I’m sure that if you care you’ve already heard that Rudy Ray Moore, aka Dolemite, aka the Human Tornado, aka the Disco Godfather, aka Petey Wheatstraw, aka Prince Dumar, died Sunday in Akron at the ripe old age of 81.

This post is mostly to make sure that if you care you also read the funny, touching remembrance Clinton McClung has posted on WFMU’s blog, which recounts a weekend he spent with Moore in 2006. (You might also want to check out the piece David Whiteis wrote about him for the Reader a few years back.)

My old band the Afflictions had the good fortune to play one of the opening slots for Moore at a Beat Kitchen show in 2002, and though I hardly managed to hang out with the guy, I still remember the grand swaggering entrance he made. It’s shocking to learn now that he was 74 at the time.

Moore and his right-hand man were both wearing floor-length fur coats and matching fur hats, one ensemble white, the other purple, and they made a badass procession of two, glad-handing their way through the capacity crowd and bestowing a long-stemmed rose–that is, a plastic long-stemmed rose with a blinking red LED in its heart!–upon any woman they found suitably bodacious. Later I learned that my friend Camilla had gotten one. “I think he’s trying to turn me out!” she said. “I’m kinda excited about it.”

The world is a slightly less funky place without him.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.