This Day in Death

3.31.14: House Music Pioneer Frankie Knuckles – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:41 pm April 28, 2014

Sincerely, White People


Sad times as Chicago-based house music legend Frankie Knuckles has died. So if you’ve driven through Chicago recently and witnessed a lot of bouncing happening on the highway, there’s a 60% chance it was someone honoring Knuckles’ memory with some serious house bumpage and a 40% chance that the city still hasn’t bothered to address their network of gaping, cavernous potholes. Fucking hell, Chicago, this isn’t The Road Warrior, fill that shit in already.

While developing his DJ persona, Knuckles became an early advocate of cutting up reel-to-reel tapes to lengthen the most exciting parts for his guests, like some sort of musical EztenZe. When the Ecstasy-fueled rave scene exploded in the 80s, Knuckles preferred to hold tight to his sexy, R&B roots, delivering aphrodisiacal grooves like some sort of musical Viagra. Sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of comment spam lately. Point is, Knuckles became a genuine producer, going so far as to convince artists to rerecord their parts exclusively for his remixes:

“[When] you’ve got someone as big as Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson sitting there saying, ‘Whatever you want, however you want it, I’ll stay here as long as you need me,’ that’s the reward right there,” Knuckles said in 2011. “All the programmers I worked with were all classically trained musicians . . . I was teaching them a different side of what it is they do. Infusing certain ideas like Debussy-esque piano over a very thick house track or bass line is something that blew their minds. It blew mine, too, but it’s something they never imagined and/or heard of before . . . We didn’t know if it would work or not, but it did.”

Despite his innovation, Knuckles’ traditional style had eroded in popularity over the years due to the crunkitization of the younger generation, what with their high-top sneakers and their ironic t-shirts and whatever the hell these things are. But it’s all part of the cycle with this kind of thing, I suppose. Eventually every trend burns out, and maybe some day Knuckles’ style will return to the fore, causing his legacy to surge mightily upward and once again bring pleasure to dark and sweaty rooms across the country, like some sort of musical Cialis. Oh, goddammit!

Source: Rolling Stone

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4.8.14: The Ultimate Warrior – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:01 am April 25, 2014

ULTIMATE_WARRIORFull disclosure: I accidentally merged my “Ultimate Warrior” folder with my “Tan Mom” folder, so I cannot in good conscious swear to the appropriateness of today’s image.


At this point I really shouldn’t need to remind you that I don’t like to bother with sports posts around here. Sorry, but if I cared that much about stats and scores I’d be paying a lot closer attention to where I fall in my family’s power rankings. I called bullshit on that noise two years ago when I only made fifth seed.

But considering that professional wrestling is technically only a sport in the same way that Power Wheels are technically cars, I’m gonna let it slide. Besides, it’s not often I get to break out the “bicep tassels” tag. So, it’s with broken hearts and breakable folding chairs that we mourn the death of James Hellwig, a.k.a. the Ultimate Warrior. Oh man! And we were so close to making “queer” into a verb!

“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” a statement read.

Warrior, born James Brian Hellwig, legally changed his name in 1993. The cause of his death was not mentioned.

Wait, he legally changed his name to Warrior? That’s a little grandiose, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m a little skeptical of this whole motif. I mean, come on… Ultimate Warrior? As in, like, the A-one, top warrior of them all? And it’s a guy with a chest slathered in Vicks VapoRub and hair like somebody put a Barbie doll in the dryer? That’s our most ultimate of warriors? …Well, alright then. Far be it from me to argue these kinds of points with a guy who must’ve owned literal crates of singlet deodorizer. I guess you can just step the hell off, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, all of Sparta, and untold thousands of samurai; It looks like you’ve all been out-warriored by a guy who had his face painted neon like he was at a nine-year-old’s birthday party. You’re just gonna have to duke it out for the title of Penultimate Warrior, or possibly Ultimate Utility Combatant. Either one would still look pretty sweet spelled out in rhinestones on the back of a bathrobe, though.

