Wabash & Monroe & Madison Wesley Willis 1987
Chicago’s very own WESLEY WILLIS!
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The Lakefront Wesley Willis 1986
For those of you that THINK you know him,! Willis was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 31, 1963. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Willis grew up in Chicago’s projects as one of 10 children of parents who had a violent relationship and separated when he was young. He spent time in several foster homes and was essentially raised by two older brothers, who went with him from home to home.”
In 1989, Willis began hearing what he called “demons” and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was institutionalized for two months after his diagnosis. He often mentioned that his demons were named “Heartbreaker”, “Nervewrecker”, and “Meansucker”. He called his psychotic episodes “hell rides”, and alternatively, he declared rock and roll to be “the joy ride music”.
Willis sold ink pen drawings of the Chicago cityscape on the street. In The Daddy of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Steve Albini tells an anecdote about how Willis was in one train station drawing a detailed picture of a different train station from memory. These works of outsider art appear on the covers of his albums.
Willis toured frequently, was profiled on MTV and was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on September 26, 1996 where he played nearly identical songs about Baba Booey and Howard Stern. On May 22, 2001,Willis released an album titled Full Heavy Metal Jacket. During his tours, Willis became “famous for greeting fans with a headbutt”. This left him with a distinctive permanent bruise on his forehead. Rock critic and Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff wrote that Willis’s “Periodic appearances for crowds of jeering white fratboys evoke an uncomfortable combination of minstrel act and traveling freak show.” Conversely, guitarist Scott Anthony, who toured with Willis in 1998, said “It’s not frat boys coming to his shows and making fun of him; it’s punk rock kids who appreciate that he sings stuff people are thinking.”
On August 21, 2003, Willis died due to complications from chronic myelogenous leukemia in Skokie, Illinois. He was 40 years old.
Dan Ryan Expressway Past 51st Toward 47th St by Wesley Willis 1986
Dan Ryan Expressway 43rd 1987 Wesley Willis
Dan Ryan Expressway Past 51st Towards 47th Street Wesley Willis
Dan Ryan Expressway 51st St 1986
Lakefront Vicennes CTA Bus Garage Wesley Willis Double Signature
PRE SALES SOON!
- Wabash Monroe & Madison by Wesley Willis
- The Lakefront 1986 by Wesley Willis
- Dan Ryan Expressway Past 51st Toward 47th St 1986 by Wesley Willis
- Dan Ryan Expressway 43rd 1987 by Wesley Willis
- Dan Ryan Expressway Past 51st Towards 47th St by Wesley Willis
- Dan Ryan Expressway 51st St 1986
- Lakefront & 77th Vicennes CTA Bus Garage
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2418 W North ave
July 30, 2019