CRESSKILL, NEW JERSEY – Today we must announce the tragic death of Baby Bird, recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of his band, The Snort. Bird was found in his home yesterday evening, having apparently died of a massive heart attack. His cat, hen, dog, and cow outlive him, and rumor has it that he has left provisions for each of them in his will.
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1960 to Professor M. Dey of Amherst College, which then boasted a population of just over 1,000 students, Baby Bird was originally christened with his mother’s last name, though he shook it off in later years. His mother, who still teaches at Amherst, outlives him as well as his pets. The two had a famously contentious relationship. In a Rolling Stone interview with The Snort in the late 1980s, the lead guitarist, German-born and England-educated Old Car, said that she always thought there was “beef between Babes and his mum. He said she was, whatsit… neglectful, yeah.” Bird, according to the reporter, refused to answer any and all questions about his mother, saying repeatedly that he didn’t have one.
Professor M. Dey was almost forced to concede to a college newspaper interview after the Rolling Stone piece came out with her son on the front cover. She told the the Amherst Student: “I was a young professor in a time when female professors were rarer than they are today. I was a single mother. My husband died while I was eight months pregnant, in May of 1960, during training – he was part of the first group of troops to be sent to Vietnam, an officer, and he died like an idiot, because he’d been given a live grenade rather than an empty one and used it to demonstrate the way the pin pulled out to his platoon. But I fed Baby, I clothed him, and I paid as much attention to him as I could. He never forgave me for not having a father and he never forgave me for having a job. I wasn’t the kind of mother he saw at his friends’ houses.”
At eighteen, when he was to begin Amherst College, which once he got into waived tuition fees due to his mother’s professorship, Bird fled the state entirely and traveled to LA with his best friend and later bandmate, nicknamed Boat. They used the savings they had from working at the local movie theater. In Los Angeles they both met Old Car and Plane, and together the four of them formed The Snort. They were compared over time to the likes of Led Zeppelin and other early metal bands, though their sound shifted over the years as they became more interested in using electronic elements in their music.
As was common at the time, all four members of the band did hard drugs that fans claimed affected their onstage performance. Bird, however, denied the allegations repeatedly, even when he was arrested for carrying a large quantity of cocaine on his person and had to spend a night in jail before the group’s manager, Phil, could come and bail him out. After that episode, however, Bird claimed to have gone clean and bought the first in a long series of pets – a kitten he named, in dramatic Bird fashion, Drug of Choice.
The band survived into the early 2000s when they finally broke up, not due to any interpersonal issues – various tabloids ran heartwarming photos of the bandmates brunching at high-end restaurants on Sunday mornings – but simply because all of them wanted to settle down and escape the world of hard rock before it got even harder than it was. Bird was no exception, although he was working on an acoustic album when he passed away. His former bandmates say they will make sure it will be released, a final tribute to Baby Bird.
It is expected that the funeral or wake will be kept private and include maximum security in order to defend Bird’s close friends from being mobbed. It is unknown whether his mother will be attending, as it is just the beginning of a new semester, and she has refused to talk to reporters.