Obituary: Ziggy Sigmund was a Vancouver punk rock icon

The guitarist played with a who’s who of Vancouver’s alternative music scene.

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The Vancouver music world was stunned on Tuesday by news of Ziggy Sigmund’s passing.

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Ziggy was a staple of the alternative music scene for decades as the guitarist of Slow and Econoline Crush. Over the years he has played with a dizzying number of bands and solo artists, from Scramblers to Rockhead and Art Bergmann.

He was a gifted musician, a prototypical punk-rocker with his bleached-blonde hair and penchant for black. But he also taught yoga for several years, working as an assistant to the controversial Bikram Choudhury of Bikram yoga fame in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, Sigmund has had health issues for the past few years following a car accident in Los Angeles that left him with a spinal injury and on painkillers. He had surgery in Los Angeles which seemed to fix the problem, but he was hurt from behind in another car accident in Vancouver and it destroyed his neck again. So he started taking medication again.

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He lived in Creston and worked with Trevor Hurst of Econoline. A Facebook post on Saturday said people were looking for Sigmund, who was back in Vancouver. Vancouver police have not confirmed Sigmund’s death, but Hurst posted news of his death on his Facebook page. The cause of his death has not yet been determined. He was 56 years old.

“His sudden passing took us all by surprise,” Hurst wrote on Facebook. “He was a brilliant musician, a creative genius, an entertaining conversationalist and the best shot.”

Slow rock group in 1986. Back row, left to right: Tom Anselmi, Stephen Hamm and Christian Thorvaldson.  In the middle, Terry Russell and, in front, Ziggy Sigmund.
Slow rock group in 1986. Back row, left to right: Tom Anselmi, Stephen Hamm and Christian Thorvaldson. In the middle, Terry Russell and, in front, Ziggy Sigmund. PNG

It was. Ziggy was very charming, good humored and unassuming, and full of stories. He always seemed to have a guitar and always seemed to have a new musical project going.

David Charles Sigmund was born in Michigan on August 23, 1965. His parents were anti-war hippies and moved to Vancouver in 1972.

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“At the time, they thought America was just not a place for kids to grow up,” Ziggy’s brother Jimmy said.

The family lived in Marpole and South Vancouver, where Ziggy attended alternative schools (New School, City School, and Ideal School).

“I can’t remember when he got his first guitar, but it was definitely before he was a teenager,” said Jimmy Sigmund, who played bass with another legendary local punk band, Death Sentence.

“We have always had a practice space in the basement. My parents were very supportive of me – you can imagine teenagers having a punk rock band in the basement, I’m sure that wasn’t the most enjoyable thing for them. But they were still super supportive, coming down and watching us go crazy.

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David Sigmund became Ziggy as a child.

“It may have started as Siggy, but it’s like it fits her,” her brother said. “I didn’t really call him Dave…ever. His name became Ziggy.

After stints with high school bands Fitz and Missing Children, Ziggy joined Slow, a fiery band known for their frenzied gigs. After Slow broke up, Ziggy joined a succession of bands, eventually finding commercial success with Econoline Crush, where he co-wrote the hit All That You Are.

After he started doing yoga, he moved to Los Angeles where he played music but paid the bills working with Bikram.

“Bikram would call him Lamppost, because he was so tall and thin,” said Stefan Siggerson, a Vancouver producer who worked with Ziggy in California.

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“Ziggy was convinced that Bikram never knew his real name. Bikram would be, ‘Lamppost! Go to my house and bring me one of my Rolls-Royces! He had a full garage, like 20 Rolls-Royces.

“It’s inexhaustible, the antics and the adventures that happened with him.”

Ziggy returned to Vancouver after his car accident in LA, let his hair grow back to its natural brown and regained Slow for several live shows in 2017. He also toured and recorded with a reunited Econoline Crush.

“The most exciting guitarist I’ve ever seen,” said Siggerson. “He was just one of those guys who goes there, he does it, he makes it happen. I’ve never worked with someone who can do magic (like that), on any instrument Give the guy a comb or something, a hairbrush and he would do something with it.

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Rock band Slow, November 28, 2017. Left to right: Christian Thorvaldson, Ziggy Sigmund, Stephen Hamm, Terry Russell and Tom Anselmi.
Rock band Slow, November 28, 2017. Left to right: Christian Thorvaldson, Ziggy Sigmund, Stephen Hamm, Terry Russell and Tom Anselmi. Photo by Gerry Kahrmann /PNG
Vancouver punk legend Ziggy Sigmund on May 28, 2021.
Vancouver punk legend Ziggy Sigmund on May 28, 2021.
Members of Econoline Crush at the Much Music Awards in Toronto in 2008. Ziggy Sigmund is at left, next to singer Trevor Hurst.
Members of Econoline Crush at the Much Music Awards in Toronto in 2008. Ziggy Sigmund is at left, next to singer Trevor Hurst. Photo by Peter J. Thompson /Peter J. Thompson
December 5, 1991. The rock group ©, also known as Circle C or Copyright.  From left to right, Ziggy Sigmund, Eric Marxsen, Tom Anselmi and Pete Bourne.  Missing from the photo is Christian Thorvaldson.
December 5, 1991. The rock group ©, also known as Circle C or Copyright. From left to right, Ziggy Sigmund, Eric Marxsen, Tom Anselmi and Pete Bourne. Missing from the photo is Christian Thorvaldson. PNG

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