It saddens us to report that local musician Jesus Acedo passed away on Sunday, March 3. No cause of death is known at this time.
Acedo, a masterful and unique guitarist, performed with his on-and-off psychedelic rock band Black Sun Ensemble (or Black Sun Legion, as it was sometimes called) since its formation in the mid-1980s. Black Sun Ensemble's releases received fervent praise in magazines such as Rolling Stone and by tastemakers like famed music critic and musicologist Byron Coley, who wrote the liner notes for the 2001 reissue of the band's 1985 self-titled debut album. The band opened for Camper Van Beethoven on its Key Lime Pie tour in 1989 and performed at showcases at South by Southwest several times.
But, despite his band's innovative music and the loyal cult-fandom it inspired, Acedo — who often identified himself by an ever-changing list of monikers: Bolt of Apollo, Psycho Master El, Prince Master Blaster, Dada Gaga, etc. — suffered from mental illness that led to substance abuse and landed him in and out of jail and psych wards repeatedly, all of which was difficult to witness for anyone who knew him to be the kind, sensitive soul he was.
These episodes were largely responsible for the on/off nature of Black Sun Ensemble, but longtime fans were encouraged by a recent band reunion. On Saturday, Feb. 23, Black Sun Ensemble performed its last show as part of an art opening at Solar Culture Gallery. Steven Eye, the arts space's proprietor, who describes Acedo as "a true visionary," says it was "a magical night" and recounted that one attendee, who was seeing the band for the first time, asked him, "Do these guys know how good they are?!"
Reportedly, Black Sun Ensemble had also recently been working on a new song for which Acedo had already finished his parts. The band plans to finish the recording.
Service arrangements are currently being conducted, and there will, no doubt, be benefits held for the family. We'll keep you posted about these details as we get them.
In the meantime, at the request of his family, a Facebook page called Jesus Acedo Memorial has been set up for his friends and loved ones to leave their thoughts and memories about Jesus. Please do so, as his family can use the support right now.
We at the Tucson Weekly offer his family our sincerest condolences at this difficult time.
Several links to articles and videos are below the jump.
A Tucson Weekly feature article from 2001 by Curtis McCrary is here.
Jesus Acedo's Nine Questions is here.
A documentary short directed by Johanna Martinez for Pan Left Productions called I'll Never Hear the Bells Ring in Heaven is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gno_b_4w3NY&feature=youtu.be.
A music video for Black Sun Ensemble's "The Shining One," directed by Jonathan Levitt is here.
A video tribute made and posted today by Al Perry is here.