CHICAGO — If you’ve ever rocked out to one of your favorite bands at The Vic, Jason Plahutnik was one of the reasons why it sounded so good.
Plahutnik was unfortunately found dead inside the venue Sunday, Oct. 15 at just 44 years old.
“He was found unresponsive and the paramedics worked really hard,” sister Kristin Hebda told WGN News. “But we still don’t have answers.”
Starting out at Park West, The Vic ended up being Plahutnik’s “home away from home” — where he rose from a sound assistant to production manager over 25 years.
“He is one of those guys who is irreplaceable, he was infectious,” JAM Productions owner Jerry Mickelson said. “Jason lived and breathed The Vic.”
It was in his blood — Jason’s father has an audio background and also used to run sound at The Vic. Long before getting used to being around rock stars regularly, his father played a joke on him involving the one, the only — Iggy Pop.
“My dad goes – ‘Iggy Pop wants to talk to you,'” Hebda recalled. “‘Dad, stop messing with me, I’m busy.’ Then the top guy Ginger got on the radio to yell ‘Iggy Pop wants to talk to you!'”
Plahutnik was stunned that it was real and he and his dad ended up going into a green room to mix it up with Iggy.
“He mixed the hell out of that show,” Hebda said.
Plahutnik was involved in local bands and had his music played on WXRT.
While music and his career was part of his spirit, family said his two children, Tuesday and Gavin, were his true passion.
“He did everything for my niece and nephew and co-parented beautifully,” Hebda said.
Following his death, The Vic has been honoring Plahutnik with a sign on its marquee.
“His attention to detail, his calm demeanor — Jason was the most reliable guy and someone you want to have on your team,” Mickelson said. “He cared so much.”
Hebda decided to create a GoFundMe to help his children. Not surprisingly and a testament to his character, over $50,000 was raised over the last ten days.
“I knew he was loved by so many people but it was amazing to see that come through,” Hebda said. “Everything will go to his kids.”
Family said goodbye to him on Monday.
“This isn’t goodbye, it’s just see you later. We’ll take care of everything here. We love you.”