Source: ABC News

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4.5.14: Comedian John Pinette – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:14 pm April 21, 2014

JOHN_PINETTEWho still wears a wristwatch? What are you, a bank robber in an 80s heist movie?


Being able to make someone laugh is an admirable skill, and someday I hope to give it a try myself. The most immediate route to getting that sweet rush of artistic validation is to try stand-up comedy, but unfortunately that game can be really intimidating until you develop your own unique lowbrow gimmick. Luckily all you really need is one easily digestible physical characteristic that the flyover states can feel good about, and then you just wring the holy living hell out of it on your personal rocket ride to Yuktown (Yuktown is in outer space). You could be a cute woman who says outrageous and unexpectedly sexual things, like Sarah Silverman. Or you could be a cute woman who says outrageous and unexpectedly sexual things, like Whitney Cummings. Or what about being a cute woman who says outrageous and unexpectedly sexual things, like Natasha Leggero? Perhaps you could blaze a brave new trail by being a cute woman who says outrageous and unexpectedly sexual things, like Amy Schumer. Or you could just have severe brain trauma, like Russel Brand. Pioneers, one and all.

Of course, if you have a functioning frontal lobe and a penis, then congratulations! Just in general it’s pretty great, not to mention that it really raises your dating stock. But it also means that your comedic path is even clearer: Get wild-ass, no regrets fat. Gabriel Iglesias, Ralphie May, Artie Lange… these are guys who “got” it. Just treat your body like it’s storing up supplies for nuclear winter and before you know it the jokes will practically be running through your veins. And they’ll have plenty of room to move, since your heart will have already decided not to bother trying to pump blood anymore.

Such was the career arc of longtime fat-centric comic John Pinette, who’s died at the age of 50. Oh. Well then, maybe don’t listen to my advice after all. Sorry for not reading ahead, now all the hate mail seems pretty justified.

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3.23.14: Dave Brockie, Gwar’s Oderus Urungus – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:54 pm April 16, 2014

DAVE_BROCKIEWear all the spiked gauntlets you want, they still won’t let you out of jury duty unless you say you hate the Mexicans.


Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, frontman for absurdist metal band Gwar, has died at the age of 50. Brockie was the final surviving original member of the band, and his death throws their future into question, although I’m sure a guy named Balsac the Jaws of Death should be able to get into a good temp agency until he can get back on his feet. Not that I don’t sympathize: I shattered a lot of dreams when I left my Greek mythology-based improv troupe, Jason and the ArgoNuts. But really, did the underground comedy scene really need another Hellanicus of Lesbos bit?

Brockie had been in a punk band named Death Piggy that staged crude plays when he founded Gwar in 1984. After meeting band member Hunter Jackson, who had created props for Death Piggy and began work on the film Scumdogs of the Universe, Brockie used the outlandish costumes created for the film to form the joke group Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh. After numerous lineup changes and the shortening of the band name, Brockie dissolved Death Piggy and led Gwar, who released their debut album Hell-O in 1988.

Gwar had a practiced silliness to everything they did, from a giant worm monster that ate audience members to giving everyone in the band goofy names, like Oderus Urungus, Jizmak Da Gusha, Flattus Maximus, and Engelbert Humperdinck. Basically, Gwar is what KISS would’ve been if Paul Stanley and his merry band of pancake makeup enthusiasts had the self-awareness necessary to realize that nobody will ever be genuinely intimidated by a bunch of dudes wearing foam rubber stilettos. Ooh, please don’t scratch my eyes out with your Lee Press-On Nails there, Mr. Space Cat!

