The Effigies Frontman John Kezdy Dead At 64
John Kezdy, singer of the Chicago post-hardcore punk band the Effigies, has died. According to local reports, Kezdy succumbed to collision injuries after an Amazon delivery van illegally stopped in a bike lane on Wednesday afternoon in the Chicago suburb of Glencoe. “Based on the initial investigation, the bicyclist was traveling northbound on Sheridan Road past South Avenue when he struck the rear of a stopped Dodge Ram ProMaster,” reads a statement from the Glencoe Public Safety Department. Kezdy was reportedly treated “with lifesaving measures” and taken to Evanston Hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead on Saturday evening. Kezdy was 64.
A resident of Highland Park, Kezdy was an athletic cyclist and attorney. He had even survived being injured in the 2022 mass shooting at that suburb’s Fourth Of July parade. After graduating from Evanston Township High School, Kezdy attended the University Of Wisconsin for one year before becoming the singer for the Effigies, which formed in the early ’80s as part of Chicago’s punk scene and were active until 1990. Kezdy’s younger brother Pierre Kezdy, who died of cancer in October 2020, played bass in area punk bands Strike Under and Naked Raygun.
The Effigies released five albums and several EPs, most of which were on the label they founded in 1981, Ruthless Records (distributed by Enigma). After splitting up in 1990, the Effigies eventually re-formed in 2004 and released their first album in nearly 20 years, 2004’s Reside. The Effigies were also featured in the 2007 film You Weren’t There, about the Chicago punk scene from 1977 through 1984. Outside of the Effigies, Kezdy also played in the short-lived band the Corrosives.
Later in his life, Kezdy earned degrees from Northwestern and DePaul College Of Law. He worked as a prosecutor with the Illinois State’s Attorney Office in Kankakee and bureau chief of the Office Of The Illinois Attorney General. He retired from the Attorney General’s office last year but continued to do part-time legal work.
“John Kezdy was a hero of mine,” wrote producer Steve Albini on Twitter. “Effigies were the first great band from Chicago’s scene, his stern, declamatory style influenced a generation and he helped me in material ways. Not overstating to say that without John and the Effigies, I would never have made any records.”