Published Apr 21, 2016Richard Lyons, multi-instrumentalist and founding member of Bay Area culture-jamming outfit Negativland, passed away on Tuesday (April 19) following a battle with cancer. He was 57 years old.
The avant-garde band delivered the news today (April 21) through their Facebook page, noting that Lyons had died "peacefully and pain free" from complications due to nodular melanoma and had been in palliative care at the time of his death. He was surrounded by friends and family, including members of Negativland. It was his birthday.
The band added that Lyons had previously battled and won in a fight with the same cancer over 12 years ago, but the disease would return, with inoperable tumours growing on his spine, liver and brain.
Born April 19, 1959, in Castro Valley, CA, Lyons would go on to help found Negativland in the late '70s. He played a variety of roles within the band, from prepping loops and electronics, to playing guitar, to providing vocals. The band cite some of his many highlights as finding the Estus W. Pirkle sample featured on Negativland's 1987 track "Christianity Is Stupid" and taking the junkyard photos for the group's Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak.
Negativland also saluted Lyons' on-air personas for the group's Over the Edge radio show, including such "darkly funny and contrarian alter egos as his has-been radio personality Dick Vaughn, righteous religious preacher Pastor Dick, ace used car salesmen Dick Goodbody, master debater Dick Bush, good Christian lady Marsha Turnblatt and crazed DJ Jack Diekobisc (pronounced Dickobitch)."
It's added in the post that during the last weeks of his life, Lyons had been handcrafting album covers for an upcoming re-release of Negativland's self-titled debut from 1980.
Lyons is survived by his mother and his sister.
Lyons is the third member of Negativland to have died since the beginning of 2015. Ian Allen had passed away following complications from heart surgery at the age of 56, while Don Joyce died of heart failure at the age of 71.