Welcome to the web site for Silkworm (1987-2005).
R. I. P.
MICHAEL JERMAN DAHLQUIST
22 DEC 1965 - 14 JULY 2005
Thanks to everyone who came to see us at the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary event this weekend. It was a strange experience for several reasons, but ultimately it was rewarding to spend Saturday with our friends and put a marker on the end of the band. I knew it would be heavy emotionally, and I hope it was good musically as well!
Bottomless Pit will start a month of shows all over the place on Wednesday--last-minute show in Chicago. Details here.
Click here for new Bottomless Pit dates.
Click here to preorder the 2CD Silkworm tribute record.Thank you to everyone who has sent or is sending video footage. It is much appreciated.
In the service of a curious filmmaker, I have been asked to put out a call for any live footage of SKWM. I have very, very little of this kind of thing. Photos would probably also be welcome. Just contact me at tim at silkworm dot net if you have anything, and we can go from there.
I heard a number of tracks from the tribute record in the last week, and they're kind of astonishing. I didn't expect to even like them very much, to tell you the truth. But I like them very much.
The final SKWM record is in the offing, as before. Provisional title: Chokes.
Finally, please watch for somewhat significant additions to this site in the near future.
More later. Best to you all.
The message board is now closed permanently to most new entries. You can find an explanation on the board itself.
This home page will be the source for new info on whatever might happen with SKWM.
On that front, the last SKWM recordings have been completed and will be released on the 12XU record label. I expect the CD to be out in October, with digital downloads available from the usual purveyors sometime before then.
Andy and I have formed a new group called Bottomless Pit. We are enjoying the group very much.
Finally, I point you to the site for the SKWM tribute record. If the site doesn't load, it's probably not quite up yet--just check back in a few days. More on that once it's out.
Love to you all,
Here's Steve's wonderful letter about Michael (need Adobe Reader to view).
Below is some of the rest of what you might want to know about Michael, in the form of an obituary his parents asked me to write. Thanks again to everyone who has called, emailed, posted. You're a huge help. Tim
MICHAEL DAHLQUIST, 39, of Chicago, was killed on Thursday, July 14th, 2005. While stopped at a traffic signal, his car was struck intentionally by another car traveling at a very high speed. Also killed were his good friends and fellow musicians Douglas Meis and John Glick.
Michael was born on December 22nd, 1965 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Washington. He spent his childhood in Bothell, a nearby town, and many vacations were spent at his grandmother’s ranch in Livingston, Montana. In 1969 and 1970, a fabled, nine-month trip to Europe saw the Dahlquist clan live on bread and cheese as they traversed the entirety of Europe. The trip ingrained a sense of adventure in Michael that drove him the rest of his life. His childhood was filled with creative endeavors: writing (a lasting passion), juggling, puppetry, and tree-climbing, with a little skateboarding thrown in for good measure.
As the last of the “Dahlquist boys” to wend his way through the halls of Inglemoor High School in Bothell, Michael graduated in 1984. With a tremendous mane of thick, wavy hair, he was off to be mistaken for a woman in France, subsequently shave his head in Spain, and sleep on park benches in San Francisco. Olympia, Washington was his adopted home base, however, as he more or less attended Evergreen State College. In Olympia, he found some kindred spirits within its population, and he continued to develop in particular his interests in writing and performance. To the former, he studied literature, mythology and mysticism, including a pivotal summer program at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, where he studied with poets Allen Ginsberg and Philip Whalen. To the latter, he engaged in all manner of performance-oriented endeavors, from stage design to participation in and study of Fluxus-style art events, of the sort pioneered by John Cage and Joseph Beuys. During this time period, while living in a student squat called “The House of Phlegm,” Michael had his first nascent experiences as a rock drummer, playing a distinctive two-drum kit with the bands Flowers for Funerals and Dungpump.
1988 found Michael itching for more bustling climes, and it was then that he made the short yet significant move from Olympia to Seattle. After a few ill-advised odd jobs, he found himself a home at Yellow and Graytop cab companies, for whom he drove over the next eight years, learning the twisting byways of the city intimately.
In January of 1990, Michael began a personal and semi-professional relationship that would, for better or worse, shape much of his adult life. He met the members of Silkworm, three young men recently transplanted from Montana, who were looking to replace their rather aloof drum machine. After a shambolic audition that included speeding up, slowing down, knocking over all two drums in his kit, and never playing at a volume level below fortissimo, Michael was welcomed into the Silkworm fraternity, to which he belonged for the rest of his life—fifteen years. He doubled the size of his kit to four drums immediately, and he began a disciplined process of continual refinement that resulted in him becoming one of the heaviest and most expressive rock drummers of his generation.
