By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The rumors began making the rounds late Wednesday; they were the kind of whispers that lead to screams. And unfortunately, they were all true: Tripping Daisy guitarist Wes Berggren died Wednesday evening at his Dallas home. No cause of death had been confirmed by Thursday afternoon.
According to the police report, Berggren, 28, and his wife, Melissa, went to bed around midnight Wednesday. Melissa woke up around 4:45 p.m. and discovered Wes unconscious. She called his father, Don Berggren, who immediately contacted the police. When police and firefighters arrived, they were unable to revive Berggren. There were no obvious injuries to Berggren's body, which was taken to the medical examiner's office.
Alan Smith, music director at KDGE-FM (94.5), broke the news during his Thursday-morning shift. Smith says the station has been flooded with calls from people wondering what happened. Many of the station's listeners had just seen the band perform at last weekend's Melodica Festival at the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth.
"I'm telling you," Smith says, "there is no worse thing in the world than having to announce something like that."
Berggren formed Tripping Daisy with singer Tim DeLaughter and bassist Mark Pirro in 1991 while he was a student at the University of North Texas. One of his classmates, Julie Doyle, introduced him to DeLaughter, her boyfriend. Tripping Daisy was a local hit almost immediately, selling out Trees on a regular basis and headlining KDGE-FM's annual Edgefest concert.
"When it happened, it was like, Jesus Christ," Berggren said in an interview with the Dallas Observer last year, referring to the band's formation. "It was pretty awesome."
The band signed to Island records in 1993 and put out three albums on the label: 1993's Bill (which had been previously released in 1992 on Patrick Keel's Dragon Street Records), 1995's I Am An Elastic Firecracker, and last year's Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb. Earlier this year, the group founded its own label, Good Records, and had planned to release the Daisy' first full-length disc on the new label in late November. No word yet on how, or if, those plans have changed.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Unity Church of Christianity, 3425 Greenville Ave.