Jem Targal, the bassist, singer, and primary songwriter for the Detroit psych rock trio Third Power, has died. His family confirmed the news in a social media post. He was 74.
Targal was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When he was two years old, his family moved to Teke near Istanbul, Turkey, where his father taught at American College, before eventually returning to Michigan. It was in Detroit, where the family settled, that Targal learned to play the violin and the guitar. He attended Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where he met Drew Abbott. They formed Third Power in 1969 alongside drummer Jim Craig.
The band became a favorite in the local club circuit that also included the MC5, the Stooges, and SRC and quickly signed to Vanguard Records. They released their one and only LP, Believe, in 1970, but after it flopped commercially, the trio disbanded. Abbott would go on to become a longtime staple in Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band, while Targal issued his first and only solo album, Luckey Guy, in 1978.
Light in the Attic’s Pat Thomas, who worked closely with Targal on the 2012 reissue of Believe, said in a statement about his passing (via Pitchfork): “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.”