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Through song, South Florida's Web Three illuminates late bandmate's legacy

 

 

Troy Longhurst, member of Web Three and longtime Lake Worth resident, died on July 21 in a shooting in North Miami Beach. (Photo by Ari Justin Rothenberg)

“They say guns don’t kill people, people do. Well if people don’t have guns, they don’t kill you. You wouldn’t seek revenge. We keep it movin’. Kill them with kindness let the cameras do the shootin’.” William E. Bachelor III directs those lyrics to his recently deceased best friend and business partner, Troy Longhurst, on the track “Back to Hollywood (A Tribute to Troy Longhurst)”. The song recounts the duo’s recent business trip to Los Angeles but ultimately pays homage to a friend whose life was shockingly cut short. Penning the words to express a loss of such magnitude is difficult enough. When considering that the track by the South Florida band Web Three was written and recorded just days after the homicide that sent shockwaves through South Florida’s performance community, it stands as a testament to resilience and positivity. On July 21, Longhurst went to comfort his friend and business associate Jonathan Woolfson at Woolfson’s North Miami condo. Longhurst, who had been in contact with both Bachelor and Woolfson’s mother, was trying to get help for Woolfson, who was dealing with personal problems and depression complicated by drug use. While the exact details of what transpired next will never be known, but the final outcome will always remain that Troy Longhurst was fatally shot by Jonathan Woolfson and was found by Woolfson’s mother upon her arrival at the home. After a standoff with police, Woolfson would also lose his life.
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"I received a call from Troy’s mom that something was going on down at Jonathan’s house. I went there and the entire neighborhood was evacuated,” Bachelor said. ”There were police, ambulances, fire trucks, a SWAT team and riot control. I felt a drop in my stomach and knew something terrible had happened. I wanted to stay positive but it was hard to. Troy's girlfriend Nicole was in tears begging the detectives to tell her what happened. I just tried to be strong and be there for her. They finally told us that Troy had died just after midnight." By the next afternoon a link to the news story made it to Facebook and immediately the profile of Longhurst’s alter-ego, Telle Crooks, was met by an outpouring of emotion and support.

William E. Bachelor III (Web III, left) and Dominic Phillips (Dita Von Bloom, right), stand with Troy Longhurst\'s mother, Joy Longhurst DeNicola. (Photo by Ari Justin Rothenberg)

Behind the scenes, Bachelor and Longhurst's girlfriend, Nicole Torres, moved to Troy's mother Joy Longhurst DeNicola's Lake Worth home to comfort each other, plan the funeral and begin the rebuilding process. For Bachelor this included doing what he and Longhurst loved most -- creating music.

"I wrote the song to have it at his service", Bachelor said. "I wanted to paint a picture of Troy and the positive things that he had in his life, not dwell on the fact that he passed away. I started working on the song the following Tuesday (after his death) and we went into the studio on Wednesday." The session at Insane Sounds studio yielded two songs but it’s the track "Back to Hollywood (RIP Troy Longhurst)" that stands out as a melody-laden crossover hit and defining point for Bachelor and Web Three. Engineered by Marc Karmatz, the song features seamless interplay between the soulful vocals of Kaaren Styles matched by Bachelor's effortless ability to phrase and flow with the final product being something akin to a lotus flower in terms of Buddhist theory -- beauty which sprouts from muddy waters. The recording process was filmed and edited by long time Web Three collaborator Andrew Colton of 3rd Day Productions and released throughWebThreeMusic’s YouTube account on Aug. 1. Though Longhurst was only 29 years old at the time of his death, he had compiled an impressive list of accomplishments. A graduate of the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, he designed interactive displays for Kodak picture kiosks that can be seen in CVS and Walgreens stores. He produced videos for his own company,Focused Vision Inc., performed as his alter-ego Telle Crooks in the fetish inspired act, Telle Crooks & His Taboo Troupe, while co-owning and running Death Proof Records with Bachelor.

Troy Longhurst (Photo by Natasha Kertes)

Outside of his professional endeavors, Longhurst was best known for sharing his love of God and his compassion for others. A Miami photographer known as Heks FX shared his thoughts on Longhurst: “I met him shortly at the Tattoolapolooza event and hung out with him one more time. Those were the only encounters we had. On July 4, I ended up in the emergency room. Troy was practically the only one to call concerned about my well-being. We had a long deep conversation about life that I'll always remember. At that moment there I knew he had a big heart. Although he didn’t know me well he still took time to call to make sure I was alright. I really wish I would have known him longer.”

Death Proof Records recently released two recordings by Web Three: Do You, a full-length album of metal-inspired hip-hop and a mix tape entitled I Just Do Me, both of which Longhurst produced. Web Three was featured in WeMerge Magazine’s Summer Edition with a five-page cover story. Longhurst’s video forStephanie Carcache’s “In The Night” is his most recent big-budget production, and his production of the animated video for Web Three’s “Swim With A Gas Mask” was his final video project. Bachelor has indicated that there are plans for posthumous releases of other videos that Longhurst had in production. Bachelor goes into more detail about Longhurst’s death and his legacy on the podcast The Bill Murphy Show, which can be heard here. Web Three will be performing on Aug. 25 at Ghostbar in Delray Beach, and there is a hip-hop benefit show for Longhurst scheduled at the same venue on Sept. 29. Details are being finalized for an additional benefit show at Fort Lauderdale’s Exit 66 in October.
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Ari Justin Rothenberg