Los Angeles is the type of place where it's easy to keep your head down, stay low to the ground, and do your best to avoid the throngs of humanity. So much traffic. So much frustration. So much white noise. It's easy to get lost in your own orbit, and tune the world out. It's easy to be oblivious to the simplest beauty that hides around the corner. This might explain why the music of Acetone has remained a bit of a secret. But it also explains what was so great about them. If you've somehow stumbled upon these words, I urge you to take a step further and seek out the songs of Richie Lee, Mark Lightcap, and Steve Hadley.
Acetone seeped out of the cracks of a smoggy culture, creating soulful art that mirrored the underground beauty of Los Angeles. Listening to their music, you can feel the old uneven sidewalk of a quiet Atwater neighborhood under your feet. Richie Lee's delicate voice fills your ears like the whisper of a friend. Mark Lightcap's guitar makes you feel that sense of longing that only music can capture. Steve Hadley's cymbals splash like lazy waves on a deserted beach. The music is elegant and honest. It is powerful because it is subtle. The measured swells of energy remind you what feels so good about rock music. It's great Art" without being too arty.
Vapor Records proudly released two full-length records by Acetone, 1997's ACETONE and 2000's YORK BLVD. Both records received critical acclaim and glowing appreciation from music fans as they toured around the world headlining shows, and supporting the likes of Mazzy Star and Spiritualized.
Keyboardist Jason Yates joined the trio for the recording and touring for YORK BLVD. Sadly, the band came to an end with the death of singer/bassist Richie Lee in the summer of 2001. Fortunately, Acetone left the records for us to listen to. Fans of Acetone are intensely proud to share the music of this band with others. Let's face it. Secrets this great aren't meant to be kept.
It is with deepest regret and sorrow that we announce that Richie Lee of the band Acetone died at his home in Los Angeles on Monday, July 23, 2001. He was thirty four years old.
An accomplished artist and musician, Lee was best known for creating the beautiful and distinct blend of music perfected in the band Acetone. Along with guitarist Mark Lightcap and drummer Steve Hadley, Lee founded Acetone in the early 90's from the remnants of their punk/ surf band Spinout. Acetone was a well respected and highly acclaimed trio that toured the world and released four full length albums.
Born on October 10, 1966, Richie Lee was raised in Newport Beach, California where he grew to become an avid surfer and talented surf guitarist. After graduating high school with the highest marks, Lee went on to join the Dean's List at the University of California at Davis where he majored in Physics and minored in Art. He transferred to the esteemed Cal Arts Institute to complete his studies, and received a Bachelors Degree in the Fine Arts. Richie began showing his paintings at several high profile galleries in Los Angeles at a relatively young age. His pieces received an excellent reception from the art press and community, and Lee was noted as a promising up-and-coming painter. In lieu of sending flowers, we request that donations be made in Richie Lee's name to suicide prevention organizations such as:
National Hopeline Network (1-800- suicide)
This is a national 1-800 number that automatically routes calls to the nearest crisis center that can help immediately. They also help by counseling the friends and loved ones of suicide victims. Donations to the Kristin Brooks Hope Center go directly to maintaining the national network, and are tax deductible.
The Suicide Prevention Center of Los Angeles
LA County's largest local suicide prevention and crisis assistance center.
The Official Unofficial Acetone website, created and maintained by Ben Maki, is a great resource for information about everything Acetone. We highly recommend it.
Also, our friend Tim Scanlin has set up a page where fans and friends of Richie can go to share their thoughts. Please check out: