WICKER PARK — DJ Adam "Chunk-A-Bud" Maljan, an influential force in Wicker Park's house music community and a talented craftsman, died on Friday. He was 43.
Maljan, who lived in Gage Park with his parents, younger sister and two nephews, died "suddenly and unexpectedly" while at home early Friday, according to his sister, Alana Maljan.
Alana Maljan said her family believes Adam might have suffered a heart attack, but the cause of his death has not been determined. Autopsy results were pending, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
"His influential spirit was ahead of its time and touched an uncountable amount of artists. He is remembered for his good heart, his intelligence, a discography of awe-worthy music and the laughter we shared," the Maljan family said in a statement.
A memorial for Maljan is planned for 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, 643 W. 31st St. in Bridgeport.
Born Feb. 9, 1973, Maljan was one of five children raised by Francis and Bonnie Maljan. He graduated from Franklin Fine Arts Elementary School and attended Curie High School.
Adam Maljan was preceded in death by a brother, DJ Troy "Abstract" Maljan, who died in 2005 at age 36 from sudden heart failure, Alana Maljan said.
Adam and Troy Maljan were business partners in an underground music lounge, Club Naked, which enjoyed a brief but impactful tenure in the late 80s and early 90s.
Throughout the 90s, Maljan was a DJ at Wicker Park's Red Dog, a dance spot at 1958 W. North Ave. that recently reopened as Annex.
On Monday night, the Annex's weekly "Boom Boom Room" house music event will become "Red Dog Supreme Funk Parlor" in memory of Maljan, organizer Diz Washington said in a Facebook post.
Maljan's DJ nickname was traced to the early 90s.
"One night he was getting ready to perform and he was holding a nugget [of weed] and a girl turns to him and says, "Damn! That's a big chunk of bud!" And he hooked it from there," Alana Maljan said.
In addition to his parents, sisters Alana and Anais, and a brother, Alex, Adam Maljan is also survived by his 25-year-old son, Jazz Craft.
On Monday, Maljan's Facebook page was packed with tributes, photos and links to music, including a track Maljan mixed in Brussels in 1998 during a two-year period that Alana Maljan said was the height of her brother's career.
"He was in Brussels producing music, spinning records and touched a generation of creators," Alana Maljan said.
Doug Brownfield, a former Double Door bouncer who relocated to Austin, Tex. said that Maljan's "contribution to music will live forever."
Brownfield said Maljan was a DJ at clubs Shelter, Red Dog, Art Attack, Lizard Lounge, People Lounge and The Ruby Slipper.
Eric Williams, owner of the recently relocated Silver Room, said that Maljan was a highly skilled music editor who could "make a house music record from a disco record."
Williams hired Maljan to build and wire the DJ booth at The Silver Room.
In addition to music talent, Brownfield described Maljan as "a bad-ass carpenter" who worked on interior projects for Sultan's Market, Debonair Social Club, Division Ale House and other Wicker Park spots.
Renown DJ Derrick Carter was among the dozens of mourners to post on Maljan's Facebook wall.
"For those of you who knew Adam, you knew he was a lifer. Still hustling them tracks, still planning a takeover. Ideas and thoughts bubbling but always handy with that quick smile. Damn. RIP kid," Carter said.
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