This past Sunday, December 3, at his family's home in Los Banos, CA, Logan Whitehurst passed away after a multi-year battle with cancer. He was 29 years old. Full disclosure states that in addition to being a close friend to Logan, my record label released albums by a band he played drums for (the Velvet Teen). This relationship has forced my hand, as I always go out of my way not to write about bands I work with, or even know personally. But since his passing, I've had to break the news to countless people who were supporters of Logan's music, in addition to eulogizing him on MySpace, where the news of his death first appeared.
It needs to be said that Logan was tremendously rational and disarmingly polite—two personal traits not suited for the world of the touring indierocker, a profession that requires some serious myopia to the financial (and personal) hits you must take just to scrape by. But Logan loved it all, and beneath that maturity was a little kid who would happily skip the vices of backstage parties in favor of watching old Popeye cartoons in the van. Immersed in a world of creative people, Logan had them all beat, maintaining the wisdom and patience of an adult, with the undiluted optimism of a child.
In addition to his work with the Velvet Teen, Logan had a solo project called the Junior Science Club, which could best be described as "kids' music, for adults," bringing to mind the early days of They Might Be Giants. A personal favorite of Dr. Demento, who often had Logan on air with him, his light-hearted songs were both intelligent and cute, and despite their less-than-serious subject matter (volcanoes, robots, etc.), Logan recorded with an army of serious musicians (Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, David Bazan of Pedro the Lion) at his side.
In late 2003, following a Japanese tour with the Velvet Teen, Logan became ill. He was able to continue with the band into 2004, even finishing a tour and recording the Elysium record with them before he finally had to step down due to his deteriorating health. The first cancer of many was in his brain, and talking to him on the eve of major surgery to remove it, you wouldn't have known. He was very upbeat, and made it clear that if anything, this handshake with death was little more than an inconvenience, he'd be fine, and stop worrying. What followed were years of severe radiation, full recovery, and then more cancer. In late August of this year, Logan was diagnosed with a serious reoccurrence of brain cancer, one too strong for his exhausted body to fight. Knowing this, Logan finished his final work, a dizzying collection of 80 (very) short songs, properly titled Very Tiny Songs. It should see release on Pandacide Records sometime next year and will be a fitting farewell for his fans, as well as a short glimpse into the mind of an artist who was so committed to his craft that he continued with it long after his tired body would no longer cooperate.
It's hard to eulogize a friend in a word-count restricted column, just as it is in the insincere community of MySpace. I feel like I'm forced to "sell" Logan to make him seem worthy of the space this takes up, and for that I apologize. All I need to say is that Logan Whitehurst, in his very short 29 years on this earth, earned himself a devoted following of friends and fans, all of whom are much better people for their contact with him. And the world is a much poorer place without him here. He'll be missed dearly.