Long Beach suffered a devastating blow to its music scene earlier today when it was announced that keyboardist, Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, had passed away while on tour with Jack White in Mexico.
The reason for his passing is still undisclosed, but what we know is that Owens has left an irreplaceable void in the music world.
This talented young man had his beginnings with Long Beach Dub Allstars, the super group that formed in the late 90’s featuring members of Sublime & the Skunk Records family and other prominent musicians in the Long Beach area. Owens name can even be found on Sublime’s Second Hand Smoke and Reel Big Fish’s Turn Off The Radio.
When L.B.D.A. disbanded in the early 2000s, Owens joined the band De Facto that took Owens on to play Europe. Not very long after, De Facto morphed into a more notable band, The Mars Volta. During the mid-2000s Owens spent time once again in Southern California working with Slightly Stoopid, Owens is listed on keyboards in the credits for Closer To The Sun.
Owens spent most of his touring career with The Mars Volta, and the fruits of his labor proved to be worth it. Eventually, Jack White ran into Owens and asked him to play in his band, The Buzzards. Since 2012 White has brought Ikey Owens around the world, to perform with White in his current band. A highly demanded act, playing festivals and venues all around the world, Owens had reached another peak of his jam-packed career.
It’s very important to mention that Ikey Owens never forgot his roots and his ties to the L.B.C. When Skunk Records founder, Miguel Happoldt, reached out to see if he was willing to perform with him on stage for the Skunk Records 25th Anniversary shows all around California, Owens happily agreed. Owens even brought his own band, Free Moral Agents, to participate in these smaller shows.
Words alone cannot describe the talent and the lively atmosphere that Ikey Owens brought with him to all the shows. His absence is already noted and the world mourns his early passing. Rest In Peace, Ikey.
Read a statement from Jack White’s Third Man Records:
“It is with great sadness that we tell the world of the passing of the incredible musician Isaiah “Ikey” Owens. He will be missed and loved forever by his family, friends, bandmates and fans. Ikey Owens was an astounding keyboard player in Jack White’s backing band. He also played with Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents, and many other projects. Out of respect for Ikey, the remaining shows of the Jack White Tour in Mexico have been cancelled. We will all miss you Ikey. You were and are an incredible artist.”
A statement from Controlled Substance Sound Labs:
“Feeling sadness and the need to express our sincerest condolences on behalf of the passing of our musical brother Ikey Owens. Ikey was a true friend, gifted musician, artist and an extended member of the silverback and stoopid family. You will be missed Ikey but never forgotten. Your music lives on forever….Thank you for your presence. Will never forget our hang this last Bonnaroo!”
Article By: Juan Barragan
Photo By: David Norris
Watch: Ikey Owens – Rig Round Up (@ Red Rocks. Morrison, CO)