At a mere 77 minutes in length, Chris Bagley and Kim Shively’s Wesley Willis’s Joy Rides manages to do a solid job of encapsulating the life and energy of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s true originals.
I love Willis’s extraordinary punky odes to the ordinary and the most excellent blurtations that spin out of his brain and off his tongue like those wobbly tinfoil UFOs in Plan 9 From Outer Space. Willis was Antonin Artaud in a black Michelin Man suit. Had he lived in Paris in the 1920s he would have been embraced by Andre Breton and his posse of divinely intoxicated poets and dreamers. Instead he was born in Chicago in 1963 and in his forty years of travelling down the streets and through the canyons of the Windy City managed to leave an indelible mark on everyone who came in contact with him. He brought the magic and the madness and the mysterious space in between the two where music, art and poetry are compressed into star-like objects called words that rattle like rocks in the shoes of reality.