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Harvey Danger Bassist Aaron Huffman Dead at 43

HarveyDanger.com / Photo by Ryan Schierling
HarveyDanger.com / Photo by Ryan Schierling

There’s sad news to report as Harvey Danger founding bassist Aaron Huffman (seen at far right in the photo above) has passed away at the age of 43. The news was reported by Sean Nelson, singer of the band who now serves as the arts editor and music critic for The Stranger. Nelson penned a tribute to his former bandmate, revealing that the musician had died March 6 of respiratory failure following a long illness.

According to Nelson, Huffman joined him at The Stranger, working as the art director for the past nine years. The bassist died surrounded by his family and those who loved him and Nelson reports that he was not in pain.

Huffman and Justin Lin founded what would become Harvey Danger in 1992, asking Nelson and Evan Sult to join them a year later. The band enjoyed their biggest success with their 1997 debut album Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? which featured the breakout single “Flagpole Sitta.” The track topped out at No. 33 on the Mainstream Rock chart, but was a huge alt rock single, climbing to No. 3 on the Modern Rock chart. The song also enjoyed appearances in the ’90s films Disturbing Behavior and American Pie.

While Harvey Danger enjoyed great success with their debut, their following albums didn’t reach that same sales plateaus. The band released King James Version in 2000 and Little By Little in 2005 before splitting up in 2009. In addition to “Flagpole Sitta,” their cover of the English Beat’s “Save It For Later” and the original song “Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo” also cracked the charts at radio.

“I’ve often said that Aaron’s distinctive distorted bass, which he often employed as a melodic lead instrument, was the signature element of the band’s sound,” stated Nelson in his tribute, later adding, “Aaron dedicated so much of his life to making music and art, and though he liked when people liked it, what really meant the most to him was that his work be part of the fabric of the city. He drew essential life force from the rhythms and pleasures of Seattle, from the friendships he made while walking its sidewalks, drinking its drinks, seeing its art, reading its comics, hearing its music. The homemade subcultural life here in the early ’90s drew Aaron out of his intense shyness, and gave him a model for emerging as the smart, funny, gentle, discerning artist, husband and father he became.”

Our condolences to the family of Aaron Huffman and his extended Harvey Danger and The Stranger family. Read more of Nelson’s tribute to Huffman at The Stranger.

Harvey Danger, “Flagpole Sitta”

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