Los Angeles, CA — Alan George Gwyllt (Justin Alan Kase), 64, born January 6, 1955, died Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at the home of a close friend in Los Angeles.
He leaves daughter Alisha Ellison (Brian) and son, Justin Kase, grandchildren Vincent Joseph age 15, and Hudson Robert age 3, sister Karen (Gwyllt) Heddle, and many friends and fans.
Alan with Alisha
Alan grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan the son of Hazel and Les Heddle Sr. who supported his musical dreams throughout their lives.
Alan's home on Sheridan St. in Ypsilanti was the hub of all the local teenage musicians (and fans) with his rehearsal (garage) in the back yard of the neighbor's house. The Garage was the coolest place to hang out as a young teen. Everyone I know has a favorite story of being in the garage watching Air rehearse.
Alan, Scott, Rich, and manager Jim Vanheck
He had a magical gift for playing just about any instrument he picked up.
In his early years, Alan’s parents had given him some very quality instruments.
He had a Guild semi hollow-body 6-string guitar, an Ampeg amplifier with a 15” speaker, a Wurlitzer electric piano, a Farfesia organ and a Shure microphone. He even owned a Sitar! He continued to collect rare instruments throughout his life. Rich Nisbet
The first popular band that formed in the "Garage" was named Blue Air. Rich Nisbet (bass/vocals), Dave Haushalter (guitar), Scott Carter (drums/vocals), and Alan on guitar and various other instruments... Haushalter left the band and it became a 3 piece known as Air.
In 1998, Alan, Scott, and Rich did a one-night reunion of “Air” at TC's Speakeasy in Ypsilanti. They performed “I Wanna Be Free” and “Words of Love”, just like they had done at a talent show 31 years earlier in Junior High.
In 1972 Air went into a studio in Detroit to record 2 originals; “Jump Back” and “Twelve O’Clock Satanial”. They were released on 45 rpm.
In 2018, Kanye West sampled Twelve O’Clock Satanial on an album called “Daytona” that he was producing for Pusha T. The song "If You Know You Know" was written by Terrence Thornton Kanye West Alan Gwyllt and Richard Nisbet. Pusha T performed it on the Jimmy Kimmel show that year and the album was nominated for a Grammy®.
L-R Alan, Bill Jones, Jim King, Ken Gilbert, and Rich Nisbet
Alan and Rich had a jam session with Jim King (keyboards) and Bill Jones (drums), and by adding fantastic lead singer Ken Gilbert they formed the second version of Ann Arbor the band “Masquerade”.
The band played clubs and colleges in Michigan, Indiana and the famous underground bar in Chicago, “Mothers”. But “Second Chance” in Ann Arbor would become their “home” performance venue.
Masquerade with new drummer Neil Buchanan and Mgr Jim Goldberg
After Masquerade went their separate ways, Alan began pursuing a country music career. He wrote many country songs that he sent to Nashville. He won a Charlie Daniel's band songwriting competition twice. He later relocated to Tennessee and changed his name to Justin Alan Kase to pursue his new dream in country music.
Alan had a passion for so many things, not just music, the list is quite vast, here are some of the ones we remember.
He loved rescuing animals and we all thought he might become a Veterinarian some day. He at various times had a Tarantula, Scorpion, many Raccoons and a Kinkajou! Rich remembered his saltwater aquarium. He raised many baby raccoons/possums and took in many stray animals over his lifetime.
Alan's day job over the years was as an upholsterer. He had a pretty good clientele going before his move to Tennessee.
He loved Karate (a black belt), writing, songwriting/arranging/recording, poetry, video games, and was a huge Science Fiction fan.
In 2007, Alan moved to West Florida to be with his parents. He began writing his books there. After his parents passed, He relocated briefly to New Orleans and then on to Los Angeles.
In 2011, as Al G Gwyllt, he became a published author of 6 Sci-Fi books. Here are but 3 of them. Amazon has them all.
Jan. 2018 he moved in with his good friend Doug Brandon and after many years of struggling with end-stage Cirrhosis of the Liver, he passed away in his room April 24, 2019, at 11:55 pm PST.
At this time there are no plans for a funeral/memorial. We will post that info as it comes in. His loving daughter Alisha has asked that if anyone would like to make a contribution to Michigan Rehabilitation Center Home of New Vision in Alan's name. Rock on old friend...xoK
Many thanks to Rich Nisbet and Alisha Ellison for assisting with this story.
If you have photos, videos or a story about Alan please feel free to leave a comment on this post.