geoff Barrow (@jetfury) September 9, 2020
RIP Simeon Coxe pic.twitter.com/W9M7VUhXVF
— Yo La Tengo (@TheRealYLT) September 9, 2020
RIP, Simeon Coxe. Listen to Silver Apples’ 1968 eponymous debut album here: