West Arkeen

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West Arkeen
West Arkeen.jpg
Background information
Birth name Aaron West Arkeen
Also known as West Arkeen
Born (1960-06-18)June 18, 1960
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Origin Los Angeles, California
Died May 30, 1997(1997-05-30) (aged 36)
Los Angeles, California
Genres rock, Hard rock, blues rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1981-1997
Labels Reality Entertainment
Associated acts Guns N' Roses, The Outpatience, Drunkfuxs, Duff McKagan, Brother Cane, Phantom Blue, Asphalt Ballet, Back Alley Sally, Femme Fatale

Aaron West Arkeen (June 18, 1960 – May 30, 1997), was an American musician best known for co-writing several Guns N' Roses songs. He died in Los Angeles as a result of a drug overdose.[1]

Early life[edit]

Aaron Arkeen was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and grew up in San Diego, California. He was the grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants and the son of a US Army sergeant, Morris Arkeen. Arkeen started playing guitar when he was 14 years old. After having only one guitar lesson, Arkeen was a self-taught guitar player. Arkeen cited John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, and Ted Nugent as musical influences from his youth.

Arkeen worked in the oil industry in Texas and as a slot machine repairman in Las Vegas, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a music career at age 21.

Music career[edit]

After several years of struggling to launch a career, Arkeen befriended a group of musicians, later to be known as Guns N' Roses. Arkeen co-wrote "It's So Easy," "Crash Diet", "Bad Obsession", "The Garden", "Sentimental Movie" and "Yesterdays" for Guns N' Roses. Arkeen also penned "Make Your Play" and "Pressure" for Brother Cane, as well as co-wrote "My Misery" for Phantom Blue. In the late 80's, Arkeen lived in an apartment next to Duff Mckagan and Sly Stone.

After working on other songs with the band for their double set Use Your Illusion I and II, Arkeen started his own project in 1995, The Outpatience. Featuring vocalist Mike Shotton, bassist James Hunting, guitarist Joey Hunting, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Gregg Buchwalter, the band released their debut album, Anxious Disease in 1996 in Japan. The album has connections to Guns N' Roses: Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan appear as guest artists and Izzy Stradlin co-wrote one of the songs.

Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan are most closely associated with Arkeen. The trio played in the The Drunkfuxs side project together and Arkeen co-wrote two of the songs on McKagan's debut solo record, Believe in Me.

Death[edit]

On May 30, 1997, West was found dead in his Los Angeles home at 36 years old. Arkeen had been at home recovering from severe burns from his indoor barbeque that exploded. His death was ruled an "accidental opiate overdose."

Legacy and influence[edit]

Duff McKagan credits Arkeen with teaching him about alternate tuning on guitar.[2] Slash stated that Arkeen was "the only one that always came through when any of us needed anything; for a long time he literally was the only one we could trust"[3] The Guns N' Roses album Live Era: '87-'93 was dedicated, in part, to his memory.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Details Released In Death Of Guns n' Roses Songwriter". MTV. June 3, 1997. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ McKagan, Duff (2011). Stacy Creamer, eds. It's so Easy (and other lies). Collaboration by Tim Mohr. Touchstone. p. 45. ISBN 978-1451606645. 
  3. ^ Slash; Anthony Bozza (30 October 2007). Slash. HarperCollins. pp. unknown. ISBN 978-0-06-135142-6.