A Member Of The Pearl Jam Family Has Died: ‘Give Chris A Big Hello’


Pearl Jam’s lighting guru Keith Wissmar has passed away. A GoFundMe has been launched for funeral costs. Wissmar’s work with the band goes back to the early 90’s, and many have taken to social media to pay tribute.

Ex-Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese wrote:

Keith Wissmar. I am happy to hear your pain is gone. I’m at a loss for words to hear of your passing. Keith was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Seattle. He and Eric Johnson had me laughing and scratching my head from that first meeting on. I will always remember Keith with a smile of appreciation. The first time Keith helped me move my drums from the basement of Potatohead to the Mural Amphitheatre… -The Sexecutioner ‘Brown Finger of Love’ recording session… -The conversations we had after I was fired from Pearl Jam…-Seeing him light up around his little baby girl LuLu… Keith always had a way of making me think about things in a good light. Thank you, Keith. I love you.

Give Timmers, Chris and all our pals a big hello for me…

Rest easy & peacefully.

Friends, no need to offer anything to me. I am happy to celebrate the life of a friend. My sadness isnt for anyone but me. The feelings that I want to share with you are the feelings that come from the appreciation of having had the times we had. Celebrate the moments & the memories!

Pearl Jam wrote:

RIP Keith Wissmar.
Our dearest friend…

Lance Mercer wrote:

we all need light, not only to live but to grow.

I can’t photograph anything without light.

Keith Wissmar was the master of light.

some of my favorite images of Pearl Jam were a direct result of his amazing talents with light. Little did he know, we worked in tandem, silently, creatively harnessing and capturing those decisive moments of those historic shows.

Not only did I have the humble pleasure of working side by side with Keith, but lucky enough to call him a dear friend. I was allowed into “never a dull moment” inner circle with his side kick Eric Johnson. Motto was always “Life can always make you laugh”, something Ive carried with me every day since.

Ive always admired and respected Keith’s attitude about everything…fatherhood, friendships work, etc. We became partners of light again a few years ago, this time with cancer. We had a few meaningful conversations, and even though we were separated by many miles we remained close in many similar ways, again, working in tandem. Keith NEVER took friendships for granted, he cherished them.

The world lost a true artist today.

For you Keith, I will continue to fight and for you, I will kick cancers ass.

The WIZZ LIVES on in each of us…rest well my brother.

Jay Blakesberg wrote:

Yesterday I lost a dear friend and a legend in live music. Keith Wissmar lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Keith was a Lighting director for some amazing artists we all love. Pearl Jam, Neil Young, CSNY, Gary Clark Jr., Ben Harper…and many more. It’s odd that we didn’t meet until 1999 considering how many close friends we have in common. I was asked to come shoot a CSNY rehearsal in Redwood City.

I asked Keith if he could turn the minimal lighting up a bit that was there in the dark cavernous warehouse (as we know photographers are nothing without light) – and of course he had no issues granting my request. It only took Neil about 15 minutes to yell to Keith to “turn down the damn Landing Lights” that were in his eyes…So right there we bonded as the guy’s who Neil was yelling at for a split second. We quickly learned that I had shot many other shows in the past that Keith had worked on, and a long list of Seattle friends, and of course we continued to work together over and over for another 17+ years. The first few years that i photographed the Bridge School benefits, I think Neil was happy with lights that were about as bright as a pocket flashlight, but once Keith took over that gig, it all changed, and I captured MANY iconic Bridge School moments with Keith providing “The Light”.

I was surprised to see him last month at Monterey Pop 50. He was frail, but for someone facing death’s door, he was upbeat, he was positive, and he was sure we would see each other again. We had a great hang! He was a hero, and he will be missed by me and many others! To Young to die! #fuckcancer May the Four Winds Blow him Safely Home…Love you Keith!!!

Below is the GoFundMe campaign description:

On Sunday, July 30th at 10:46am the stage lights went dim as we said goodbye to Keith Wissmar. Sincere condolences to Keith’s daughter (and light of his eyes) Lulu; his loving partner and caregiver, Sherry and her beautiful children, Jacob and Sydney; his former wife of 25 years, Tina; friends, and his vast and amazing Rock’nRoll family.

As we reflect on the many wonderful ways Keith has touched all of our lives – this GoFundMe was created to help his family with funeral/memorial expenses.

Please consider a gift to help relieve the financial burden so they can focus on grieving and healing.

Please feel free to share memories or messages here.

Your pictures, stories and memories not only celebrate his unique spirit, but they keep Keith here with us – thank you for sharing them.

Information on memorials (LA and Seattle) coming soon.

We will also have a mailing address for sending condolences, memories anmonetary gifts.* More information will be provided as it comes available.

As we all process this devastating loss – look up at the next sunset and consider it Keith’s beautiful handy work.

About Keith Wissmar:

Well known and loved in the tight-knit music industry, Keith was one of the best Lighting Directors in the concert business. If you’ve been to concerts like The Bridge School, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Neil Young, and Jack Johnson (just to name a few), you have seen Keith’s handywork illuminating the live music stage. Beloved Father, partner and friend, Keith also illuminated the lives of many with his beautiful smile, creative spirit, and unstoppable zest for life.

*Gifts on GoFundMe or by mail are not tax deductible. If sending a gift check, make payable to “Lulu Wissmar” (address coming soon)

  • Lucky Neko

    So when is it going to be Vedder’s turn? Can’t wait for that, hah!

    • Playin Jane

      not cool

      • Corndog

        Some people…I just don’t get it. I have deleted the comment on the grounds of basic human decency.

  • Mike Greene

    I don’t get why Keith needs a gofuckme account for funeral and burial.If all these people loved him so much and he had no assets,savings or insurance why then isn’t a member of the band or the band itself doing this for such a great guy.Eddie I’m sure could pay it out of pocket and not feel a pinch.
    What do I not understand here?
    I have buried two friends,bought a headstone for a father-in-law I never met and payed off a home for a friend plus legal fees.
    When I’ve been in a jam or two I extricated myself but It is the Lord and other example that showed me the only way to truly be a good person is to give.The more I gave the more I got in life.I could not believe this when I was younger but I’m 55 now have way more than I need and taught my sons this same principle.I told them that if it doesn’t work then stop but lo and behold these boys are hard workers and have far surpassed even my expectations.
    Sorry for the ramble but Keith,Godspeed to you.You are free from the burdens of the world and a life well lived is it’s own reward.

    • Donna Hamilton Stickley

      I agree 100%! When I read this, that was the first thing I thought too. Why a gofundme page? Then again, we don’t know them personally nor do we know all of the details. All we can go by is what is reported, and with that, the question comes…

    • Corndog

      You have a commendable outlook on life man. The world could use more folks like you!

      Eddie spends so much time during concerts banging on about ‘rich assholes’ that he seems to completely forget he is one. It was the same a while back when they were looking for money to buy Andy Wood’s mother a house if memory serves. What was it that Eddie once sang; ‘the haves have not a clue’.

  • Shawn Medeiros

    “Kieth, can you hit the lights so we can see people” rest well