Nicky Wonder, longtime guitarist for Brian Wilson and one of the founding members of the Wondermints, has died, aged 59.
“Today is a sad sad day,” Wilson wrote in a statement posted to his website yesterday (August 7). “It is with my deepest regret to tell you that our beloved Nicky Wonder passed away last night in his sleep. We are in a state of shock as you can imagine. But we are going to honor him with tonight’s show.
“Nicky was my favorite guitar player ever. I always loved the way he used his fingers. He was a real Rock and Roll guy and great singer too. He was a friendly and very nice person and he was really really funny. He had the best sense of humor. We are all crying today, he will be missed beyond words.”
The Beach Boy finished his statement by adding: “Our hearts go out to his wife Susan and his entire family, friends and fans. We love you Nicky.”
Today is a sad sad day.
It is with my deepest regret to tell you that our beloved Nicky Wonder passed away last night in his sleep.
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) August 7, 2019
Nicky Wonder was born Nick Walusko on May 22, 1960. Forming the Wondermints with Darian Sahanaja in 1992, he and Sahanaja were both fans of Wilson’s work, long before they met him, according to Sahanaja.
“When I met Nick Walusko, who I formed the Wondermints with, one of the first things we bonded over was Smile bootlegs,” Sahanaja told Rolling Stone. “We got to know [music historian] Domenic Priore and a small group of us became the Smile intelligentsia of that period.”
The Wondermints released five albums: their self-titled debut album in 1995, followed by covers album, ‘Wonderful World of the Wondermints’, in 1998, 1999’s ‘Bali’, 2002’s ‘Mind if We Make Love to You’ and 2009’s ‘Kaleidoscopin’: Exploring Prisms of the Past’.