Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rock 'n' roller Chris Gibson (1952-2007)

Rock 'n' roll singer and longtime Fan District resident Chris Gibson, wife of Tom Applegate, died on Dec. 9, 2007. From a Richmond Times-Dispatch article in today's Metro section:

"She was a rock'n' roller all her life," said her husband of 26 years, Thomas William Applegate of Richmond. "When I met her, she was the first woman who could talk about rock'n' roll for hours."

After moving to Richmond to take classes at Virginia Commonwealth University, Mrs. Gibson soon became a vocalist for Beex, one of Richmond's first punk bands that has played shows up and down the East Coast. After 30 years, the band still has a loyal following.

Mrs. Gibson, who planned to record the vocals for an upcoming Beex album celebrating its 30-year anniversary, died Sunday at a Richmond-area hospital from complications of breast cancer. She was 55.

Click here to read the entire piece.

In the ’70s Chris came from her hometown of Newark to Richmond to go to VCU. In 1977 she began fronting a punk rock band called BEEX. The first time I can remember seeing her perform was in the summer of '77. Her band provided the live entertainment for the Fan District Softball League’s picnic at Tony Martin’s farm.

On that lazy afternoon, 30 years ago, Chris was spontaneously funny. The band played an unrestrained style of rock ‘n’ roll. A good time was had by one and all. Ever since, the only way I have ever pictured her is with a smile on her face.

Richmond's music scene in the late-'70s/early-'80s was quite lively. There were some pretty good bands based here then and several clubs in the Fan District featured live music nearly every night. Within that realm there were lots of punk rock bands that played in those places; BEEX was one of the better known groups. In those days, if there was a more authentic punk rocker among the black-leather-clad artists and musicians in this town than Chris Gibson, I certainly don't remember them.

To go to the BEEX MySpace page to read posts from friends and fellow musicians click here.

To look at Mark Holmberg’s report on the late Christine Ann Gibson at the WTVR-6 web site, click here.


Update: Ceremony at 1 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 14, at Hollywood Cemetery.

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