Third Power’s Jem Targal Dies at 74

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Third Power’s Jem Targal Dies at 74

The bassist and singer was the Detroit psych rock trio’s primary songwriter

Jem Targal performs with The Third Power

Jem Targal performs with The Third Power in Detroit, Michigan, May 5, 2017. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Third Power bassist, singer, and songwriter Jem Targal has died, his family confirmed. He was 74.

Targal was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After a brief stint in Istanbul (where his father taught at American College), his family eventually settled in Detroit, where he learned to play the violin and guitar. He attended Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where he met Drew Abbott. In 1969 they would form Third Power with drummer Jim Craig.

The band gained traction in a burgeoning Detroit rock scene that included the Stooges and MC5 and quickly signed to Vanguard Records. They released their one and only album Believe in 1970; when it flopped commercially, the band split. Abbott continued on with Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band, and Targal would release his first and only solo album Luckey Guy in 1978.

After Targal’s first heart attack in 2010, he started an interactive storybook project with original music called Junglebird (now Junglebirdy) with his son Jay.

Light in the Attic’s Pat Thomas, who worked closely with Targal on the expanded 2012 reissue of Believe, shared a statement on his passing:

“What I will always remember about Jem was his over the top enthusiasm—I felt like I was working with a 19-year old on their first release, he was just so excited to see this album get reissued properly. He was also beyond playful—often sending me emails with all kinds of wacky messages and wording. Really just a sweet and charming human.”

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