On the evening of Monday, Feb. 23, 2021, the Colorado Springs music community and the world lost a great person, Ian Wilcox.
Ian, also known as MONiKer, was a jolly giant who would attend any local show he could. He was a dedicated member of the local hip-hop scene, a big part of the spoken-word open mic known as Word Wednesdays and was a founding member of the music/art-oriented zine What’s Left Zine.
I first met Ian in 2010 at Tony’s. I was with my friend Josh talking about starting that zine. We met Ian and talked about hip-hop and politics all night. From that moment, he came on board to do it with us. We had few ideas, but we started creating a zine with music, art and political discussion for the community. We couldn’t think of a name for it, and then Ian came up with “What’s Left.”
Through the past 11 years, Ian has been a huge part of the local music scene. He interviewed artists and got their names out to others. He introduced me to the whole 719 hip-hop scene, and brought us all together to do shows mixing different music communities. He engaged with the musicians and showgoers, making them all feel special. And with his passing, people in the community are sharing their memories.
“I never saw him mad. Almost every time I interacted with him he was smiling and trying to make others smile,” explains local MC Eric “Earsiq” Radke. “He supported me from the first time he saw me perform. He was the first person to interview me for any publication. He and I had many deep conversations about life, love, religion and great music. He will be missed greatly.”
“He was the first dude I met in high school out here in Colorado, and once I started doing hip-hop he came to all our shows and I introduced him to everyone. He just kept going to all the local shows and became everyone’s best friend,” says Travis Sethman of The Famm Crew.
Ian’s love for creativity wasn’t limited to music. He also cared deeply about all forms of art, including poetry. He gave poets a platform to include their poems in the pages of zines and also helped sponsor Word Wednesdays.
“Ian greeted the world with a wide-eyed and generous heart and gave himself in every connection he made; and Ian was the best at making authentic connections,” says Colorado Springs poet Susan Peiffer. “He was universally compassionate, giving, kind, and had a capacity for love that is so rare these days. He was the biggest champion any one of us has ever been blessed to have on our side. He leaves an indelible mark. He is always Love.”
“The respect and love for me he had felt so genuine and real that I still feel it,” adds local poet Luke Cissell.
Ian was a hard-working journeyman electrician with IBEW Local 113 and loved his work. When he wasn’t working, he went to shows and was a huge part of our music scene. Just ask anyone who stood behind him at a show!
“Ian was such an incredible person, and friend. I have often heard that we have a special scene/community here. Ian was definitely part of what made it special. Many of us are feeling as though we have lost a family member,” says Bullhead*ded’s Zet Thompson. The band as a whole also released this statement: “Ian always had our back. He was one of our closest friends. An extension of our group, and many others. An honorary member of Bullhead*ded. I have seen an outpouring of love for him from our community, and couldn’t agree more with everyone’s sentiments on this incredible human being. Especially when our friend Audrey Julian mentioned how she wishes he knew how much we all loved him while he was here. Love you Ian. Love you friends! We are here with open hearts, and arms.”
Ian “MONiKer” Wilcox will most definitely live on in our memories. His partner April Bauer has a simple request: “I hope that everyone who knew Ian can take comfort in the fact that he left a little piece of his heart with each of us, so he’s not truly gone.”