August 23, 2003 by

Wesley Willis

12 comments

Categories: Musicians

wwillis.jpgWesley Willis, a musician and underground icon in Chicago, died on Aug. 21. Cause of death was not released. He was 40.
Willis began his music career performing on the street. He opened for a few local bands until 1989 when he was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. Several years of mental illness and homelessness followed as Willis struggled to play music and battle what he called the “schizophrenia demons” in his head.
In 1992, Willis and guitarist Dale Meiners formed the Wesley Willis Fiasco. The band, which Willis fronted, built up a cult following by recording more than 50 albums of indie music and rants, and getting airplay on the “Doctor Demento Show.”
Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, released two of Willis’ albums: “Greatest Hits, Volume I” and “Volume II,” on the Alternative Tentacles Records label. “Greatest Hits, Volume 3” is scheduled for release on Oct. 6.

12 Responses to Wesley Willis

  1. Haggis Mcbasher

    ilove wesley. iliked him fairly well, he really rocked the underground scene like whooping a llamma’s behind with a belt. R.I.P WESLEY ALL OUR LOVE THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION YOU HAVE GIVEN ME – YOUR BIGGEST FANS – THE NUCKLHEDZ. PEACE OUT.

  2. Caleb

    wesley is the man. he still fuckinng is!!! i cant believe he died. this just sucks. the only thing positive i can say is that finally, wesley can rest in peace without anymore demons. rock on wesley willis, rock on.

  3. David bobo

    WES-LEY WIL-LIS, WES-LEY WIL-LIS,
    WES-LEY WIL-LIS, WES-LEY WIL-LIS,
    WES-LEY WIL-LIS, WES-LEY WIL-LIS
    Wesley Willis really knows to rock.
    You should have to honor you.

  4. Count Fagula

    Absolute genius…Wesley brings the Casio to a whole new meaning. I especially enjoy his early funk roots and then later experimentation with the Casio fill button.

  5. Gladsome Feogan

    I showed Wesley a song I’d written for him. He handed it back pretty much immediately and said “You gonna buy a CD?”
    “How much are they?” “12 Dollars”. “Oh man, I ain’t got 12 dollars”. Then, he totally dismissed me with his hand. “Next Time”. Yay! I was taken to skool on the small bus by a real businessnan. Wesley Rocked, man. Now he driving the biggest bus they ever sawwwwwwww.

  6. jason cells

    i love wesley like a stick of butter, everyday i think of him, even two years after he escaped his demons, i miss him bunches cause he rocked out like a magickiss!!! i hope he’s in heaven whuppin’ ol’ dirty bastard’s ass with a belt!

  7. suckachettahsdick

    wesley was shawns biggest fan. ever time i listened to his tunes it felt like being put in a dryer with tennis balls…..wheeties, the breakfast of champions,… ponatic, now were drivng in excitiment…….RIP big willie!

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