Kurt Vile Honors Late Bandmate Rob Laakso as “Musical Genius”

Kurt Vile posted a long, heartfelt tribute to late Rob Laaksowho has been a member of Vile’s backing band for a long time The Violators as well as shoegaze group the Swirlies. In a post on InstagramVile praised Laakso as a “musical genius” and credited the multi-instrumentalist for “moving to epic proportions” after he joined the Violators full-time in 2013’s Wakin in a Pretty Daze.

“This has been a hard one to get out of my brain fog and into words for a long time now (and I mean the last year or so, not just since Rob’s death),” Vile wrote. “Tribes are never easy but this one is close to the bone in my opinion. Thanks to everyone who came. It’s nice to see all the nice things written about Rob, because yes he’s quiet but there’s a lot
he. Musical genius. Recording whizz. “

Vile continued by remembering Laakso as a husband and father and described how he kept in touch with the family on FaceTime during the recording sessions. Sending love to Laakso’s wife, Mamie-Claire, Vile remembers how their son Gus would always ask to talk to “Mr. Kurt.”

After sharing that he and Laakso are working mainly on his albums b’lieve i went down… and Bottle ItVile continued to describe the immediate effect Laakso made on Wakin in a Pretty Daze. “Definitely is his first full time violator record and you can see the transition to epic proportions from [Smoke Ring for My Halo] this. I clocked countless hours on the road and in front of the amps with him but so did the outlaws Jesse first and Kyle later.

In particular, Vile praised Laakso’s dedication to recording and touring together. “I always see the image in my mind of Rob shaking his hand in pain after playing the same two notes on the bass while I’ve been singing and playing lead gtr on the skinny mini for over 10 minutes (but every note from Rob was solid as hell, what do you need ),” he wrote. “That was right after the sea lice tour with Courtney where Rob was the glue (mostly you were the glue, brother).”

The tribute also includes stories about Laakso’s “real start” to the Outlaws and some of the last few times they recorded together. Read the full message in the Instagram post below.

Laakso is survived by his wife, Mamie-Claire, and their two children, Gus and Lou. A GoFundMe page launched in the family name.

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