You would think a band as offensive and relatively high-profile as Gwar would have left a path of incensed stay-at-home moms in their wake, but for whatever reason they managed to avoid having much in the way of mainstream controversy. My theory is that Gwar is the perfect example of exactly how subtle satire has to be to keep Americans from melting down into full-on “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” mode. Satire any more delicate and we’re so convinced it’s real we’ll tear a tendon reposting that shit to Facebook, but any less so and we’re opening up the gates to a thousand more years of Kevin James movies. Here’s a little chart to help you visualize just where our sexy country’s comedic comprehension falls on the spectrum of most to least subtle satire (click to enlarge, because all that high-quality comedy simply couldn’t be contained in a jpeg this size): SUBTLE_SPECTRUM

Lookin good, America! Before you know it you’ll be bragging to Canada about how you “totally get Colin Quinn’s Twitter feed now.” These colors don’t run, except occasionally from intellectual stimulation!

Source: Rolling Stone

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4.6.14: Mickey Rooney – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:14 am April 14, 2014

MICKEY_ROONEYRooney, seen here mere seconds before the midnight deadline that would revert his head back into a pumpkin.


Legendary diminutive actor/aged Chucky doll Mickey Rooney has died, but I don’t think I have to explain to you guys why I just can’t seem to relate to that news. I mean, I’m a hip, young playa, as evidenced by the fact that I just did a pretty bangin’ Alta Vista search for “current slang terms.” Rooney was representative of Old Hollywood, and that’s an era that just can’t keep step with us young go-hards and our Pinterested hashtavism. That’s why I feel it’s my cultural duty to finally unveil my new Movie Poster Modernizer, a precision-engineered algorithm guaranteed to twerk the shit out of your old boring promotional materials long enough to trick millennials into parting with their sweet, sweet endlessly-disposable income. Just look at this upgrade to the poster for Gone With the Wind:


Aww yeah, son! Those clutch shades let you know Clark Cable is a baller, and the 45 degree tilt is worth the loss of information. It’s a pretty good fix, but that poster really didn’t need too much work, what with the awesome fire going on in the background and some major cleave spillin’ out all front and center. But Rooney’s films were some class ‘A’ snorefests. Just look at this poster for one of his best-known works, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World:


I mean, seriously? Look at that lineup: Spencer Tracy? Bro, are you even trending? And Sid Caesar’s social media presence seems to have completely dropped off since late February. If you’re not gonna commit to the form then don’t dip your toes in, Caesar! No, this one is basically gonna have to be rebuilt from the ground up, but I think the Modernizer’s up to the task. Let’s see what things looks like with the swerve all turnt up or something:


It looks like this new swaggin’ version’s got all your favorite 2014 Q2 search terms. There’s the Maroon 5 guy, the princess from Frozen, and both ironically-popular triple-named Neils; deGrasse Tyson and Patrick Harris. Plus Nicki Minaj because feminism, and somehow Riddick got in there too, which was probably a bit of a wildcard, if I’m being honest. Truly, this one is a masterpiece of lowest common denomination. I tell you, this technology pays for itself. Now all I need is the address for the Captain of Hollywood and I should be on easy street from now on. This will probably end up being my last post, actually.

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3.5.14: Game Show Host Geoff Edwards – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:42 pm April 11, 2014

GEOFF_EDWARDS“Hey, you guys saw Seven, right? Oh. Well, you probably don’t wanna look in 29, then.”


According to a sentence I need to start this paragraph, being on a game show is a lot like life: There’s way too much standing around, just about all the detail you’d ever want to know about the person next to you can be summed up with three fun facts, and how much skill a person has at it is directly proportional to how skeptical and/or spiteful we are towards them. Also, sometimes there are a bunch of marines there for some reason.

That completely legitimate analogy brings us to the news that Geoff Edwards, best know as the host of the game shows Jackpot! and Treasure Hunt, has died. On a positive note, if we play this just right, it might mean we’re gonna walk out of this post with a Wink Martindale blurb in our pocket. NO WHAMMY, BLOCK QUOTE!

“Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Oh yeah, there it is. Seriously, if you don’t care what a guy named Wink has to say, then you and I are traveling on two roads that are simply never gonna intersect. We get a real-life Guy Smiley in here and you people don’t even know how to appreciate it. That’s why Drew Carey ended up hosting Price, you know.



Source: ABC News

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