Sounds of Sorrow: As Authorities Investigate if Fentanyl Played a Role in Death of Local Musicians

The electronic music world is mourning the loss of Jose “Luis” Vasquez, renowned for his contributions to the post-punk project the Soft Moon, and John “Juan” Mendez, a prominent Los Angeles DJ known as Silent Servant. The duo, along with Mendez’s partner, Simone Ling, were discovered lifeless in a loft in downtown Los Angeles, raising concerns of a suspected fentanyl overdose.

Jose “Luis” Vasquez, 44, had garnered global acclaim for his work with the Soft Moon led to him sharing the same stages as Depeche Mode, Interpol, and Mogwai.  His sudden demise prompted a heartfelt tribute on the Soft Moon’s Facebook page, describing it as a “huge loss” that left hearts broken. Simone Ling, identified in media reports as Mendez’s partner, was also a tragic casualty in this unfolding story.

The discovery occurred last Thursday, January 18th at Mendez and Ling’s residence in the Pacific Electric Lofts on Main Street. Vasquez’s wife initiated a welfare check, leading authorities to the grim scene. Law enforcement sources, not authorized to discuss the investigation, revealed the presence of drug paraphernalia, prompting an ongoing investigation into the possibility of a fentanyl overdose. 

Gone too soon

While the entertainment industry has a long history of narcotic substance use, the California Department of Public Health is making every effort to warn the public of this new age drug and the severity of the fentanyl crisis, describing it as a synthetic opioid up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl, both pharmaceutical and illicitly manufactured, has become a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in California and the United States.

The extreme potency of fentanyl poses a significant danger, as it can be added to various drugs to enhance their effects. The difficulty in detecting fentanyl without the use of test strips makes it a hidden threat in substances like heroin, methamphetamine, counterfeit pills, and cocaine. 

The California Department of Public Health urges caution and highlights the importance of fentanyl test strips, which can provide results within 5 minutes and potentially be a life-saving measure.

Adding a crucial note to this information, residents in downtown Los Angeles can conveniently obtain Naloxone (Nacral), at almost all downtown Los Angeles CVS stores. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, providing a potential life-saving intervention.

As the music community grapples with the loss of these talented individuals, the tragedy serves as a poignant reminder of the pervasive dangers associated with fentanyl and the urgent need for awareness and support.

Author: Hanny Playa

Lover of all things music. Seeker of the highest frequency. When I’m not writing or attending concerts I’m marching to the beat of a different drum.