GUITAR MAN RUSSELL “SKIP” GILDERSLEEVE R.I.P.

September 19, 2013 – 8:42 am

Russell “Skip” Gildersleeve has passed away on September 17, 2013. He was 57. [There’s no online obituary posted yet but Skip’s passing has been confirmed on a few websites.] It was through the internet on September 18 that we learnt of his passing. It was also through the internet that we “met” in 2009 - and we had only traded emails all this time.

Among musicians, Skip was the guitar tech who had worked with Bob Seger, Rush and Steely Dan [namechecked here], among others. As a music fan, Skip had even reached out to other fans across the sea, generously offering music either for sharing or for personal listening (in instances where sharing was not possible).

As a result, BigO readers benefiited whenever there was an Evil Dr Louie or Lincoln Park Mark offering to be shared - that’s Skip giving props to a place he loved.

While Skip was a big Bob Dylan, Stooges, reggae and Rolling Stones fan, he was also a fan of the record stores. He wrote in 2011:

“I, too, miss record stores. In 1969, after moving from the East Coast (VA) to the West (SoCal), I went inside the largest record store I had ever seen up to that point, Wallach’s Music City, in the Eastland Shopping Center in West Covina, CA. “WOW” is what I thought. GIGANTIC! It was astounding how many different genres of music were contained there. NOT specialized. Soon after I’d find myself shopping at Licorice Pizza (in Pasadena, where I met my spouse!), Music Plus (my first one was in Claremont), Tower (the one in West Covina, I’ll never forget the punk rock mohawked gal, and that was in 1977!), Moby Disc, Poo-Bah (in Pasadena), Texas Records (in Santa Monica), Rhino (in Westwood) and Vinyl Fetish (the original, on Melrose). So much joy, driving around for a few hours, hitting a bunch of those places. And I met SO many friends I still have to this day, some still in the music biz, via record shopping. Sigh.”

Ever the Dylan fan, after listening to the highlights from Dylan’s Another Self Portrait (1969-1971), Skip, in one of his recent emails to us, wrote: “It is OUTSTANDING!”

We shall miss you Skip.

The site, retrokimmer.com, was one of the first to announce news of Skip’s passing. Kimmer (Kim Maki) wrote:

Being onstage was Skip Gildersleeve’s job… he traveled all over the world in various musical capacities with some really major rock groups. Recently he was Bob Seger’s guitar tech on his last tour. Skip worked with Rush, Kid Rock, Stray Cats, Brian Setzer, Steely Dan, and many other bands too numerous to list here.

I first met Skip online when I began working with Dennis Thompson in 2008. Skip asked for my mailing address and began sending me Detroit Rock care packages… Videos and Dvds and Cd’s too. My favorite gifts from Skip was the BBC Motor City’s Burning DVD and a documentary on CKLW the Big 8 Radio…

Many of our mutual friends are still reeling from the news that Skip passed away. Legendary Sound Man Nite Bob, one of Skip’s great friends, announced on his Facebook page that our friend had died. My friend rock photographer/blogger Heather Harris alerted me after she saw Bob’s post.

Photographer Heather Harris blogged:

Social media, the down side: I am aggrieved to learn from same of the passing of someone I only met in correspondence, but from that knew him to be a genuinely nice and generous person, a true music professional and yet still an enthusiastic music fan. Rest in peace SKIP GILDERSLEEVE. My heartfelt condolences to his wife, family and friends in Michigan. The terrible news came today.

He was a longterm music tech/road crew pro for Bob Seger, many others… and known by all as a terrific human being. When I was immobilized for months with broken limbs earlier this last year, Skip sent me personalized FunPaks of dvds and cds galore that he knew I’d appreciate. We both loved the music of Iggy and The Stooges, Parliament Funkadelic, reggae, Dylan, etc. etc. etc.

Here’s a tribute to Skip at the Rush website:

Yesterday [September 17] the Rush world learned of the tragic loss of long time Rush roadie Russell “Skip” Gildersleeve. Skip joined the Rush roadcrew in 1975 for the Caress of Steel tour, after meeting the band after their appearance at Detoit’s Michigan Palace on the Fly By Night tour. Nicknamed “Slider” by the band, Skip was a member of the road crew for 22 years, through the Test For Echo tour.

Skip is forever immortalized on the All The World’s A Stage and Different Stages: Hammersmith Odeon live recordings; it is Skip who you hear saying, “Oh won’t you please welcome home, RUSH!” Our thoughts go with his friends and family.

And another tribute at fohonline.com:

Russell “Skip” Gildersleeve, a.k.a. “Slider,” a longtime road crew member and sound engineer for Rush and other bands, died Sept. 17. He was 57. He was part of the crew supporting Rush from 1975 to 1997, serving as Geddy Lee’s bass technician, also handling P.A. and stage management duties. He supported other bands as well, including Steely Dan (1996-2009), Brian Setzer (2001-2007) and fellow Detroit natives Kid Rock and Bob Seger; he served as guitar tech and touring production manager for Seger’s 2011-2012 tour.

