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(Credit: Freelance Whales)

Music

Freelance Whales bassist Chuck Criss has died

Multi-instrumentalist and Freelance Whales bandmate Chuck Criss has died, by his own hand. Criss’ brother Darren issued a statement to the public.

“Despite our very vocal concerns about his well-being,” Darren wrote, “and his protestations that everything was fine, it’s crushing to say now that Chuck clearly had had a severe depression welling up in him for some time, a depression that was only worsened by a lifelong struggle he had with expressing his feelings – a dangerous combination truly outmatched by his all-too-incredible ability to conceal it. Not just from the world at large, but most tragically, from the people who were closest to him.”

Criss doubled as banjo player and bassist in Freelance Whales. The band existed from 2008 to 2014, releasing two albums and a collection of standalone singles, before seemingly disbanding in 2014. Chuck and Darren Criss released the EP Lost Boys Life for the Computer Games project in 2017, before releasing two additional singles, including the song ‘Computer Games’, in 2020.

Darren Criss says the last few years were very difficult for his brother, and he struggled through a variety of difficult patches. Chuck Criss was born in April 1985. The musician’s suicide was met with widespread sadness, as thousands wrote to commiserate with the family on social media.

Freelance Whales released a recording of a cover of Lucius’ ‘Don’t Just Sit There’ for the 2018 compilation album 10 Years of Mom + Pop but have otherwise been largely inactive since 2014. Individual band members have been focusing on their own projects, putting their creative attention to good use in other ways.

Freelance Whales song ‘Starring’ was used in the 2012 remake of The Inbetweeners. Their song ‘Generator ^ First Floor’ was made available to the public as a free download in 2010, while ‘Generator ^ Second Floor’ was used on Covert Affairs, during a conversation between characters Auggie and Annie. Their music was also used in an episode of Ugly Betty, opening their music to a more mainstream form of audience.