RIP to my friend Scott Kempner, aka “Top Ten,” who passed away today at the age of 69, a victim of early-onset dementia.
Scott was a great guitarist who played with two of my favorite bands, the Dictators and the Del-Lords. He was cool as hell and always had a tough kind of East Coast swagger. When the Untamed Youth were recording our second album for Norton Records in (gulp) 1989 (produced by Andy Shernoff of the Dictators), Scott aka “Top Ten” happened to wander into Coyote Studios in Brooklyn, and Billy Miller and Andy Shernoff soon enlisted him to sing harmony on our surfy version of the Dictators classic “I Live for Cars and Girls.” Twenty-one-year-old me was super freaked out, singing on the same mic with one of my rock-star heroes, but Scott couldn’t have been cooler.
I ran into him a bunch of times over the years. I got to sit in with the Dictators and sing “Cars and Girls” here in LA. I’d see him out at record stores or shows, and he was always really nice to me. RIP to the great “Top Ten,” he shall be missed. Blast “Stay with Me,” “Faster and Louder,” or the entire 1975 album The Dictators Go Girl Crazy in his honor tonight.