Those Darlins’ Jessi Zazu Passes Away at Age 28 | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, June 16th, 2024  

Those Darlins’ Jessi Zazu Passes Away at Age 28

She Lost Her Fight With Cervical Cancer

Sep 13, 2017 Those Darlins Bookmark and Share

Jessi Zazu, the vocalist for Those Darlins, died yesterday at the age of 28 due to cervical cancer. The Nashville band formed in 2008, had a sound that ranged from alt-country to garage rock, and released three albums (2009’s Those Darlins, 2011’s Screws Get Loose, and 2013’s Blur the Line). They went on hiatus in late 2015 and Zazu was diagnosed with cervical cancer in early 2016, mere weeks after finishing the band’s farewell tour. Since her diagnosis she continued to work on music with Those Darlins bandmate Linwood Regensburg and her publicist promises that details on when and how that music will be released is forthcoming. A press statement on her passing says “Zazu died surrounded by family, friends and fellow musicians who lined the waiting room inside Centennial Hospital’s intensive care unit.”

Regensburg issued this statement on his bandmate’s passing: “Yesterday I said goodbye to my best friend, long time partner in crime and hero, Jessi Zazu Wariner.

“She maintained a sense of humor and a commanding presence up until and through her final moments. She was in the company of those who cared deeply about her and who she cared deeply about.

“Shout-out to your contagious spirit that inspired all who crossed it. Shout-out to the creative dynamo who continued to flourish even against insurmountable odds. Shout-out to all the little triumphs over the last 16 months. Shout-out to the ridiculous van rides and the fights and to the fact that we never turned our backs on one another over the last decade. Shout-out to the dreams we made and the ones left to come. And shout-out to all of you who have supported her until the end.”

Zazu supported Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp for over a decade, first attending it as a camper. This past year she and the camp set up an “Ain’t Afraid Scholarship.” It was available to all who applied for it.

At the time Zazu had this to say about the scholarship: “Attending these camps as a young person really gave me the tools I needed to blossom creatively in safe and encouraging environments. After attending camp for four years and volunteering for the last 11 years, it’s something near and dear to my heart…. Every year I meet more and more young kids who are so thoughtful, caring, considerate, aware and full of so much enthusiasm for the future…. [Rock Camp] really changes their lives to have an outlet to express themselves and learn about how to navigate a world such as the one we live in.”

Zazu was also an artist who had gallery shows and designed the book jacket and illustrations for Good Booty, a recent book by NPR correspondent Ann Powers. She also contributed art to Vanderbilt’s Cancer Center, explaining that she “wanted it to be something that was inspiring to people because I looked around in the waiting rooms and I could see there were a lot of people who looked like they were having a hard time. It’s not always about being able to land a punch; it’s being able to take a punch. Not just that, but take a break and have your team come in and fix yourself back up.”

Zazu is survived by her mother Kathy Wariner, her father David Wariner, and her brothers Emmett Wariner and Oakley Wariner. Those Darlins also featured Nikki Kvarnes and Kelley Anderson.

Zazu had set up a YouCaring page to help with her medical costs. In December of last year she posted a brave video about her cancer diagnosis in which she shaved her head. That is below, along with some Those Darlins videos.

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