“We’re on a mission from God.”
–Elwood, “The Blues Brothers”
Comedian John Belushi died on this day in 1982. Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of comedian John Candy’s death. What connected these two men, outside of appearing in “National Lampoon” movies and having the same first name? The unproduced movie Atuk, which I’ve just written about. Both men were allegedly considering starring in the title role of Atuk at the time of their passings.
Belushi would live on past his death, in a way, in the bizarre 1984 biopic Wired—as well as being the unofficial inspiration for the character Slimer in the 1985 movie Ghostbusters (you can read about both in my post about the synchronicities surrounding fellow SNL alum Bill Murray’s career).
I woke up yesterday to the horrible news that The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint had taken his own life. Flint was 49. I used to play The Prodigy’s 1997 album The Fat Of The Land repeatedly as I worked as a young assistant editor at Acclaim Comics. As a deep cut off that album, I’d recommend “Narayan.”
OK, so I was discussing Kurt Cobain and how so many of those 90s musicians have died—overwhelmingly either by suicide and/or drug overdose—just two weeks ago, right?
I started going through the list again of all the 90’s era musicians I used to listen to who are now dead, but stopped when I realized what a morbid undertaking it all was. Actually, I got as far as mapping out the major “untimely” deaths of musicians in general during the 1990s:
MUSICIAN DEATHS, 1990s (Selected List)
1990: Joel Rundell, Better Than Ezra. 24, Suicide
1990: Stevie Ray Vaughan. 35, Helicopter Accident
1991: Steve Clark, Def Leppard. 30, Drug Overdose
1993: GG Alin. 36, Drug Overdose
1993: Mia Zapata, The Gits. 27, Murder
1993: Doug Hopkins, The Gin Blossoms. 32, Suicide
1993: River Phoenix, Alexa’s Attic. 23, Drug Overdose
1994: Kurt Cobain, Nirvana. 27, Suicide
1994: Kristen Pfaff, Hole. 27, Drug Overdose
1995: Shannon Hoon, Blind Melon. 28, Drug Overdose
1995: Richey Edwards, Manic Street Preachers. 27, Suspected Suicide
1995: Selena. 23, Murder
1995: Easy-E, N.W.A.. 30, Complications Due To AIDS
1996: Tupac Shakur. 25, Murder
1996: Bradley Nowell, Sublime. 28, Drug Overdose
1996: Jonathan Melvoin, Smashing Pumpkins: 34, Drug Overdose
1997: Jeff Buckley, 30, Accidental Drowning
1997: The Notorious B.I.G.. 24, Murder
1997: Michael Hutchence, INXS. 37, Suicide or Accidental Strangulation
1998: Rob Pilatus, Milli Vanilli. 33, Drug Overdose
1998: Wendy O. Williams, The Plasmatics. 48, Suicide
1998: Falco. 40, Traffic Accident
1999: Mark Sandman, Morphine. 46, Heart Attack
1999: Bobby Sheehan, Blues Traveler. 31, Drug Overdose
It just gives you an idea of the sort of “energy” surrounding the music scene at that time. I realize that every era has their share of musician passings, and it’s very possible that the only reason this is all sticking out so clearly in my mind is that that was the decade of my teen years/early twenties. But still…it always seemed a little bit “dark” back then.
But the seeming inability of the frontmen for many of my favorite 90’s bands to survive past middle age is becoming increasingly concerning. I have to add to this the fact that many of my own peers—especially if they are the sensitive/intellectual/spiritual sort—are just struggling in general to feel a sense of belongingness and purpose. What was it about my generation?
This of course all leads to the OTHER big death from yesterday, that of actor Luke Perry. Talk about your Nineties icon! Perry of course played James Dean-like character Dylan McKay on the TV series Beverly Hills 90210. Because modern entertainment must always be self-referential and metatextual (not a criticism, just an observation), the contemporary teen drama Riverdale cast Perry as main protagonist Archie Andrews’ dad.
Supposedly, Perry suffered a major stroke on the same day the news broke that there was going to be a revival of Beverly Hills 90210. I could not help but have the morbid thought that now the central plot for this revival, should it still go on, has been “written” for them. Obviously: Dylan passes away and the whole gang has to come back together.
But 52, the age Perry passed, still feels a bit too young—especially as I just turned 45. As always, I turn this into a thing about myself. But how can I not? Isn’t a large part of our attention at celebrity deaths—especially celebs from formidable times in our lives—about our own mortality? And just the impermanence of it all.
Anyway, Luke Perry seemed to have a really good sense humor about himself; and indeed, made somewhat of a career revival literally playing himself in shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy—shades of Adam West!
Well, this was an epically morbid journal entry so far…let’s try to lighten it up with weird news from around the Web (do people even call it the “Web” anymore?):
- For starters, take a look at a “real-life” Pikachu (not a Photoshop, just a rare genetic mutation).
- Francois Fluckiger, successor at CERN of internet creator Tim Berners-Lee, expresses regret and dismay over what the World Wide Web has become. Apparently, so has Berners-Lee himself. Also, CERN apologizes for destroying the stability of the space-time continuum back in 2012. I made that last one up.
- Conspiracy maven Jerome Corsi has officially apologized to the family of Seth Rich for spreadin’ rumors. Following Corsi’s lead, so did the publisher of many of his articles, Infowars. It is, as they say, the end of an era. We’re still sort of dazed amongst the rubble and mardi gras beads trying to figure out what that era exactly was.
- Russian investigators are officially reopening the mysterious case of the Dyatlov Pass incident, in which a student hiking group met gruesome deaths in 1959. The “relatives, media and the public want to know the truth,” a spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office said in an announcement, banging his impressive gloved fist forcefully on the podium for emphasis. I made that last detail up.
- And they call them “Pot Dogs”: a number of pets on Cape Cod are getting high from eating discarded blunts. Lamented one Orleans resident about her 12-year-old minipoodle Brahms: “He was so stoned, it was terrible.” If you suspect your dog or cat might have ingested marijuana, tell them that the best way to get “high” is on life…not drugs. Then ground them. Don’t fall for their big sad eyes.
I was overhearing this conversation yesterday, the guy was talking to his girlfriend on the phone with the speaker on and he’s like:
Him: “You know you trouble, right? You know you trouble?”
Him: “You know you trouble, right? You can do whatever you want. You can do WHATEVER you want. You know you trouble, right?”
I guess I’ll leave it there. Have a good Tuesday.