"An Original, Unknown Hero"
August 24, 2003
I didn't find out until Friday, August 22, which made it all the worse news to have heading into the weekend. Wesley Willis was a large, black, schizophrenic musician that lived in Chicago. While the details of his life are mostly unknown or made up, he was a very friendly person and, at the same time, a force to be reckoned with. Wesley died on Thursday, August 21 of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.
My version of the Wesley Willis story goes as such: He was homeless and living of the streets of Chicago. Somehow he came upon a Casio keyboard and began playing around with it when he stumbled upon the introduction beat that it greets its consumers with. Wesley liked the music and played it repeatedly until lyrics started floating out of his mouth. (Remember that he was schizophrenic). Eventually, he became reknowned for his music and songs and hooked up with a record label in Chicago.
Somehow, he grew a cult following for his "music", even though all of the supporting music for his lyrics was exactly the same and each song ended with "Rock over London, Rock on Chicago, [Enter advertising jingle here]." Regardless, over time, he put out over 50 albums and at least 3 greatest hits albums.
Some of his more memorable songs, mostly because of humorous lyrics or catchier phrasings, include "Cut the Mullet", "I whooped Batman's Ass", "Alanis Morissette", and "Rock and Roll McDonald's". Many of his songs were made up in a short amount of time, and many came from feelings about a concert recently attended.
Although he never acheived the same kind of noteriety that other "mainstream" musicians acheive, he was fortunate enough to put out those many albums and have a video for "Alanis Morissette" (and possibly more) on MTV2. He left behind many adoring fans who will always speaking fondly of being headbutted. I just wish I could have been one of the proud.
Goodbye, Wesley. I hope the demons have left you.
Rock over, London
Rock on, Chicaco
YOU whooped a llama's ass.
Posted by dennis @ 09:57 PM