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Remembering Ron Kane (The Decayes)

Remembering Ron Kane (The Decayes)

Musician, writer, collector, champion of artists from around the globe. The recent loss of Ron Kane has been felt far beyond the borders of his native Southern California.

Ron Kane Earlier this month, the greater Los Angeles area lost one of its most recognizable and respected record collectors. Ron Kane was a regular customer at Rockaway Records and many other local record stores for decades. Many current employees remember him meticulously sifting through our selection of 45s as he tried to fill holes in his collection, imparting his encyclopedic knowledge of rock/prog and new wave all the while.Ron Kane Decayes Ron was much more than just a record collector. The band he founded, The Decayes, was revered around the globe by fans of psychedelic and experimental music. Being name-checked on the Nurse With Wound List brings with it a kind of cachè no album review could impart.

Since 2011, his website, The Ron Kane Files, served as means to share what Ron was currently listening, had recently purchased, his insights, and countless stories from his past. To get a feeling of how Ron's mind operated when it came to music, look no further than that website.

In the days since Ron's passing, countless friends and acquaintances have taken time to pay their respects. Gary Steel's tribute is required reading. Others who knew him -- or knew of him -- have reached out to us to share their memories of Ron as well. We will continue to update this post as more friends and acquaintances offer their thoughts and condolences.

Ron Kane was not just a force of nature, he was an unnatural force of nature, without peer or superior. His energy and enthusiasm for music (irrespective of genre or geography) bordered on other-worldly -- and the mere act of being in his presence would broaden your own musical horizons, as if it were achieved by the power of radiation. Ron and I were born the same year -- and we both had older brothers that we could blame for turning us into music addicts. This bit of synchronicity may have made of me a very open and willing vessel for all of his enthusiastic musical recommendations. He didn't suffer too many fools gladly, but, for some reason, he allowed this particular fool to be granted access to the full spectrum of his supra-developed musical sensibilities. May the Gods bless him as he enters into the highest musical vibration that the Universe can provide. If there is an afterlife, his will be comprised of the purest eternal note -- and he'll be there to share it with me when I arrive to meet him once again. After all, this was his life's mission  -- and I am convinced that it was one that could never be completed in one lifetime." - Rick Snyder

"I didn’t know Ron Kane except to occasionally buy records from him through the mail, but he was a visionary.  In his writings and advocacy, he championed unusual musical points of view from around the world at a time when that took much more effort, and courage, than today.  He was one of the first people outside New Zealand to appreciate that small country’s unique offerings.  He corresponded with and encouraged musicians from around the world, and across genre boundaries.  He was such an omnivorous and generous musical spirit that he saw nothing strange in championing Percy Faith and Simply Red alongside SPK and Frank Zappa’s most outré disciples.  His own music, mostly with the long-running Decayes, tended toward the abstract, but he saw no contradiction in loving the poppiest pop music and the artiest art music.  He played, sold, wrote about, and lived music with a passion, and the world is better for it".  - Geoffrey Weiss

"Ron Kane was an obsessed record collector with an insatiable thirst for music and records, and I feel lucky to have known him. I hadn’t seen Ron in a long while, but spent many hours in his presence when we were younger men who haunted used record stores and spent all night at record swap meets, waiting for people to open the trunks of their cars and reveal the treasures within. Whenever I’d run into Ron, we’d talk records and I’d always learn something new.  Yesterday I found some photos of him online and they made me laugh a laugh of recognition; seeing young Ron in his room surrounded by posters of the bands he loved, and traveling the world to go and get the records he sought.  He wasn’t someone who sat at home, waiting for the records to come to him. The world was a better place because of Ron Kane, especially the record collector world.  It’s hard to imagine him not here, but I’ll always remember him with a smile." - Jeff Gold

Shortly before Ron's passing, Rockaway acquired his personal collection, which totaled over 30,000 combined LPs, CDs, 45s, posters and other formats. We'll be processing and making available everything from this collection daily over the course of the next several months in both our retail store and on our website. Keep an eye on our social media and our website for the latest arrivals, and definitely keep an eye out for the instantly recognizable "Property Of Ronald Kane" stickers that he meticulously affixed to most of the items he collected during his lifelong pursuit of all things music.

