31 May 1963, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 21 August 2003, Evanston, Illinois, USA. The prodigious output of this US singer-songwriter belied the fact that he suffered from schizophrenia, and indeed his prolificness may indeed have been a result of his illness. Viewed by his fans as a cult hero to rank alongside the equally troubled and equally prolific Daniel Johnston, Willis music also angered some observers with some critics deeming his entire career an essay in exploitation and tasteless voyeurism.
The child of a broken home, Willis spent part of his early years in foster homes around Chicago before returning to live with his mother. He gained a reputation as a street artist but ongoing mental problems were apparently worsened by an armed robbery in 1989, with Willis claiming he was haunted by demon voices ever since. His interest in music was awoken at the start of the 90s when he picked up an electronic keyboard, and before long he...