At 2:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, local DJ, longtime musician and father of three John Walker had just left his job at Rockit Lab Studios and was traveling on Lemmon Avenue, near the intersection at Oak Grove Avenue. He collided with a taxi cab. Exact details of the accident are still unclear, even to family members, as they await an official police report from investigators. The frontal, t-bone-type impact caused severe head trauma for Walker, who was unresponsive when rushed to Baylor University Medical Center.
Walker is currently signed to Austin-based record label Harmonious Discord Recordings. When Niki Acosta Anderson, wife of the owner of Harmonious Discord, caught wind of Walker's accident, she immediately set up an online fundraiser at www.gofundme.com/2for2w, which has raised more than $25,000 in five days.
"The support has been amazing. It's been absolutely amazing," Crystal Walker said. "John has so many friends. He's never met a stranger in his life. He cares so much about the Dallas music scene--especially the electronic music scene. His friends and the DJ community have been like a family to us. Almost overwhelming me with support."
The current owner of Elm Street Bar, who is a good friend of John's, helped the couple buy a van back in 2012. He sent her a text message on Tuesday, saying that he paid off the van and is sending the vehicle title in the mail. He's one of many helping the family through this, but plenty of challenges lie ahead.
More than a week has passed and Walker remains comatose. Doctors are currently keeping him under sedation due to a large amount of brain fluid buildup, but bring him out of sedation every so often to check his reflexes and monitor his progress. His body is responding to a large amount of pain, says his wife Crystal Walker, adding that most of his movement is involuntary, which includes thrashing arms, motion in his legs and an intense coughing reflex. According to Waker's best friend of 15 years and co-worker at Rockit Lab Studios, Joshua Kynd, doctors gave Walker voice commands on Thursday morning, instructing him to move his fingers if he could hear. Walker slightly wiggled his fingers.
Joshua Kynd says that after the accident, the immediate level of support from Dallas' DJs and music scene was overwhelming. On the Wednesday of Walker's accident, people flooded the hospital waiting rooms.
"It's strange. He's like a new celebrity. Accidents happen to people all the time, but you don't normally have 100 people in the hospital waiting room within an hour. We had to show everyone over to the studio there were so many people," Kynd said.
Kynd, who showed Walker Dallas' underground techno and house music scenes in the late '90s, is also a DJ, and intends to proceed with plans for an April 20 DJ event at Zubar, which is on Walker's birthday. Walker had created the Facebook event in late February, and was planning to DJ the vinyl-only night with three of his friends, who collectively call themselves the "four horsemen." As Kynd explains it, the four guys draw numbers one through four out of a hat, to determine their time slots, and now plan to play one of Walker's best recorded mixes during his designated time slot.
"He wouldn't have it any other way," Crystal Walker said between tears. "If he were awake and knew we were canceling his birthday party he would kill us."
"There's a lot of love within this community," Crystal said. "It's amazing to see everyone pull together for one common goal. I wish he could be awake to see everything that's happening. He would be unbelievably thrilled to see this. It's amazing to see people picking up and doing everything that John would have wanted, which is just to love each other."
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Local musician Wanz Dover is among the many who have reached out in honor of John Walker.
"I'm pretty sure he was one of the first people I met when I started venturing outside of the rock scene and into the DJ scene in town," said Dover. "He was one of the first old school guys to invite me out to play techno at a time when I was really only getting gigs playing soul, indie and punk stuff. Over the past few years he has been really supportive, but that is just how John is. He is one of those unsung heroes that keep music scenes going."
An additional family fundraiser will take place on April 27 at 6 p.m., at Motus Digital Studios in Plano, and will feature two stages of music, dinner and a silent auction. Go to wwjwd.org for more details.