Isaiah Owens, the Jack White keyboardist known as ‘Ikey,’ was found dead in his Mexico hotel room on Tuesday. The unforeseeable event caused White to cancel the rest of his dates in the country out of respect for his lost collaborator. Owens was 38 years old. Currently the cause of his death is unknown.
Though the cause of Owens death has not been released, a Mexican publication’s coverage of the story stated that marijuana was found in the deceased keyboardist’s hotel room and that he had reportedly been intoxicated the night before. His body was found at the Camino Real Hotel. At this point in time, however, no further information regarding his death has been offered. Regardless, the expansiveness of Owens’ contributions to modern music has caused the musical world to collectively bow its head in respect. Artists like Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Questlove of the Roots flocked to social media Tuesday afternoon to express their sadness and condolences.
The height of Owens career was likely his contributions to White’s music. He hopped onto the Third Man Records team to help record White’s first solo album after the White Stripes, titled Blunderbuss. After the record’s release in 2012, the keyboardist became a staple of White’s crew, contributing to the live set and White’s new album this year, Lazaretto. The musician had recently moved to Nashville in an attempt to further his career as a potential session musician. He had previously worked extensively in the Long Beach scene, but recently decided that Tennessee would be a good fit to pursue musical longevity.
Isaiah Owens, found dead Tuesday morning, discovered success as a keyboardist beyond Jack White as well. He was one of the founding members of the widely successful group, The Mars Volta. The band went on to win a Grammy in 2009 and was widely acclaimed as one of the best progressive rock bands of the decade. In addition to his contributions to White’s music and The Mars Volta, the eclectic keyboardist also founded the Free Moral Agents band. The Agents were Owens’ attempt to expand his solo portfolio, and proved successful for a number of years. He had also recorded and worked with dozens of other upcoming artists, mostly within the California scene. Despite his early death, his work is considered to be incredibly significant, especially in relation to his special contributions to White.
Jack White’s Third Man Records released an official statement after keyboardist Isaiah Owens was found dead Tuesday morning. Third Man expressed their grief for the situation, remarking that he was, and will always be, an exceptional talent that will be sorely missed by his fellow musicians, fans, and family alike. The statement also addressed White’s final two shows in Mexico, both of which are cancelled out of respect. The first show was scheduled for Tuesday night, with the second following on Wednesday. Regardless, fans have been supportive of White’s decision, expressing similar dismay to Owens’ passing. White’s touring schedule will resume in November, likely after a search to replace Owens since he was a pivotal part of the live performance.
By Brett Stewart