Archive for June, 2008

Ross McConnell – Part 1

Saturday, June 28th, 2008
Ross McConnellPHOTO CC: MJ Vilardi some rights reserved

Last month my lifelong friend Ross McConnell died near Tbilisi, Georgia in a freak traffic accident. He was on his way to a Black Sea resort in Turkey, and had just stepped off the bus at a rest stop when he was struck by a speeding minivan. He died shortly thereafter, in the “reanimator room” of a nearby hospital. Ross was 55, and had been living in Tbilisi for several years. Here is a news report by Georgian State Television, with English transcript courtesy of Ross’s friend, the expatriate writer Brian Adrian, who also lives in Tbilisi.

NOTE: The remarkable life and untimely death of Ross McConnell is the topic of our first MJville podcast. If you knew Ross and would like to share your thoughts and memories, please leave a comment on this post and we’ll work out a time for a phone or Skype conversation.

I first met Ross back in the 70’s when we were both students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I was trying to sleep off the effects of a long night of partying, when I heard a loud noise at my dorm room door. It wasn’t knocking, not even pounding, but an insane hammering, like they were tearing down the building. I peered through the peephole and spied a big guy using a brick to nail something to my door. “What the hell-?” I yelled as I swung the door open. A preserved fox face fell to the floor. This is what the mystery man – obviously inebriated – had been trying unsuccessfully to mount. Without further comment I picked up the furry mask and held it in place, while Ross nailed it securely into the wood. (more…)

Crystal Radio Set

Friday, June 13th, 2008
Every studio needs a crystal skull to transmit to the other side...
PHOTO CC: MJ Vilardi some rights reserved

Here’s a vital part of my technical setup: a small crystal skull that sits on my tube amplifier and soaks up light from the VU meter LED’s. When I talk through the old Electro Voice 668, the skull glows in rhythm with my words. My recently deceased friend Ross held and photographed the real Crystal Skull some years ago. More about that in our next podcast, Remembering Ross