Solomon Gruberger R.I.P.

October 18, 1951--June 10, 2012

Speaking for the Gulcher/Gizmos gang, we are saddened to note the passing of proto-punk musician and fanzine editor Solomon Gruberger at the age of 60.

Solomon was among the early rock fanzine people in the 1970s, starting his own zine O. Rextasy in 1973. That same year, he and his younger brother Jay met Ken Highland, who visited them in Brooklyn from Upstate New York. The three of them began the living-room band O. Rex, a lengthy relationship that culminated in the 1976 release of their one 7" record: "My Head's In '73"/"Califawnia Gurls"/"Suzi." Proto-punk in its rawest form, Solomon's nonchalant attitude towards recording also made them unintentional pioneers of lo-fi punktitude.

O. Rex led to the Afrkia Korps in 1977, with the Grubergers and Highland being joined by members of the Slickee Boys and other musicians. They released Music To Kill By, one of the earliest US DIY Punk full-length LPs, played a couple of live shows, and went their separate ways. The group reunited in 1987 for God It's Them Again! on New Rose Records in France.

Solomon and brother Jay also continued recording in the 80s, with some of the results released last year by Rerun Records. Jay was killed in a car accident in 1993.

Personally, I met Solomon in early 1976 while traveling around the East Coast with Ken Highland after we recorded the first Gizmos EP. I got to play drums with O. Rex on that trip, and was thrilled when some of those recordings surfaced on their My Head's In '73! double-CD a few years back. I also wrote reviews for Solomon's O. Rextasy fanzine.

He will be missed.

Here are the official obit details: Solomon Gruberger, 60, of Reading, PA, passed away at 1:09 AM, Sunday, June 10th, peacefully, at his residence. Solomon was born in Brooklyn, NY on October 18, 1951, a son of the late Toby (Strasman) and Oscar Gruberger. He is survived by his wife, Jill (nee Wentzel) Gruberger.

--Eddie Flowers


O. Rex / "My Head's In '73" b/w "Califawnia Gurls"/"Suzi" maxi-single (Oral Records, 1976)
Afrika Korps / Music To Kill By LP (Iron Cross/Dacoit, 1977)
Afrika Korps / Got It's Them Again 12" EP (New Rose, France, 1987)
Afrika Korps / Music To Kill By CD (Gulcher, 2001)
Afrika Korps / Music To Kill By LP (with bonus 7" EP) (Hate/Vulcher, Italy, 2002)
Afrika Korps / Live At Cantone's CD (Gulcher, 2002)
O. Rex / My Head's In '73! Double-CD (Gulcher, 2010)
The Gruberger Brothers / Greetings From Reading, PA LP (Rerun, 2011)