The activities of Silkworm dominated Michael’s life for the next six years. Constant practice, touring, and recording forged an uncommonly strong personal and musical relationship between him and his bandmates. The band members found themselves largely forgoing the creature comforts of normal life to embrace their life together as an active musical concern. When he wasn’t homeless, Michael lived in a large but dilapidated basement apartment, and later an upstairs unit in another building, which was notable for having no external light source whatsoever.
What free time Michael had during this time was marked by his drive to be active and intense curiosity. He became an avid mountaineer and scaled Mts. Adams, Hood, Baker, and Shuksan. He indulged his abiding interest in snowboarding. He became a very good swing dancer, and he found time to make delicate music with a local gamelan ensemble.
In late 1996, Silkworm began curtailing their somewhat debilitating tour schedule, and Michael cast his eye on the burgeoning high-tech industry in the Seattle area. As with so much in his life, he decided he wanted to be involved in it and therefore became involved. Knowing, at this point, rather little about computers, he talked his way into a job as office grunt at Lizardtech, a local producer of imaging software. Six months later, he bought his first house, a tiny one-bedroom deep into Seattle’s Beacon Hill. By the time he left Lizardtech as a product manager in the summer of 2001, he had taught himself PERL, HTML, and XML. He had written from scratch and was running the Silkworm website. He was also working on his next and ultimately final move.
In October 2001, Michael moved from Seattle to Chicago. His bandmates had already made this move, individually, but the band had continued to prosper as a long-distance concern. His move was motivated by a desire to be closer to his good friends but also to broaden his horizons, which he acted to do almost compulsively throughout his life.
It was perhaps in Chicago that his horizon-broadening efforts bore the most fruit. Always an active person, Michael did what he could to swallow the city whole. He was gainfully employed at Shure Incorporated as a technical writer, and he continued to spend a great deal of time on Silkworm and related pursuits. However, he also started a web design business (wrds.net) and resumed his college studies, as he pursued a degree in visual anthropology from DePaul University.
The last few years of Michael’s life were marked by a series of recognizable milestones. He made landmark trips to Italy (twice) and Japan with Silkworm. He started a successful business. He bought a 2500-square-foot condominium deep on Chicago’s South Side, in which he lived with great enthusiasm during his last few months.
Every step he took forward was on a foundation of self-taught ability. Music, computers, writing (his hilariously honest tour journals at www.silkworm.net are perhaps his finest work), photography—he took his interests and ran with them, not in a distracted sprint but as a marathon. Between late 2001 and mid-2005, he took on the job of editing 145 hours of digital video into a 90-minute documentary film titled "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?," an outsider perspective on the Christian rock music scene. He taught himself film editing from scratch, building a ramshackle Avid system out of home PCs, and helped sculpt moments of true beauty out of the raw footage.
However, even as Michael had concrete achievements which were impressive, his greatest contribution to his family and friends was perhaps less tangible or at least harder to put into words.
Michael carried within him an almost pathological desire for human contact. His engagement with people he met even casually was full and immediate, and woven into his crazy quilt of work- and music-related activities were more close friends than most people have acquaintances. He inspired his parents, brothers, nieces, nephews, and peers with his generosity and free spirit. He was a lover of women who left precious few of them disliking him. He possessed an intense and lifelong dedication to “other people,” whether they were known to him at a particular instant or not—and once he knew of them, he made it clear he was interested.
Michael died while still growing. He died as a person already fully formed who was still somehow in the process of becoming, blossoming into his middle adulthood. He was a critical member of his family and various circles of friends, who are drawn together permanently not just by their grief and Michael’s absence, but also by their precious memory of him and the example that he set.
Survivors include his mother and stepfather Sydney and Mike Hoffman, Sr. of Whidbey Island, Washington; his father Paul of Portland, Oregon; his brothers Stuart of Los Angeles (with companion Kelly) and Adam of Seattle (with wife Koko and children Hazel, Violet, Josh, and Justin); his stepbrothers Mike Hoffman, Jr. of St. Louis (with wife Alicia and children Ava, Lucas, and Hugo) and George Hoffman of Seattle (with wife Sabrina and son Dylan); and his “brothers” and “sisters” in music and life Andrew Cohen (with wife Nicole), Tim Midgett, and Victoria Hunter of Chicago, Matthew Kadane of Boston, and Joel Phelps of Vancouver, B.C. His death is mourned and his life is celebrated by literally hundreds of people around the world.
Donations in Michael’s name will be accepted by Jane Addams Hull House and the Nature Conservancy. Please contact these organizations for details.
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