November 28, 2020

Bob Biggs, Los Angeles Punk-Rock Entrepreneur, Dies at 74

Mr. Biggs graduated from La Serna High School and attended U.C.L.A. on a football scholarship with hopes of going pro. But he blew out his knee during his first season, and the injury ended his athletic career. He reinvented himself, majoring in fine arts and immersing himself in the city’s theater scene, and he showed his drawings and paintings at some local galleries. Before long, he was living next door to Slash’s offices.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Montezuma Ariel Alexander Biggs, and a sister, Judy Biggs. His marriages to Leslie Ward, Ms. Spheeris and Stella Marmara ended in divorce.

Slash released its biggest commercial hit, Faith No More’s album “The Real Thing,” in 1989, and it also released music by Rammstein, the Chills and L7. The label was sold to London Records in 1996, but Mr. Biggs stayed on. After a series of corporate mergers, Slash closed as an active label in 2000, but Mr. Biggs reacquired the rights to the name a few years later and Slash eventually relaunched as a reissue label.

Mr. Biggs lived in New York during the London Records era, but he later moved back to Southern California with his family, settling in a mountainous desert area of Tehachapi, where he built a ranch with an art studio to work on his large-scale oil paintings. A collection of his pastel paintings featuring a series of babies’ heads was used as the art for “To Be Kind,” a 2014 album by the experimental rock band Swans. In 2016, Mr. Biggs learned that he had Lewy body dementia, a neurological disease that affects movement and cognition.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of X’s “Los Angeles,” and as Mr. Doe reflected on Slash Records during his phone interview, he disagreed with the snobbish notion that Mr. Biggs had no punk spirit.

“In the best definition of punk rock, Bob was actually very punk,” he said. “He wanted to change things, and he didn’t accept the status quo. When someone told him, ‘You can’t do that,’ he said, ‘Oh really? I’m going to try.’”

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