Jacen Dean Ekstrom: 1972-2014

Jacen Dean Ekstrom: 1972-2014

Local rock hero JD Ekstrom remembered

A memorial service for family and friends will be held in Calgary this Saturday.

  • Nov. 13, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Ferdy Belland

Cranbrook’s notable hard-rock guitar legend Jacen Dean (“JD”) Ekstrom has died.

Ekstrom was suddenly struck with a ruptured aorta on October 28  while in Calgary and was immediately rushed to Foothills Hospital, where after a brave struggled for his life (and surrounded by his family) he passed away on the afternoon of November 7. He was 42.

Inspired in his teens by the hard-rock sounds of KISS, Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses and the like, Ekstrom displayed an in-born natural talent with the electric guitar, and soon established himself as one of the flashier lead-guitar soloists in the Cranbrook music community. His early local bands (Teaser and Ebony Tusk) were strong draws in local house-parties and rock cabarets, and Ekstrom’s dashing style was inspirational to many young local musicians of the time.

Graduating from Mount Baker Senior Secondary in 1990, Ekstrom then attended the illustrious Selkirk College Music Program in Nelson, B.C., as a Performance Major before striking out on a professional music career.

Ekstrom’s next band 1-900 (based in Calgary, where he made his home) undertook extensive Canadian touring and landed prime support slots for more established artists, but it was when he joined Vancouver’s alternative-rock unit Neurosonic that Ekstrom’s major-label career truly took flight. While in Neurosonic, he performed alongside famous acts such as Korn, Trivium, Atreyu, and Evanescence, and joined the bill on the Family Values and Warped Tour package-showcases.

Ekstrom met Canadian rocker Bif Naked in 2009 through Neurosonic’s management, and after Neurosonic evolved into the new band CrashScene, he found himself as the new lead guitarist for her group. Ekstrom was instrumental in the current resurgence of Bif Naked, appearing live with her as an acoustic duo as well as with the full-bore high-energy electric lineup.

Bif Naked herself recalls her experiences with Ekstrom with an understandable combination of sadness and fondness.

“JD joined the band when I was still finishing my final rounds of cancer treatment,” Bif said. “I was still a sick girl, but I didn’t know that. JD did know, and right from the start he was very kind and protective and helping. Once I realized what an astounding musician he really was, he just continually blew me away. He became my security blanket. I never had to worry onstage when JD was riffing away or shredding out a screaming solo. He became my mentor, and he basically was the bandleader! He always wrote the set lists for every show, he always transcribed the music for our bandmates. His professional demeanour never faltered, ever. Always such a pro. I’m trying to envision what it’ll be like to play music with him gone.

“But it was more than mere musical connection. JD was a good friend to me. One of the last wonderful memories of him was when he and his wife Jenn and their daughter shared dinner with me at my apartment in Vancouver. Such a good visit. Laughter and joy. I feel lucky to have known him for as long as I did.”

A memorial service for family and friends will be held in Calgary this Saturday.

Just Posted

The City of Cranbrook and the Ktunaxa Nation raised the flag of the Ktunaxa Nation at the arches entrance into the city's downtown core during a ceremony on Monday, June 21. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Ktunaxa Nation flag raised at downtown arches entrance

The Ktunaxa Nation flag was raised at the Cranbrook arches — the… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

An example of the timber blowdown that let to the logging at Mountain Station. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Most Read