Eric J Lawrence Death – Obituary: In Loving Memory of Eric J Lawrence: According to an online obituary on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, Eric J Lawrence has passed away unexpectedly. However, cause of death was not disclosed.
Lawrence’s radio career started at KLA, UCLA’s student station. As with most college radio, non-mainstream fare reigned, and Lawrence thrived in that environment. “I continue to be motivated by this ‘alternative’ spirit,” he says, “and however alternative KCRW is to other stations (and it truly is), I aim for my show to be somewhat of an ‘alternative’ even within KCRW’s own diverse programming.”
Lawrence debuted on KCRW in 1996 as a substitute host, and then nabbed his own slot in December 1997. He notes, “We’ve had a number of personnel changes since then, but the general aesthetic of the station’s music programming has remained the same: to offer an eclectic mix of cutting-edge tunes.”
To give you an idea of his range, on a recent show, Lawrence spun tracks by Don Cavali, John Foxx, the Royals, Jerry Reed, Terry Reid, Faust, Planningtorock, the Free Design and his favorite band of all time, the Fall. It’s an odd amalgam of artists, but your WTF? gradually morphs into OMG! the longer you listen to Lawrence. He admits to being “a rocker at heart,” but his selections reflect diversity and acumen.
“KCRW has always been open to singular people with idiosyncratic tastes, and Eric J. Lawrence is emblematic of that,” KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour says. “He brings to the station a truly singular perspective, an unflappable good humor, and a sincere and appealing way of interacting with both the music and the audience.”
Mourning his passing, Nic Harcourt penned down his heartfelt condolence via a statement on Facebook, he wrote;
RIP: Eric J. Lawrence. I had been in touch with Eric via text a little over the last year as he was dealing with debilitating health problems, most recently in Mid December, when it looked like things were finally turning a positive corner for his recovery. As he said to me then “Two liver transplants later, I’m pretty happy about things”.
Two days ago I heard via EJ’s good friend Andrea Leonard that Eric had picked up a fungal infection that had turned into meningitis and that he was in a coma and not going to make it. I was shocked, like everyone else who knew him and have been finding out the sad sad news that Eric has passed. I told Andrea that I wanted to say something on my KCSN show and play The Fall, of course, and thru EJ’s mom was given the go ahead to do so yesterday morning. A few people have asked me if what I said was archived, unfortunately not, but I’ve been asked to share it so here it is.
“As we wrap up the show today a friend and colleague is transitioning from this realm and I want say a few words about my pal Eric J Lawrence who worked with me at KCRW during my first ten years In Los Angeles. He actually worked for me as the station’s music librarian, adding all the new music to the library as well keeping track of the station’s vast collection of Vinyl and cd’s. From 1997 til 2019 he also hosted a weekly show ‘Dragnet’ named after an album by his favorite band The Fall. He described the show to be “somewhat of an ‘alternative’ even within KCRW’s own diverse programming.” And it really was; an amazing three hours of radio from midnight til 3am on Tuesday mornings. A mix of great new and old music from multiple genres. And his voice, no flash, always welcoming, like he and his listeners were in the same club, together.
Eric was not just a man of music though, he was also a man of words, he worked at the Beverly Hills public library for many years, and before he got sick he went back to school at CSUN actually, and got his MA in English language and literature/letters. There’s so much more but suffice it to say, Eric was a great guy and massive help to me when we worked together, he knew more about music than anyone I know and probably had the best music taste in the building.
He was a bright shining light and as a a mutual friend said to me this morning “Its hard to know and love ourselves and Eric made it look effortless” So as I wrap today’s show I go out with Eric’s favorite song Flat of Angles from his favorite band the Fall. And wherever he’s going next , let him pick the music. Onwards EJ.”
It’s been so wonderful and beautiful to see Eric’s KCRW family coming together here to show how much he was loved by everyone he touched. He’s already so very missed, but how lucky we were to have him here.
Here’s a great piece on, and interview with EJ from the OC Weekly from 2008.
Words fall short of expressing our grief for your loss, as we mourn with family and friends for this great loss. We are truly sorry to hear of the loss of this promising being. Please accept our condolences and may our prayers help comfort you. Please receive our heartfelt condolences.
Feel free to drop condolences messages and prayers for the family and friends of the deceased as it will go a very long way at this difficult time of theirs.