7 thoughts on “Remembering Ron Kane (The Decayes)”


Warren Bowman Posted on 12/11/2017 at 2:57 pm

Ron Kane was my friend for 40 years. He invited me to join The Decayes, and opened up a whole world music to me. Without knowing Ron, my life would be very, very different today. He saved me from a mundane future. I would appreciate it if you could advise me of future sales, as it would mean a great deal to me to acquire some of the music we bonded over. Thank you for your time and consideration

Charles Martin Posted on 12/12/2017 at 6:47 am

I met Ron through a friend who was a record-trading partner with him, and ironically met up with Ron in person before the friend that brought us together did! At first, Ron was (at least for me) the source of many exotic music videos gleaned from the scenes in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, France, and elsewhere. Later, we would swap lists of our "scores" at record shows and CD/vinyl shops. Once I started traveling farther afield, I would consult him on what the "good" record stores were in that area, be it London or Los Angeles. Periodically, a few of us mutual pals would get together in a given city (such as Portland or Atlanta) and "pick it clean" of great music by visiting every record shop we could find! What always impressed me the most about Ron was his ability to "see" the achievements or innovation in almost any genre of music, even in things that were the sorts of commercial successes shunned by most "connoisseurs." If Ron said that a certain work was a piece of genius, it might take a few listens -- but before long you'd recognise what he saw in it and appreciate it too. No collector I ever met had such wide and varied tastes, nor so much in-depth knowledge of the artists, generally gleaned from his attending their shows and getting to know them personally. Anyone in Ron's close circle of friends had the course of their life or at least their musical influences strongly altered by him and his sherpa-like guidance. He widened our horizons both musically and philosophically, and was as generous with his insights as he was religious in his collecting. Count me in as someone who would love to know about future "RK" sales (as if I don't have enough gifts from him already!), because like Stiff and Sire Records in their heyday, a Ron Kane gem was a symbol of quality!

Bob Gaulke Posted on 12/15/2017 at 6:29 am

Ron was like a musical older brother/father for me. In the years before the internet, I'd call him from upstate NY for hours at a time just to hear him school me on what to listen to and why. He was very generous with his time and his talents. I work today as a teacher and musician and am mostly through assembling my homage to Ron. The album involves more than 30 artists whom he knew and should be ready in early 2018. https://www.facebook.com/I-Am-Rons-Music-928089427366734/

Luc Moeyersons Posted on 12/16/2017 at 6:53 pm

I met Ron in 1989, I believe, during a concert of my favorite band MAM in Bergen-Op-Zoom, Holland. He filmed the whole gig, and then sent that a tape to me, which was so nice. We met a year later again in his hotel room in Amsterdam, where we had a good chat. If you think about a man passionate about music, you would have to think about Ron Kane ! #RIP

Don Tyer Posted on 01/20/2018 at 3:53 am

My friend Wes told me of his passing recently. I remember Ron from his days as an import buyer for Licorice Pizza. I would always call him to get a little better shipment to my store. It developed to a friendship over time...we would sell at the Hollywood swap meet together. I remember one swap we bought a mannequin and split it body, parading it around the tables then we start breaking records rather than sell them, as we were bored about 4 am. If my memory serves me well the Licorice Pizza in Orange was one of the earliest or first performances of the Decayes...about the time of their third release 1979? I am now musing over Ron's "small" collection I saw back then and how much we connected with the humor and the charm of music. See you on the other side for a laugh, Don

louis cypher Posted on 02/02/2018 at 5:44 pm

hey ron is it lard free in heaven?

Greg Biggs Posted on 02/26/2018 at 3:25 pm

So sad to hear about Ron's passing. The world is made up of characters, some good, some bad and some unique and Ron was in the unique category. I was imports buyer for the Peaches chain at their LA home office and got to meet Ron through the Capitol swap meet. We would talk imports since he did the same for the Licorice Pizza chain a lot. We would hang out at these record shows, meet at stores or concerts and always have a good chat. I recall one time he came over to my apartment to look at my record collection and he gave me grief for not having my LPs in plastic outer sleeves. "Don't you love your records Greg?" he would ask....Ron - what's left of that collection ARE in plastic sleeves! Rest in peace - we are poorer on several levels with our passing.

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