Josh Burdette, the beloved night manager and head of security at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club, died over the weekend, and a wealth of musicians have publicly mourned his passing.
As WJLA points out, Burdette was found dead in his Kensington, Maryland, home early Sunday evening (September 1), and news spread on social media the next morning. Public Enemy’s Chuck D paid tribute to the late D.C. music-scene fixture, tweeting, “Rest In Beats Josh Burdette 930 Club King a good dude & supporter of PE Rap & musicians,” with a link to the Washington Post‘s obituary.
Many other artists have honored Burdette, including Ryan Adams (“Rest In Peace… =/”), Bob Mould (“Rest in peace, my friend”), Aesop Rock, Frank Turner (“Woke up to the news that my dear friend Josh Burdette from 9:30 club has passed away. Absolutely gutted. RIP.”), and Garbage, who tweeted, “Fond memories of this lovely man. D.C has just lost a real gentleman. Our sincere condolences to his friends.”
Burdette was synonymous with the 9:30 Club, to the point that regular venue patrons knew him simply as “that guy from the 9:30 Club.” He was also instantly recognizable, considering his six-foot-four, 340-pound frame, scraggly beard, and assortment of piercings and tattoos. Intimidating stature aside, Burdette had a reputation as a gentle, thoughtful man. “I have a degree in psychology, so I watch people — it’s what I do,” he once told the Post.
Burdette began working at the 9:30 Club in 1997 and reportedly took great pride in his work. “First off, I hate the word ‘bouncer,'” the Post quotes him as saying. “I’m not a bouncer. And once I’ve established that with somebody, I take it personally if they call me a bouncer. I do security.”
In an official statement (via Consequence of Sound), 9:30 co-owner Seth Hurwitz said: “Josh was one of the wisest people you would ever meet. When you talked to him, you hoped you would be lucky enough to retain some of that wisdom, but you had to make the effort as he never forced it on you. But every word he spoke was from one of the kindest, most thoughtful and well-centered folks you could hope to have in your life. And then there was the fantastic joke that people that didn’t know him fell for every time. Here was this scary-looking dude that was a complete contradiction of his appearance. I think everyone felt a little ashamed and learned from that.”
Hurwitz continued: “We were all so proud to have him as our ambassador to the world. He was as 9:30 as 9:30 gets. I’m pretty good at moving on but this one’s gonna be tough. There will be no getting over it, sorry.”
A cause of death has not yet been released, but Montgomery County police said they are investigating the incident as a possible suicide. According to the Post, he was 36 years old.