Wesley Willis: The Daddy of Rock 'n' Roll | Chicago Reader

Wesley Willis: The Daddy of Rock 'n' Roll

Print profiles of schizophrenic indie rock musician Wesley Willis reported the tragic details of his life as an indigent Chicago mental patient, but none I've read captured his creative energy and ribald humor like this highly entertaining 60-minute profile by Canadian filmmaker Daniel Bitton. Willis, who died in August 2003, peddled CDs of himself ranting over keyboard-generated rock tracks; his major subjects, as he explains in the video, were "animals, rock bands, and state policemen." Bitton records some touching scenes between Willis and his old friend Carla Winterbottom (who frets about his obesity), and smartly integrates into the video Willis's hilarious vocal performances, frightening lyric sheets, and vibrant line drawings.

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