Tripping Daisy musician dies in Dallas home
Investigators search for cause in
demise of Wes Berggren, 28
By Thor Christensen / The Dallas
Wes Berggren, guitarist-pianist and founding member
of the popular local rock band Tripping Daisy, was found dead Wednesday at his home in
Dallas. He was 28 years old.
Dallas police say Mr. Berggren and his wife, Melissa,
went to bed at their apartment on Worth Street at
midnight Tuesday. Ms. Berggren awoke at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday and found her husband dead.
His body showed no signs of trauma and investigators don't suspect foul play, said
homicide Sgt. Mia Sullivan.
Investigators at the Dallas County medical
examiner's office said they are awaiting the results of toxicology tests before ruling on
the cause of death.
"He was just a sweetheart of a guy," said
Tripping Daisy bassist Mark Pirro, who met Mr. Berggren in the late '80s at the University
of North Texas.
"It's a total shock," said Dragon Street
Records owner David Dennard, who put out Tripping Daisy's debut album in 1992. "He
was a really normal, levelheaded guy who never
got pushed out of shape - even under a lot of trying and tense circumstances."
Mr. Berggren co-founded Tripping Daisy in 1991 with
Mr. Pirro and lead singer Tim DeLaughter, and the group quickly won an avid local
following with its edgy, psychedelic sound and frenetic concerts. In 1992, the band
released its debut disc, Bill, on the Dallas-based Dragon Street and, in 1993, signed a
major deal with Island Records.
"We're in this for the long haul," Mr.
Berggren told The Dallas Morning News in 1993. "We don't want to break on the first,
second record. We'd like to break on the third."
Tripping Daisy made waves on the national pop
charts in 1995 with "I Got a Girl," a quirky song that propelled its second
album, I Am an Elastic Firecracker, to sales of nearly 300,000. A year later, the group
played large venues as the opening act for Def Leppard.
But Mr. Berggren's wishes for the band's third
album never came through: Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb sold poorly, and Island dropped
the band in 1998 as part of a staff-slashing merger between Universal and PolyGram
The band has carried on, however, releasing a
seven-song EP through its Web site and performing at clubs around Dallas and Fort Worth.
The group was slated to perform Nov. 12-13 at the Curtain Club, but drummer Ben Curtis
said the band's future is up in the air.
"We haven't even thought about it," said
Mr. Curtis. "This is the last thing that anyone expected. Wes was the sort of guy
things always worked out for. He was one of the
smartest guys I knew - a real brain. It's such a big loss that he won't be able to explore
his talent further."
A memorial service for Mr. Berggren will be held at 11
a.m. Saturday at the Unity Church of Christianity, 3425 Greenville Ave. ~ Staff writer Connie Piloto contributed to this report.