F’n ‘ell. Really? 49? Ugh.
I don’t expect this news to reverberate much beyond the band’s hometown of Denver and the band’s somewhat adopted hometown of Seattle (as the band was Sub Pop’s first non-Northwest signing…I think). But man, it always hits harder when a) it’s a band that actually meant something to you at some point; and b) it’s someone who is more or less your age. In this case, exactly my age.
Back in the day, I loved me some Fluid. But to be honest, I was a sucker for sloppy-but-well-informed rock and roll in the late 80’s. (Ummm…still am!) For me, it started with Green River. I LOVED Green River. And as a result, I got sucked into years of trashy Stooges/MC5-inspired punk and roll to come. And that included The Fluid. It certainly didn’t hurt their cred when they found themselves on a Sub Pop Singles Club split with Nirvana. But the band never found the traction that so many others in the scene did. They released a few LP’s and EP’s on Sub Pop between 1986-1990, subsequently finding themselves signed to Hollywood Records and releasing their final album, “Purplemetalflakemusic” in 1992. Arguably the band’s finest moment, and definitely their most “commercial”, the album went nowhere. While Hollywood would occasionally have some cool signings, they completely sucked when it came to actually marketing those bands (Tsar, anyone?).
Following the Hollywood debacle, the band just disappeared. At least on a national stage. The band got back together for a Sub Pop Anniversary show in 2008, and Kulwicki was still actively playing guitar for a couple of Denver bands, including a reunited The Frantix, which originally provided the Fluid with three band members upon that band’s original demise. Kulwicki apparently was a single father with two kids, and apparently was a completely righteous dude. Tragic.