Click here for a show that Skip had shared with us. He can be heard playing on the bonus track.

  1. 15 Responses to “GUITAR MAN RUSSELL “SKIP” GILDERSLEEVE R.I.P.”

  2. Thanks, Skip.

    By NAMoosedog on Sep 19, 2013

  3. I knew Skip and worked with him. This is a total shock to me.

    By Eric A on Sep 19, 2013

  4. As a matter of fact, I think Skip turned me on to this web site.

    By Eric A on Sep 19, 2013

  5. Skip was a friend and will be sorely missed by many people. His generous spirit and wealth of music knowledge was amazing, and he will not be forgotten. RIP, Skip.

    By Mike H on Sep 19, 2013

  6. never met the man but he sounds like a true music fan, r.i.p. brother.

    By sluggo on Sep 19, 2013

  7. Skip Gildersleeve was my friend we met through mutual friends at a local record store in Detroit. He was very kind, funny and we share our love of music and bands. Whenever I was in New York we would try and get together at his favorite deli on 80th and catch up. My wife and I were given tickets to go Steely Dan. I will miss our friendship. Rest In Peace my friend. I guess with all the wonderful artists that have passed God needed another guitar tech to handle load.

    RIP Sean M.

    By Sean McGillen on Sep 20, 2013

  8. Guitar Tech For The Stars now… Rock on Skip!

    By T. Way on Sep 20, 2013

  9. To Skip’s friends posting here, please accept my condolences for the loss of your friend. I only knew *OF* him through Rush album covers and mentions in tour programs.

    By By-Tor on Sep 23, 2013

  10. another good man gone too early.

    thanks, and RIP.

    By tony on Sep 23, 2013

  11. I was very shocked and saddened by skips passing! Skip was a pleasure and joy on the past 2 Seger tours. There were so many funny stories. But skip was a very serious tech. Job first fun was second. He made me laugh so many many times. I’m honored to have known him, and privileged to call him a friend! July 13 we were both at a anniversary party, the last time I seen him :( why is it only the good die young? The eyes that looked at us, and the hands that touched us, now look and touch the face of God!! I’ll always remember my friend!!!

    By Tony on Sep 24, 2013

  12. Skip is my cousin his mother loved him dearly. His present wife speaks Japanesse and there is a problem with communication. His EX-WIFE has taken his mother from the nursing home, had her phone turned off, and they refused to inform her that her son is died, and they won’t let any family members into see her.Don’t you think that his mother have the right to now?

    By Gail Hornbuckle on Sep 27, 2013

  13. Writing to express my disappointment and irritation regarding events surrounding the funeral proceedures of my friend Skip. I’m fully aware and respectful of the request by Skip’s family to have a private family service, but I don’t understand the lack of info provided by the R.C. Aleks Funeral Home. Many of Skip’s Michigan friends were calling and texting back & forth, trying to gather what little info existed. The Aleks website obituary was sorely lacking info, nor was it updated after Skip’s burial. I called the Aleks office twice on different days, and provided my name and phone #, and was told I’d be contacted later. No return call. Through second-hand info, I learned of the service being a private affair. This was confirmed on a St. John-Providence Health System website obituary, which had far more info than Aleks’ inadequate obit. Again, thru a friend, I learned of Skip’s burial two days prior. Nowhere on either website is any info given on where Skip is interred. After calling Aleks’ office for a 3rd time, I learned of the location being the Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock, MI. The funeral home rep who answered the phone asked me for my name. WHY? Does it matter at this juncture?! If the funeral was private, then the Aleks obit should have indicated that, so Skip’s friends could have forwarded flowers, donations to the funeral home. I’ve mailed my condolences directly to the family. And…by the way R.C. Aleks…Russell’s name is spelled with TWO L’s, not one, as your obit indicates, unfortunately.

    By Bob Koski on Oct 6, 2013

  14. I loved talking about music, CDs and vinyl with Skip. I think he went to damn-near every major record store in his world travels. He would give me challeges to search and find out-of-print albums for Walter & Donald of Steely Dan. And I usually came through and sent em his way to give to the guys. Many friends (including me) received wonderful CD’s in the mail from Skip, even though Skip was a very busy fellow. I will always treasure my friendship with him. Play that banjo while you’re up there, Skip. We miss you.

    By Bob Koski on Oct 6, 2013

  15. Skip was a great friend of mine for 28 years. We toured with Steve Jones of Sex Pistols fame and Was not Was when he was on break from his duties with Rush during that time. He is the one who turned me on to bigO. He will be missed by so many people who’s lives he touched. Somehow I didn’t know he had passed until two days ago. I know that where ever Skip is he is rocking away!

    By Allan Nassau on Dec 22, 2013

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