RIP: Willie Basse, Legendary ‘Ambassador to The Sunset Strip’ Dies from Cancer at 62




By DONNA BALANCIA

Willie Basse who made a name for himself as one of LA’s most beloved metal rockers has passed away at 62.

Basse was battling cancer.

Basse, known as the “Cultural Ambassador to The Sunset Strip,” came to Los Angeles from Texas in the 1970s and was a vibrant part of the Sunset Strip scene. 

As part of the band Black Sheep, Basse played with a range of rockers including Slash, whom he considered a close friend. He also played with George Lynch and many others on the Sunset Strip scene. 

Willie Basse and Slash - Photo courtesy of Willie Basse
Willie Basse and Slash – Photo courtesy of Willie Basse

Fought Cancer and Played Until the End

Basse fought cancer with all his might and continued to play music until the end.

In June of 2017, Basse told CaliforniaRocker.com that the cancer gave him a new appreciation of life and his attitude towards a lot of things had changed.

Friends gave tribute to the rocker, whose musical talent was nourished in church as a child.

Bernie Kimbell of Sound Barrier said he was emotional over the loss and he hopes that Willie is “partying” together with David Harold Brown and Gina Zamparelli, who also passed recently.

 

 

Basse a Beloved Local Fixture on The Strip

Basse was awarded a certificate of honor last year for all his work as a musician who represents the Sunset Strip to local musicians and visitors alike.  He loved the Whisky a Go-Go and The Rainbow, where he could often be seen making a deal or making music. 

In a post on Instagram, Slash simply said: “RIP to my good friend #WillieBasse I/we will miss you buddy” followed by his stylized keyboard Slash symbol:  IIIII];)’ 

Slash pays tribute to friend Willie Basse on Instagram - Courtesy photo
Slash pays tribute to friend Willie Basse on Instagram – Courtesy photo

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