I learned this tonight on the bus home, flipping through the copy of the Portland Mercury I'd picked up yesterday but left in my backpack. My jaw dropped; I almost dropped the paper, too. Great: another good person and musician dying young, and in his case extremely young.
He was already sick the one time I saw him. Early in 2004, I attended all four nights of Dr. Demento's Reed College visit (which I wrote about earlier this year), and one night the good doctor had Whitehurst -- and his prop snowman, Vanilla -- perform for us. Demento was impressed with this young man and his work, saying that he had found his own way to be funny, as opposed to too many wanna-be funny songwriters who try to emulate Weird Al "and keep missing by a country mile." Whitehurst got us to sing along to "The Robot Cat":
When I say 'Ro,' you say 'Bot'Turns out he'd first become ill at the end of 2003: brain cancer. Which he fought off. But which later got replaced by more cancers (yes, plural). And he kept working while fighting the cancers, finishing a not-yet-released album called Very Tiny Songs.
Ro, BOT, Ro, BOT,
When I say 'Bot,' you say 'Cat'
Bot, CAT, Bot, CAT...
Logan Whitehurst's official site can be reached here or here, where there is a message from his younger sister Emily. And in the Portland Mercury is a tribute written by his friend and colleague Ezra Ace Caraeff in his "Once More With Feeling" Column.
Argh. Clearly I need to get elected God to stop all this bad death.