Possum Dixon guitarist Celso Chavez, who passed away yesterday.
I've been reminiscing about the 90's far too much lately, and in doing so, I've been revisiting a lot of the records that turned me on my head in high school and college. Amongst those records is a total underdog of a band worth championing, Los Angeles' Possum Dixon. Managing to blend The Cars' new wave, the raw jangle of The Animals, the hopped-up libido of the Violent Femmes and the Pixies manic unpredictability, Possum Dixon had some songs that charted well enough on college/modern rock radio but never quite found the right rhythm to sustaining it all. Almost 20 years after the release of their debut album, it still sounds like an out of control joyride through restless days spent in office jobs and nights spent in dingy nightclubs and crumbling stucco apartments.
I came home last night to find out that Possum Dixon guitarist Celso Chavez had passed away from complications from a staph infection that led to a fatal case of pneumonia. Chavez was 44 years old. Possum Dixon wrote sweet pop song foundations that they weren't ever afraid to spazz out atop, and Chavez's guitar work on the Possum Dixon records was always tastefully classic, jangly with just enough noisy blown-out twang thrown in to push the songs toward careening out of control but never falling over that edge. Even while the band was struggling with heroin, they were still an explosive live band, propelled by Chavez richocheting off of singer Rob Zabrecky.
Possum Dixon broke up in 1999. Chavez had also created music with Trash Can School and Pill Module. I had interviewed Possum Dixon for my cruddy dorm-room zine back in college, and I remember Possum Dixon as being incredibly nice to a dorky kid who just wanted to ask them a bunch of questions about monkeys. He was a fantastic, passionate guitarist with a great spirit, and he will be missed. R.I.P., Celso Chavez.