By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
2008 didn't see the admission of anyone from last year's death pool into the Great Afterparty, but 2009 was a moderate success—if you include holdover picks from earlier Death Pools. Sure enough: Michael Jackson (picked in 2006) and Les Paul (selected to die in 2007) both made it past the velvet rope this past year.
And, since death is inevitable, here are 10 more musicians who ought to warn their bodyguards to be on the lookout for the skinny guy with a scythe in 2010.
Lil Wayne. If the perpetually giggly rapper could just be satisfied with blunts and bitches, he wouldn't be on this list. But his rap sheet also includes tranquilizers, painkillers and guns. Plus, he's likely to do time for his attempted gun possession conviction, and prison probably won't be a cakewalk for a guy whose nickname is "Lil."
Kid Rock. Yes, he's an unapologetic partier, so it's no leap to speculate that a motorcycle accident or an OD could do him in. But we're hoping—excuse us, make that "we're objectively pointing out the possibility"—that Warren Zevon and Ronnie Van Zant will claw themselves out of their graves and personally dispatch Kid to the real rock 'n' roll Jesus for what he did to "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama."
Steven Tyler. After falling off the stage, then the wagon, and eventually casting doubt on the future of Aerosmith, the overly lipped singer entered treatment for painkiller addiction in late December. Putting him on death watch is a real shot in the dark, of course, since celebrities so rarely relapse after rehab.
John Frusciante. Without the modicum of stability the Red Hot Chili Peppers provided, this former junkie might easily find himself sliding into old, bad habits like the potentially lethal combination of crack, heroin, alcohol and awful solo albums.
Abe Vigoda. The legendary 88-year-old actor has shrugged off false reports of his demise since People reported him dead in 1982. However, he is not a musician, so in his stead we predict that the California tropical-punk band of the same name will die of collective old age. With four members in their early 20s, that adds up to roughly the same age as the original Vigoda, who is older than God.
Ravi Shankar. Though he leads a healthy lifestyle free of the excesses of his rock 'n' roll acolytes, the man you can thank for introducing the sitar to hippies and for fathering Norah Jones is now 89—older than even Abe Vigoda.
Gene Simmons. One can only imagine that being a 60-year-old hard-rock star and never using any mind-altering substance is something like the psychological equivalent of having a 40-year case of blue balls. No wonder he's acted like a dick for years—dogging Muslims, supporting the Iraq invasion, blaming fans for record-industry woes, bragging about how many groupies he's fucked and allegedly assaulting fans in malls. Maybe he'll grow tired of la petite mort and go for the big one.
David Hasselhoff. The Baywatch and Knight Rider star's pop albums are almost as popular in Germany as beer, which he seems to enjoy a little too much judging by the infamous drunken hamburger-eating home video and multiple hospitalizations for alcohol poisoning. Sorry, Dirk.