The Wesley Willis Fiasco
The Wesley Willis Fiasco was a brief project of Wesley Willis, mid-career, managed by friend and musician Dale Meiners and Wesley in the beginning of 1992. The musicians were Wesley Willis on microphone and Keyboard, Dale Meiners, guitar and bass (former The Marked, Billy Corgan's band that preceded The Smashing Pumpkins), Pat Barnard on lead guitar, Dave Nooks on bass, and former Jesus Lizard drummer Brendan Murphy. .
The Fiasco was unlike Wesley's solo music. It was rock and roll and some would say punk. Wesley wrote mostly new material tailored for the band. The Wesley Willis Fiasco (named by early second guitarist Michael Cates) successfully toured with many bands, most notably Sublime, Lordz of Brooklyn, The Frogs, and Rocket from the Crypt. They released one full studio album, in 1996, "Spookydisharmoniousconflicthellride"(a reference to Willis's description of his schizophrenic episodes), which is found on the Urban Legend label. Many bootlegs are also available, most notably their live album, simply titled “The Wesley Willis Fiasco Live” They also released a rare split with Sublime, and a 7” split with the Frogs.
Wesley was able to express himself in an entire different musical way with the Wesley Music Fiasco, in the studio and on stage to the punk rock music of the Fiasco. His passion embodied itself in his aggressive vocals and what was a violent attack on the microphone that could only be described as pure unbridled rock and roll. Unfortunately in 1996 in Ohio, and despite the fact that Dale was very close to Wesley (who was diagnosed paranoid chronic schizophrenia) and therefore used to his sometimes erratic behavior, Wesley decided mutually with Dale to cease the project, as Wes, who was very aware of his outbursts, no longer wanted to cause the band any harm, as he stated himself, “The demons in [my] head [have] worsened, causing [me] to constantly yell at the band unintentionally.” It also caused scheduling conflicts with his increased solo keyboard gigs, as he was now about to embark upon his contract with American Records, the largest label that Wesley Willis had signed with outside of Alternative Tentacles.
After the Fiasco break, Wesley fulfilled his contract with American and returned performing and recording as a solo artist mostly in Chicago until his death in 2003.