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Published on February 6th, 2014 | by Alan Cross

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A Weird Canadian Musical Connection to the Death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman

SPH was one of my all-time favourite actors.  Although he had roles with higher profile roles, his part as a grumpy CIA agent in Charlie Wilson’s War had him stealing scene after scene.  The man was quite possibly the best actor of his generation.

The investigation into his death has turned up an odd Canadian connection. Robert Aaron is acclaimed studio musician.  That’s him playing the saxophone on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”  He can also be heard playing the flute throughout Amy Winehouse’s Frank album.  He once toured as a keyboard play for Wyclef Jean’s band. And he’s played with everyone from Mick Jagger to Blondie to Chic.

Aaron’s real name is Robert Vineberg, a Montreal-born musician who records for a Paris-based label called Heavenly Sweetness.

But as the gigs tried up, Vineberg looked at other sources of income.  On Tuesday evening, he was one of four people arrested and charged with drug possession and criminal use of drug paraphenalia.  It’s alleged that the heroin that killed Phillip Seymour Hoffman can somehow be traced to Vineberg.  He’s being held without bail.

With reports from the New York Times, International Business Times and Heavy.com.

Meanwhile, here’s the video for Michael Penn’s “Try.”  Watch for Hoffman in a role as a roadie in the same character he played in Boogie Nights.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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