Today came the very sad news that Unwound bassist Vern Rumsey passed away, and tributes from fellow musicians and other members of the music industry have been pouring in.
Conan Neutron, who was Vern's bandmate in his current band Household Gods, wrote, "I was such a fan of what he did, one of my favorite bass players of all time in one of my favorite bands (Unwound). He was a compatriot, my Household Gods bandmate and my friend of many years. I'm devastated. This is impossibly heavy and I can barely handle it."
Vern's Sailors With Wax Wings bandmate Rich Balling (also of RX Bandits, The Sound of Animals Fighting, Pyramids, and more) tells us, "Going into the Sailors With Wax Wings album, we did not know each other. He responded enthusiastically when I reached out to him, and throughout the process was patient, kind, and exuded positive energy. You could feel it even through email correspondence. As you read posts about him, you'll see the word 'sweet' mentioned over and over. That is a great descriptor. He was a gentle, creative soul."
Ken Shipley of Numero Group, who reissued Unwound's catalog in 2013, wrote in part, "Losing Vern Rumsey is a reminder that an era has ended. That everyone gets old and and no longer fits into their shredded and ring-stretched punk band tees. Should you ever require a time machine back, I can think of no better transport than his chugging bass lines." Ken also posted a series of photos with his tribute, which you can see in full below.
Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis wrote, "terrible terrible news. a tremendous musician in the band i would’ve most liked to see reunite. RIP vern rumsey."
Thursday's Geoff Rickly wrote, "This is shocking news. I honestly can’t believe it. We both played the Exotic Fever Records 20th Anniversary livestream on Friday. Like everyone else who plays music, I’ve always been a huge fan of Unwound. Vern had a beautiful energy. He will be missed."
The Van Pelt wrote, "Rest in restless power you magnificent bassist Vern Rumsey. We watched you many times and learned more about what the bass could do."
Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening, K Records, Dub Narcotic Sound System) wrote, "Thank you Vern for putting out Hands on the Dial cassette on Punk in my Vitamins?, the first Dub Narcotic Sound System release ever, and for being a good pal."
Cave In's Stephen Brodsky wrote, "Sad to hear of Vern Rumsey’s passing. This jam ["For Your Entertainment"] by Unwound inspired the Cave In songs “The End of Our Rope Is A Noose” and “Woodwork”. Happy to say both bands shared a stage in San Diego years ago - they were all super cool to us."
Dan Friel said, "RIP Vern Rumsey. Thinking about formative experiences seeing Unwound a few times as a teen, and it's wild to think that he was apparently only 20 at this one."
Kimya Dawson wrote a lengthy tribute on Facebook, saying in part, "I don't know what happened but I was rooting for him just like he always rooted for me. I was such a big fan of him as a person and I was a total groupie of his bands." You can read her whole tribute and many others below.