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Wesley Willis...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Wonder138, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Wonder138

    Wonder138Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Dec 2, 2009
     
    Whats every ones idea on Wesley Willis supposedly he was punk and people would actually mosh at his shows so who he is
    dose any body know what im talking about he was like a semi-retarded guy he sung I whooped batman's ass

    this is a link to one of his shows live
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubmu8N8tx34
     

  2. Rathryn

    RathrynExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 21, 2009
     
    Sounds.... interesting lol
    Gonna give them a proper listen 'fore I give 'im a decent reaction ;)
     
  3. Rathryn

    RathrynExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 21, 2009
     
    I know, I know.... double-post...
    Anyway:
    From the 2-3 songs I've heard so far it sounds like a black and better version of Henry Rollins and his Rollins Band project.
    Less of the weird experimental artsy shit, except for the lyrics 0.o, and more of the heavy, slow, destructive goodness. This is off the Spookydisharmoniusconflicthellride-album mind you, couldn't find any others.
     
  4. Bentheanarchist

    BentheanarchistExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Dec 10, 2010
     
    Funny stuff
     
  5. The Hat

    The HatExperienced Member Experienced member


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    First of all, Wesley Willis wasn't "Retarded" but a schizophrenic.
    He was one of seven children in the city of Chicago.
    When he was a young man, he saved up enough money to move out of his mother's apartment, but his mother's new boyfriend, a crack addict, robbed him at gun point for the money, thus triggering Wesley's schizophrenia.

    Some would consider Wesley Willis an "Idiot Savant" as he was a very talented illustrator who basically drew pictures of buildings, and public transportation vehicles. He was also a musician who released solo C.D.s, and worked with local musicians in a band called The Wesley Willis Fiasco. It is many people's opinion, including mine, that his work with The Wesley Willis Fiasco is better than his solo output.

    In the 90s, if you lived in Chicago, one could see him in the neighborhood of Wicker Park selling his C.D.s to anybody and everybody. He was big, and came across as imposing and intimidating, and would ask in a loud voice "You wanna buy one of my hot ass rock and roll C.D.s?" this could be scary and terrifying to anybody who didn't know him or who he was. If he liked you, and engaged in conversation, he would inevitably want you to bump foreheads and say "Rah" He would do this repeatedly until one of you decided to stop. It would usually be the other party. This is why Wesley had that "Spot" on the middle of his forehead.

    When on his medication, Wesley Willis could be lucid, and even friendly if he decided he liked you, but when he was off his medication, he could be a nightmare to be around. He heard voices in his head that told him he was a bad person, and out of the blue, for no reason except only known to himself, he would start yelling at people and cursing them out, and could say very nasty things to people he didn't know.

    Wesley Willis eventually garnered the attention of both The Beastie Boys, and Jello Biafra. Both wanted to sign him, but The Beastie Boys passed expressing that they had too much respect for him, and didn't want to be seen as exploiting him or putting him on display as some sort of freak show. Jello, on the other hand signed Wesley to Alternative Tentacles records and put out two compilations of songs gathered from previous C.D.s entitled Wesley Willis' Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2.

    Wesley Willis died in 2003 due to complications attributed to Leukemia. Jello Biafra delivered the eulogy at his funeral.

    This is just a brief gloss over of the history of Wesley Willis and who he was as a person, because I could really go on and on about him, so please to an internet search to find out more and fill in the blanks, because I don't have the time, and I don't want to be seen as an forum hog.
     
  6. Red Menace

    Red MenaceActive Member Forum Member


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    I thought the music was terrible. Not interested in listening to unfunny ramblings by a man with serious mental health issues. And no matter what people say, the majority of people were just laughing AT him. I've also read things written by people who knew him who said that some of the record labels he recorded for completely ripped him off because they knew he was not capable of being able to stand up for his legal and financial rights.
     
