Rocker holding benefit concert for family of late Cranbrook guitarist

Bif Naked and Friends For JD, January 15 in Calgary

  • Jan. 7, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Jacen “J.D.” Ekstrom  of Cranbrook

Jacen “J.D.” Ekstrom of Cranbrook

Barry Coulter and Ferdy Belland

A Canadian rocker and motivational speaker is holding a fundraising concert next week for the family of a Cranbrook guitarist.

On October 28 of 2014,Jacen “J.D.” Ekstrom — guitarist for Bif Naked and formerly with the alternative rock band Neurosonic — while in Calgary was rushed to the Foothills Hospital due to an aortic dissection — a condition where the main artery (and largest) in the human body tears.

Ekstrom underwent 12 hours of surgery with a 10 per cent chance of survival. He passed away on the afternoon of November 7. He was 42.

Ekstrom was held in the highest regard among Cranbrook musicians, and by Bif Naked (Beth Torbert), whose band Ekstrom joined after he met her in 2009.

Recently, Bif told the metal rock website BraveWords that she will be playing a special tribute show to Ekstrom on Thursday, January 15,at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary, Alberta. She will perform an acoustic set and share an evening to honour Ekstrom, hoping to raise funds for his wife and children.

The concert “Bif and Friends for JD” will take place Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary. Tickets are $30 plus service charges, and all proceeds go to the “Love For JD” fund. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Back in November, 2014, Bif Naked recalled for the Townsman her experiences with Ekstrom.

“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.”