Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, the American rhythm guitarist of The Dictators, passed away suddenly at the age of 69. His death on November 29, 2023, signified the conclusion of a significant era in the music industry, leaving behind an irreplaceable gap. Read on to know more about Scott Kempner’s death in detail.
Scott Kempner passed away:
The Dictators’ and The Del-Lords’ founding member Scott Kempner passes away at age 69. Before his death, the punk rock pioneer had battled early-onset dementia.
His demise deeply saddened the world of music, and his impact will forever be felt by the many listeners he inspired.
Paul Boyle announced this sad news on social media post, saying,Received heartbreaking news today. We (underwhelmed), lost our mentor, Scott Kempner.
Scott was like a father figure to us and one of the first to really believe in us. He produced our first record and brought out the very best in us. You’re our hero and we love you, Scott. Until we meet again
Scot Kempner cause of death:
Scott was diagnosed with early-stage dementia in 2021 and he decided to leave the Dictators. Sadly, on November 29, 2023, he died as a result of dementia complications. He was in a Connecticut nursing home at the time of his death.
Russell Wolinsky also posted about the Kempner’s passing saying,
Scott Kempner and I met when we were both 10 years old. We bonded over the Beatles, Marvel comics, and Tarzan pulp novels. We’ve been friends ever since.
News of his passing really hurts.
Who was Scott Kempner?
Scott Kempner was a punk-rock pioneer, having been the original and long-serving rhythm guitarist for The Dictators. He was a free abandoned guitar player, a superb arranger, and a prolific songwriter.
He was born in New York’s Bronx. Along with Andy Shernoff and Ross “The Boss” Friedman, he started performing music in college. In 1974, they formed the rock group The Dictators.
The band from New York City released its first album, The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!, in 1975, which was a precursor to punk rock, one year before the Ramones made their own debut.
Through almost all of The Dictators’ incarnations, Kempner was a member of the band until 2021, when his health issues compelled him to step away. He was featured on all four of their albums, which included D.F.F.D. (2001), Bloodbrothers (1978), and Manifest Destiny (1977).
Scott’s Musical Career:
In addition, he was a founding member of The Del-Lords and subsequently of The Brandos. The Del-Lords were a rock and roll band that drew inspiration from British bands of the 1960s, particularly The Beatles, in their use of multiple singers.
In 2008, Kempner said that “The Del-Lords was a comfort zone.” “It was a well-maintained apparatus.” After working with The Del-Lords on seven albums, Kempner performed with several other bands, such as The Brandos, The Paradise Brothers, and The Helen Wheels Band.
In addition, he dedicated time to advancing his solo career, putting out the three albums “Live From Blueberry Hill,” “Saving Grace,” and “Tenement Angels.” Tenement Angels, his highly regarded solo album, was released in 1992.
“Apache Tears” by Kempner was included in the 2007 compilation album Song of America. Saving Grace, his second solo album was released by 00:02:59 Records in July 2008.
Little Kings was a short-lived band that featured Mike Mesaros of the Smithereens, Kempner, Frank Funaro of the Del-Lords, and Dion DiMucci. Later, a live album was released, but it wasn’t largely publicized or shared.
Kempner sang and played guitar on Carla Olson’s album Have Harmony Will Travel, performing Little Steven’s “All I Needed Was You” in 2013.
Juancho Lopez wrote,
R.I.P. Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, great guy I was lucky enough to share some great times with on The Dictators touring in the late 90’s
Joe Truck Kasher posted,
And another friend gone. RIP Scott Kempner Dictator and Del-lord. Coolest of the cool.
Freddie Katz wrote,
I’m beside myself with sadness today with the news that my friend Scott Kempner has died. Scott and I shared a special kind of bond; much of it had to do with music but it was much more than that. It had been a long time since I’d seen him, the last time probably being when I visited him in LA a few years back. Of course, I had heard that he was unwell, but I didn’t realize that the end was as near as apparently it’s turned out to be. I should’ve tried harder to get back in touch. Anyway, Prince Of The Bronx, I wish you Godspeed! With love and admiration, Freddie K>^:;:^tZ #scottkempner #topten #thedictators #thedellords
John O’Neill wrote,
I’ve been listening to Scott Kempner’s music most of my adult life. And, while we all knew this day was coming, it doesn’t make it any less crummy. Adios, Top Ten. The master of three-chord rock.
Josh Ribakove wrote,
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