It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Larry Baczeski aka Waw Pierogi of xex.
I was fortunate enough to meet Larry back in 2010 when work began on the "group:xex" LP re-issue. He was living in Oakland and I took the train over to meet him and his partner Dean and talked about our common childhood experiences growing up in New Jersey. We even attended the same university, Rutgers, in New Brunswick. xex used to perform at the Livingston Student Center, the same building that hosted my weekly radio show during college. We bonded over Larry's love for all things science and would play with his neighbor's cat when it would wander in the house. He had kept the xex archives in tact over the past 30 years and gave me two 10" reel to reel tapes, one for each xex album, that I had baked and transferred immediately.
In August of 2010, Larry accompanied me to Fantasy Studios to sit in on the remastering session for the "group:xex" LP with George Horn. Luckily I captured a video during that session of Larry and George talking about the low end of the songs.
Larry had a way of thinking that I will miss. He was always "on" and questioning the world both past and present. We would sit at his home and talk about anything, often the weather and comparing California and New Jersey, which could take up hours. Larry loved music, he would share memories with me about what he was listening to in the 1970s as a teenager and also his current favorites. He was proud of xex and I was too, they had accomplished so much in such a short time span as a band.
This past March, it was time to remaster the second, unreleased xex album "xex:change". Again, Larry met me at Fantasy Studios and was able to give feedback to George Horn regarding the final EQ curve for the vinyl remaster. George really loved "xex:change" and told Larry repeatedly during the session. The next time I saw Larry he was still so pleased that George appreciated what no one did in 1981, the reason why the album was never released.
Thanks to Merrill Aldighieri were able to include a DVD of xex performing live at Hurrah in New York City from 1981 with each copy of "xex:change". In this video you can see Larry's multi-tasking at work. Singing, rhythms, synth leads and most importantly his facial expressions capture the essence of xex perfectly.
I am going to miss Larry so much and all of his quirky intelligent emails full of questions and insight. He truly was a unique soul who touched my life deeply.
For those who want a deeper insight on what rich soul Larry was, read an in-depth interview with him conducted by Mike Applestein here: