Acetone vocalist and bassist Richie Lee was found dead on July 23rd in his home in Los Angeles. The thirty-four-year-old committed suicide.
Acetone first came together in 1987 when Lee and Mark Lightcap (guitar) were attending the Cal Arts Institute in Valencia, Calif. Lee and Lightcap, a compositional music student and tuba player, recruited local high school student Steve Hadley to play drums.
The band played together behind a succession of singers under the name Spinout before finally settling as a trio. Acetone released several well-received albums beginning with their debut record Cindy. Released on Vernon Yard (a subsidiary of Virgin Records) in 1993, the album generated comparisons to the Velvet Underground. While Acetone toured in support of label mates the Verve, the band’s debut was lost amidst a glut of alternative rock releases.
In 1994 Acetone released I Guess I Would, an EP of country covers that included an eleven minute version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Border Lord,” as well as covers of Jerry Cole and John Prine tunes. If You Only Knew, their next full-length release and a critical favorite followed in 1996, but failed to make any waves in the already waning alternative music scene, and the band was dropped from Vernon Yard in 1997. They signed to Neil Young’s label Vapor Records and released their self-titled third album that year and last October released York Blvd..
In addition to pursuing music, Lee earned a degree in Fine Arts from Cal Arts. Both a painter and a photographer, Lee frequently contributed artwork and photography on the band’s releases.
In lieu of flowers friends and family are asking that fans make donations to suicide prevention organizations, with further information available at VaporRecords.com.