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 6:00 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Marysville Arena will not open right now. Bulletin file
Marysville Arena to remain closed for now, Kimberley Council decides

Kimberley City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to keep the Marysville arena closed for the start of the ice season.

An example of the entrance to Marysville, where Sustainable Kimberley says a few trees could make a world of difference.
Sustainable Kimberley makes presentation to Council

Group looking to increase urban green space

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Slippery roads led to this crash in West Trail on Friday morning. Photo: Trail RCMP
First snow in Kootenays causes multiple crashes; one suspected of involving alcohol

The Trail and Greater District RCMP’s weekly brief contains details on collisions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

Most Read