According to the band’s publicist, Michael Been, vocalist and guitarist with ’80s band The Call, has died. Been is also father to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club frontman Robert Been, and was on tour with his son’s band as their sound engineer. Yesterday he suffered a heart attack while backstage at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival and died. He was 60 years old.
During its 1980-2000 run, The Call recorded 10 albums and scored several hits, beginning with 1983’s “The Walls Came Down” from Modern Romans. The group’s self-titled debut scored an early fan in Peter Gabriel, who called it “the future of American music” and invited the band to open his 1982 Shock The Monkey Tour. Other high-profile champions of The Call included Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr, The Band’s Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson, and even Bono, all of whom guest-starred on Call albums. Bono sang backing vocals on The Call’s only No. 1 hit, “Let The Day Begin,” which was later revived as Al Gore’s campaign song in 2000. Many will also recognize the song “I Still Believe,” which was memorably featured in The Lost Boys—albeit in a cover version performed by bodybuilder/saxophone slinger Tim Capello.
Been was also a frequent sideman in bands fronted by actor Harry Dean Stanton, who had also played harmonica on The Call song “For Love.” He was something of an amateur actor himself, appearing as the apostle John in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ (which is where he met Stanton). After 1997’s To Heaven And Back, The Call mostly stopped recording, though it released the live album, Live Under The Red Moon, in 2000. Since then, Been had dedicated himself to helping Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, mentoring his son’s band and acting as its unofficial fourth member.