Drummer Derrick Plourde — a founding member of Southern California punk band Lagwagon — and Hideaki Sekiguchi — who slapped the bass for Tokyo garage-punk band Guitar Wolf — both died Wednesday, news that sent shockwaves throughout the underground punk rock world. Plourde was 33, and Sekiguchi was 38.
Fat Wreck Chords, which released Lagwagon's earliest material, confirmed Plourde's death in a statement posted to the indie label's Web site, which read, in part, "March 30th was a sad day for the Fat Wreck Chords family, as we learned about the passing of Derrick Plourde. We consider him one of the founders of the label as well as a great friend. Above all, Derrick was a great guy who will be sorely missed and will always remain a member of the Fat family."
The official cause of death has not been released in Plourde's case, but a posting by Ataris frontman Kris Roe to that band's Web site confirms reports that the drummer took his own life — the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Plourde was the Ataris' original drummer, and in his post, Roe wrote, "Derrick, I can assure you that tonight in Santa Barbara ... there are many glasses raised in your honor. Be well and we all love you, always."
Plourde manned the drums for melodic pop-punk quintet Lagwagon's first three releases, Duh, Trashed and Hoss. He was also a member of ska-punk group the Mad Caddies, and provided the kit work for that band's 2001 album Rock the Plank. Plourde's most recent work was with crunchy indie rockers Bad Astronaut, a group featuring Lagwagon vocalist and guitarist Joey Cope and former Nerf Herder and Swingin' Utters bassist Marko 72. Honest Don's released Bad Astronaut's two discs, 2001's Acrophobe and 2002's Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem.
Guitar Wolf's Sekiguchi — known to the band's fans by his stage name, Billy — died of heart failure, according to Narnack Records' Web site. He's survived by his wife, Naoko, and two children. His funeral is scheduled for April 6 in Tokyo.
Guitar Wolf, who'd been crafting fierce, guitar-driven garage punk for years before bands like the Strokes revived the genre, were scheduled to perform in Tokyo on April 9, before heading to Australia for a string of gigs. According to Narnack, all future dates have been canceled, and the band's continued existence is currently in limbo.
Coincidentally, Narnack, which released 2004's Loverock and 2003's UFO Romantics, had been preparing an expanded U.S. release of I Love Guitar Wolf Very Much, a tribute album featuring the Coachwhips, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Lightning Bolt, J Mascis and the Fog, and Puffy AmiYumi, among others; the album was released last year in Japan, and will soon hit American retail shelves.
"The band just returned from their U.S. tour, and fortunately, Billy did get to spend time with his wife and children before going into the hospital," a Narnack statement reads. "He died in his sleep sometime during the night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, [Guitar Wolf guitarist] Seiji and [drummer] Toru."