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Tiki Central Forums Beyond Tiki Wesley Willis, R.I.P
Wesley Willis, R.I.P
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1345
Posted: 2003-08-22 4:47 pm   Permalink

Those with an appreciation for truly, deeply "alternative" music will be saddened to learn that Wesley Willis died yesterday at only 40.


Birdman finally kicked his ass...

Rock over London
Rock on Chicago


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 07, 2003
Posts: 462
From: Portland
Posted: 2003-08-22 5:37 pm   Permalink

Wow, that's too bad. I had an encounter w/ Willis in Chicago 6 or 7 years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I thought he was just some huge crazy guy that made a habit out of F-ing w/ the patrons of the club I was in. Everyone seemed to know him and tolerated his antics for the most part. When I got back to Portland some of my friends were all into this guy named Wesley Willis. They were constantly listening to his CD's and talking all about him. All of the sudden I put 2 and 2 together, remembering this big scary crazy guy who everyone called Wesley in Chicago. I looked at the picture on the CD.... It was him. Jeez, I guess I shoulda put this in the meeting someone famous thead. Is/was Wesley Willis famous ? I don't know, but he was definitely something.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 670
From: LBC
Posted: 2003-08-22 7:23 pm   Permalink

Wow Wesley Willis dead, he was on my friends's label, Cornerstone RAS but I never got to meet him or anything. Strange stroke of luck, if the fiasco band hadn't seen him at some dive and asked him to join their band as their leader they would have never became teh Wesley Willis Fiasco and nobody would have ever known about him, he would have just remained some crazy old homeless guy for the rest of his life. And although they had a strong underground punk following, The Fiasco Band really got out there when they brought on Wesley Willis and people would come running out to see this old crazy guy.

Interesting fact on Karma. Wesley Willis Fiasco used to use as theri logo a WWF symbol. They were sued and ordered to cease and disiss by World wrestling Federation to stop using the WWF logo. One year later World Wrestling Federation was sued and ordered to cease and disiss by the World Wildlife Foundation to stop using the WWF, becaues it turned out their copyright was even older. It's karma I tells ya.

[ This Message was edited by: suicide_sam on 2003-08-22 19:35 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 725
From: Vallejo CA
Posted: 2003-08-22 7:53 pm   Permalink

Here's a nice tribute to Willis from the Alternative Tentacles newsletter:

"We lost Wesley Willis some time before 9PM Chicago time August 21,
2003. Word is he died peacefully. The likely cause may be heart
failure. Wesley had been battling leukemia for close to a year.

Wesley will go down as one of the most unique songwriters and
entertainment personalities in history. His music, lyrics, drawings,
insight and the way he put them together are like no one else. Ever.
There will never be another.

As I got to know Wesley, what really struck me was his sheer will
power, his unrelenting drive to succeed and over come a horrifically
poor background, child abuse, racism, chronic schizophrenia and
obesity among other things. He was the most courageous person I have
ever known.

Yet through it all he had such a deep, all-encompassing love of life.
Little things, big things. He loved bus rides. He loved watching
trains. He loved writing songs about how much he loved his friends. He
loved travelling to new towns so he could headbutt new friends. Is
there any band he saw that escaped being in their own song about how
much he loved their show? He was so warm, so sweet, so giving. He
could be a handful when he came to visit; but as soon as he left, we'd
miss him immediately.

As his long time friend Dennis Cooper said, "No More Demons." The
voices in Wesley's head can't yell at him and put him down any more.

Wes was deeply religious. He was afraid that if he died he would no
longer get to go see bands play. If there is a hereafter I hope he's
right up front as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, his beloved Otis
Redding and his dear friend Bradley from Sublime "storm the stage" as
the crowd "roars like a sea monster." All opening for Wesley, of

It will be hard now that he's gone, but I'm not going to let myself
stop enjoying the funny stuff, or the look on people's faces when they
first hear "Rock n Roll McDonald's," or the memories of the good times
and Wesley's big adventures. He wouldn't want it any other way.

There are many down times when all I have to do is think of one of his
songs, something he said or simply marvel at his Wesley-isms, and the
clouds part and a smile comes to my face. I think he does that for a
lot of people. He always will.

Rock over London Rock on Chicago Sail on, Wes. I love you.

Jello Biafra 8-22-03"

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2026
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2003-08-23 02:36 am   Permalink

Hello all -

As I am in the middle of both planning and participating in the Exotica 2003 weekend Tiki festival being held in Chicago this weekend, I am saddened to have to report to all of you the passing of a true Chicago artist, the troubled and oft misunderstood Wesley Willis.

'rock over london, rock on chicago'

As I type this, I have a jammed full house of guests in my home from San Francisco, LA, NYC, New Orleans, and Seattle, all of whom are in town for a celebration of exotic-retro culture, but all of whom also have experienced Wesley's unique artistic vision as it has permeatied to their respective home towns. Together we mourn his passing, and our little pop culture persuits all of a sudden seem even more trite when compared to the demons Wesley faced every day.

Wesley will be missed.

Aloha, Wesley -

Butt my head and say "rah!"


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 1500
From: Huntington Beach, California
Posted: 2003-08-23 09:40 am   Permalink


tikibars wrote:
Hello all -
...I am saddened to have to report to all of you the passing of a true Chicago artist, the troubled and oft misunderstood Wesley Willis....

ummm...huh? Tiki-bot, are you TikiBars too, or is this a really delayed California time to Illinois time delay?


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1345
Posted: 2003-08-25 1:23 pm   Permalink

Hmmm, looks like a cut 'n' paste from a newsletter James sent out perhaps?

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