Simon here. I’ve written plenty of obits for this site, many of them for artists whose passing left me bereft. But this is my first for a friend. Singer/songwriter Paul Plagens had a brush with fame in the ’90s as frontman for rockers Greta, but his renown was largely confined to the L.A. music community. Here, he was known as a songwriter of tremendous depth, sophistication and dark humor.
Paul left us on Friday.
He was capable of greatness, but his demons dragged him down. It wasn’t easy being Paul’s friend—he had a tendency to go off the rails in spectacular fashion, and to disappear for long stretches—but he was a kind soul and blessed with a flashing, mordant wit. His songs deserve wider recognition; one tune that those who loved him are recalling now, with both heartbreak and laughter, is called “Wonderful Dead Guy,” in which Paul imagined just this circumstance (though no, he wasn't a suicide) and lampooned the “greatness in death” trope we see far too often when artists leave us. Condolences to his family, friends and former bandmates. We’ll miss him.
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