By Gregory Crofton
Lil Peep, a once-a-generation superstar in the making, who had “Exit Life” tattooed across his back, died unexpectedly in late 2017 right as he was gaining a broader recognition in pop music and American culture.
His fans, I’m one of them, still miss his punk Generation Z aesthetic, his sense of fashion, and his catchy punk emo-raps, which are filled with honest, personal lyrics … i.e. “I’m not gonna last here. I’m not gonna last long.”
“Everybody’s Everything,” executive-produced by filmmaker Terrence Malick (Tree of Life, Badlands), a family friend, and directed by Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan, charts the short and messy life of Lil Peep.
Think Post Malone and Dashboard Confessional with a dash of Sid Vicious, that’s the level of talent and charisma Peep had, all of it lost when he overdosed before a show at the age of 21 after ingesting toxic levels of Xanax and fentanyl.
How did this young man’s life implode so quickly? The film explains his formative days, family life and unexpected death. Interviews with his mother, grandmother, and grandfather — who was John Womack, a noted Harvard professor who studied Marxism and a best friend of filmmaker Malick — provide a solid foundation for the doc. All three relatives clearly loved him, able to see past his face tattoos and unconventional lifestyle.
Peep (his real name was Gustav Åhr) had a difficult relationship with his father. His parents got divorced in 2012 when he was in his teens. He became an outsider who believed in providing for his friends. He intentionally released his music outside of traditional corporate outlets.
The internet and social media played a huge part in making his career spring to life so quickly, which meant both good and bad things. Peep frequently shared parts of his private life on Instagram, where he had more than four million followers. Many of the posts showed him taking drugs. It’s worth noting that Peep was also a big fan of Kurt Cobain, who died by suicide at 27.
Without even a full-length album out — his tracks had been released on SoundCloud and YouTube — Lil Peep flew to Russia and found fans ready to greet him at the airport. That same day he headlined a sold-out 3,000-seat venue in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the fourth largest city in the country.
But Peep’s penchant for drugs, and accepting drugs from friends and even sometimes strangers, likely made for his untimely end.
“If people wanted to hang out, even if he was tired, he would never say ‘no,'” said his manager Bryant “Chase” Ortega in the film. “There were times he’d be like ‘I don’t want these people in my place’ but he’d never tell them to leave.”
Peep was discovered dead in the lounge of his tour bus, parked outside the Rock, a small club he was set to play in Tucson, Ariz. Other members of the tour, only his second official one of the U.S., have said they had no idea anything was out of the ordinary that day.
In October, Liza Womack, his mother, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peep’s management team. Likely there is no one person to blame for the death of Lil Peep, but the music he made, and his image, is now worth millions.
Since his death two posthumous records have been released, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2”, and a soundtrack that accompanies this new documentary, “Everybody’s Everything,” which you can buy and watch now on Google Play.