Whether he was drawing school buses, singing about cheetah's genitals, or delivering a loving headbutt to his adoring fans, Wesley Willis was a gentle giant bursting with creative energy.
The Chicago native was an icon of outsider art, and a underground music icon, who released scores of albums featuring his signature “rapping” and demo-button keyboards. On December 8th, MVD Visual presents Wesley Willis's Joy Rides, a documentary that follows Willis as he made art, delighted audiences with his hilarious shows, and struggled with mental illness. When Willis died in 2003, Jello Biafra put it best:
“As I got to know Wes, what really struck me was his sheer will power, his unrelenting drive to succeed and over come his horrifically poor background, child abuse, racism, chronic schizophrenia and obesity among other things. He was the most courageous person I have ever known. Yet through it all he had such a deep, all-encompassing love of life. Little things, big things. He loved bus rides. He loved watching trains. He loved writing songs about how much he loved his friends. He loved travelling [sic] to new towns so he could headbutt new friends. Is there any band he saw that escaped being in their own song about how much he loved their show?”
Rock over London, Rock on Chicago!
(Trailer and and other Wesley Willis videos after the jump.)
There's no shortage of Wesley Willis fan videos, but here are a few favorites