  7. The Hat

    The HatExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Many people in Chicago took Wesley Willis very seriously, and were more than aware of his schizophrenia. His solo stuff sounded the same, but The Wesley Willis Fiasco was much different. Definitely more of a punk rock, and heavy metal sound. Almost nobody in Chicago laughed at Wesley but supported him and cheered him on. As I stated in my earlier post, Grand Royal Records (Owned and operated by Mike D. of The Beastie Boys) decided at the last minute to NOT sign him because they didn't want to be seen as exploiting him. As for people who signed him, the only label I know of that actually signed hi was Alternative Tentacles, and they basically compiled what they thought was the best of what was already released. Wesley Willis as a solo artist and with The Fiasco was all put out independently and, as I said earlier, Wesley sold those by himself on the streets of Wicker Park by himself. I can't speak for Jello Biafra, and/or Alternative Tentacles but if anybody ever ripped him off, it would most likely be any record/C.D. shop that bought his C.D.s in bulk at a wholesale price. (This is all speculation, of course) If you think his music was terrible, fine. Everybody has a right to their own opinion, and I'd rather listen to The Wesley Willis Fiasco than any of his solo material. However, while you think his lyrics were unfunny, again one is entitled to their opinion, but they were NOT ramblings. His mental health status is widely known, and already discussed, so I won't reiterate what's already been posted. Now, however, if one has an appreciation for THE SHAGGS, then one might see the charm in what Wesley Willis was trying to achieve with his music.

    Again, everybody is entitled to their opinion.
     
  8. Red Menace

    Red MenaceActive Member Forum Member


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    If you don't immediately see how it's exploitative, I don't know what to say. Homeless schizophrenic black man playing to white audiences with a "let's look at the crazy black freak" attitude.

    There's an article written online by some guy who worked with him who goes into detail about how little of the money generated by Wesley Willis actually went to Wesley Willis and was just siphoned off by people taking advantage of him. I can't find it now though (can't remember the guys name at the moment), but it's definitely out there.

    I don't care what people in Chicago thought early on. That's like 1% of people who heard him. He put out A LOT of records. Discogs.com lists 34 releases, which isn't even close to complete. Some were self released, but there's tons of compilation tracks and he even had stuff out on a major label. And they profited off it and many didn't pay him.

    It's just the same music track with him saying nonsense over it for people to laugh at. That's not music. That's exploitation. I knew a lot of people who "liked" Wesley Willis. Every one of them, in my opinion, was just laughing at him.

    Also, plenty of other people have written from a similar viewpoint of the exploitation and generally sick attitude of frat boys laughing at the "crazy black guy":

    The Wesley Willis Question | Arts | The Harvard Crimson
    Not With The Band: The Problem With Mentally Ill Artists - rock nyc
    Michael Fountain: Blood for Ink: Heartbreaker, Nervewrecker, Meansucker—Which of You Stole Wesley Willis’ Money?
     
  9. The Hat

    The HatExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Well the fact of the matter is I'm from the Chicago area, and used to run into Wesley Willis on a regular basis, so I think I know of which I speak. I can't speak for anybody outside of the Chicago area, who did not live here in the 90s when he was alive, and he wasn't always homeless. there were plenty of people through the years who gave him a place to stay. And almost nobody had the "Lets look at the crazy black freak" attitude you talk about, at least not in Chicago where he was loved and respected. It might seem that way to somebody who doesn't live in Chicago, and didn't live in Chicago in the 90s, but take it from somebody who was a fan, and knew the man on certain levels, that was not the attitude of most of the people who saw him and supported him in Chicago. (I'm not saying that this didn't happen, but those people were in the minority in Chicago)

    If you can remember the name of the person who worked with Wesley, and can provide a link to the article in question, I would be more than interested in reading it.

    I just went to Discogs to see what they had, and I'll admit my ignorance in the fact that i didn't know that American Records had put out compilations of previously released material. As far as exploitation and ripping off the man, this is one place where I think this is one place where we see eye to eye.

