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Kurt Vile hails late bandmate a 'musical genius'

Rob Laakso died aged 44 from cancer last week credit:Bang Showbiz
Rob Laakso died aged 44 from cancer last week credit:Bang Showbiz

Kurt Vile has hailed his late bandmate Rob Laakso a "musical genius".

The guitarist and keyboard player - who became a full-time member of Kurt's The Violators in 2013 - tragically died on May 4 from cancer at the age of 44, and Kurt has thanked fans for their outpouring of love and the "nice things" shared about the musician.

He began a lengthy Instagram post: "This one’s been hard to get out of the fog in my brain and into words for a long time now (and I mean for the last year or so, not just since rob’s passing) Tributes are never easy but this one is just too close to the bone I guess. Thank you to everyone who reached out. It’s been beautiful seeing all the nice things written about Rob, because yeah he was quiet but there was so much to him. Musical genius. Recording whizz. Best husband and father. Mamie-Claire we love you so much you’ve always been the greatest. All the things you’re writing are beautiful and killing me at the same time. (sic)"

Kurt continues to share his many memories of Rob, who he "worshipped" from his days in the college rock group The Wicked Farleys.

He recalled: "Rob and I worked close together on the albums B’lieve and Bottle (him coproducing many of the tracks alongside me, engineering often, playing many different instruments, slaying with ease.)

But Wakin was his first full time violator record and you can see the shift to epic proportions from smoke ring to it. I’ve clocked in so many hours on the road and in front of amps with him but so have the violators Jesse first and Kyle later. So I’ll never get all these stories down in one post and I’m just gonna have to jump around but… I used to follow Rob around in Boston in the early days becuz I worshipped his first band the wicked farleys so that was definitely my mission when moving there for a couple yrs in the start of the aughts… luckily he took me in and recorded me even tho I was awkward and shy (good thing so was he but just in different ways) … later some of that stuff ended up on the Swirlies album Cats of the Wild, thanks to Rob…"

Kurt, 43, has shared a link (www.gofundme.com/f/supporting-rob-laakso-and-family) to a GoFundMe page launched to support Rob's widow Mamie-Claire Cornelius and their two children.

At the time of writing, they've raised more than the $75,000 goal set, with donations totalling $102,910.