Update, Sept. 6: Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the state medical examiner's office, confirmed on Friday morning that the manner of Josh Burdette's death was suicide.
Concert venues are about the live music experience, but then again, they're not. We were reminded of this on Monday when 9:30 Club spokeswoman Audrey Fix Schaefer confirmed the Washington venue's manager and "face of the Club" Josh Burdette had died on Sunday. He was 36.
Judging from the immediate and emotional outpouring on social media, the death of Burdette -- the affable manager/head of security with the large ear plugs and heavily inked forearms who had been a 9:30 fixture since 1997 -- is a substantial loss for the club, the East Coast music scene and beyond.
Baltimore music fans have mourned the loss of Burdette as well. On Tuesday morning, 28-year-old Jess Pfohl of Timonium emailed Midnight Sun about the news.
"Over the years I developed a nice friendship with him between seeing him at 9:30 and Merriweather [Post Pavilion], and I am sure I am not the only one around these parts who did," Pfohl wrote. She included a photo (above) of herself with Burdette outside of the 9:30 Club in 2010.
The time and cause of death are still being investigated, but ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington reports Burdette was found dead in his Kensington home early Sunday night. WJLA also reports "authorities are investigating the death as a possible suicide."
9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz released the following statement Monday afternoon:
In the Washington Post'sobituary, writer Alex Baldinger called Burdette "perhaps the most recognizable presence in all of Washington nightlife." Chris Richards, a pop music critic for the Post, interviewed Burdette in 2006, and came away with quotes that seemed to capture Burdette's level-headed spirit. When asked about bouncing horror stories, Burdette replied: "I could tell you about the biggest brawl I've ever been in, but that's the exception, not the rule. I like to focus on the positive."
Update, Sept. 7: A scholarship fund at the University of Maryland, College Park has been set up in honor of Burdette, according to an e-mail from Schaefer. Money will be awarded to a student participating in the school's Student Entertainment Enterprises program (SEE). Schaefer wrote:
Donations can be made through PayPal using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.