    The solo stuff is the same music, and yes, people laugh at his songs, but some of those songs are funny. I mean, Mr. Magoo goes to jail? Fred Flintstone as a train robber? Maybe I have a warped sense of humor, (Wouldn't be the first time i've been accused of such things) and if you think that's exploitation, you have a right to your opinion, but thats not how I see it. If that's exploitation, then you might as well blame Austin Wiggins for exploiting his three daughters for buying them instruments and forming The Shaggs. And you can take it from this one lone individual who lived in the Chicago area in the 90s, and still lives there today, that I always took him seriously, and just because his music brought a smile to my face doesn't mean I was ever laughing at him or making fun of him. I don't believe you know me personally or have ever met me, so please don't shine that light on me or lump me in with the people that you have never met and are making unbased assumptions about. (Especially in the Chicago area)

    Now, I'm not saying you're wrong. On many levels there really were people who laughed at him, thought he was a freak show, and, as you have pointed out, more than a handful of people exploited him by taking previously released songs and putting them on compilations, knowing full well that when he was alive he was too poor to afford legal representations, and, since he died in testate, there is nobody to go after the major labels that did this, and will keep on doing this until they feel there is no more money to be made.

    I also thank you for your candor, and providing links to articles concerning the issue of people exploiting Wesley Willis and making a quick buck off of his music. And I also respect your opinion concerning your feelings about his music. It's not for everybody, and, yes, his solo material is repetitious at times, basically it the same pre-recorded music programed into his keyboard. (As I've said more than once, The Wesley Willis Fiasco is quite different than his solo material, and is much more preferable, at least in my opinion)

    If there's any issue I take with your post it's what you said about the people of Chicago, and how you don't care about what they think, and that it's only 1%. Maybe it doesn't make up for the 99% of the people who saw him as a freak show, and you think this is some sort of exploitation, but in many levels, and maybe you didn't mean it that way, it IS insulting to the 1% of the people who knew him, and genuinely loved him. Maybe Chicago is the 1% that doesn't fit, and doesn't care about what the rest of the world thinks, so maybe you were, in your own little ay giving us an off handed compliment, for which I should thank you, but it was the tone in which you presented your point of view that rubbed me the wrong way.

    THAT'S IT! The fans of Wesley Willis in Chicago who loved him and supported him from the beginning ARE the 1% who don't care about what you and the other 99% think! The 99% of the people outside of Chicago who thought he was a freak show to be laughed at and exploited can fuck off, since the 1% don't care, nor have need of the other 99%.We loved Wesley and don't care what others think or feel!

    ROCK OVER LONDON!
    ROCK ON CHICAGO!
    WESLEY WILLIS LIVES IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LOVED HIM!
    WESLEY WILLIS COULD WHIP THE LLAMA'S AS WITH A BELT!
    WESLEY WILLIS COULD ROCK IT TO RUSSIA!
    ROCK ON, WESLEY WILLIS!

    Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go get drunk, put on The Wesley Willis Fiasco C.D. bang my head, and laugh at Wesley Willis NOT because I'm making fun of him, or laughing AT him, but because I'm laughing WITH him, and his music genuinely puts a smile on my face, and if you can't understand that, I honestly don't know what to tell you!

    I WILL, however, make time to click on to the links you provided and read the articles.

    You have your opinions and point of view, and I have mine.

    How about we just agree to disagree and move on?
     
  10. LordManHammer

    LordManHammerMember New Member


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    Dec 13, 2019
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    Lantana Floriduh United States
    He played and stayed with a friend of mine in the East Tennessee area 99' to 00'....I met him and we bumped heads.

    I have schizoeffective disorder and his ramblings weren't far off from some delusions I have had.

    The one thing I loved about WW and all his music he took the bad made it into something to vent his frustrations.

    For example suck my dogs dick such a great track to giggle at. In a wtf was he thinking moment....

    Say what you will about his mental illness I think he put together some great silly music with well his own topics he found humor in.

    I whupped Batmans Ass or they threw me outta church, I told the pallbearer to suck my dick. It's not laughing at him more or less agreeing with the situation if I was him in church.
     
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