"Oh no, you did fine, little sister."
These were Edmond Turner's last words. A few minutes before he uttered them, the longtime Nashville guitarist was beginning the second of two sets at La Hacienda in Franklin. He and his band had just finished taking a break, and were in the midst of playing "Raspberry Beret" when Turner suddenly staggered backward, knocking into the drum kit and falling back against a wall. His final words, odd as they might seem out of context, were directed at Kalli Nolen, who was taking a turn as a guest vocalist, and must have shot a worried glance back at him when he stopped playing his guitar.
Anyone who knew Edmond Turner knew that nothing short of death was going to stop him from playing guitar.
"It was an A chord," says Michael Custer, who was playing bass with Turner that night. "We all stood and waited for him to get up — and he didn't get up. His eyes were open, and there was nothing there." On Sept. 25, while standing onstage with a guitar strapped to his shoulder, a microphone in front of him and good friends laying down the rhythm, Turner suffered a massive heart attack doing what he loved most.
As Custer puts it: "He lived rock 'n' roll, and he died rock 'n' roll."
Turner became a fixture in area clubs in the 1980s, playing with bands like Blacks on Blondes and earning a reputation as a hard-living rocker, an infamous mooch and a fiercely loyal friend. At a memorial celebration this Sunday, a DVD featuring videos of Turner and his music will be available for sale, and donations will be accepted to offset costs associated with Turner's cremation, which will come with a decidedly Nashville twist: Turner's ashes will be scattered on Music Row. Friends will share stories and, of course, play music together late into the night.
After losing everything he owned in a fire last year, Turner was working to get both his life and his music back on track. With the help of his close friend Dale Allen, he had begun networking in the music industry, finally starting to earn the respect he felt had long eluded him. The night Turner's heart failed, Allen attempted CPR until the ambulance arrived, but to no avail. According to Custer, the doctor who pronounced Turner said he was probably dead before he hit the floor. Turner was 50 years old.
"He played his heart out," Allen says with a smile, "he truthfully did."
I'm too sexy for my human, as I do my little turn on the manwalk.
Nope, still listed on his Ticketmaster page...
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