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DJ Dennis 'Erectus' Netto Dies

He was a true radio rebel whose show filled the airwaves all over the Bay Area with unimaginably strange characters and humor.

 

Dennis Netto, known on air as Dennis Erectus, died Wednesday of a heart attack, six years after a previous attack left him brain damaged and under constant care in a Burlingame center.

Erectus was huge in the 1980s, a disc jockey who was Wellsian in his use of theater of the mind. He was shocking, yes, but unlike Howard Stern whose antics were racially and sexually provocative in a junior high locker room style, Erectus was more like a character in a strange Goth play. He was the FM Wolfman Jack, favoring music from heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath.

He pushed back hard against the conformity of corporate radio and managed to survive in the industry he loved in one form or another until 2006, when he suffered a crippling heart attack after Thanksgiving dinner, as he was on his way to do a show.

You would see him in area bookshops or in the audience of concerts looking like a vampire. Not that he was made up or trying to be different. That was just him.

"DENNIS was an original and talented shock jock who pre-dated the notoriety of HOWARD STERN," producer Don West told All Access. DENNIS worked briefly in TEXAS, but SAN JOSE was his home. Even long after he left the station and KOME closed, selling its frequency to KUFX, people in the area still talk of him, and remember his remarkable style."

Erectus, 61, had recurring guest characters such as Mistress Monique, a dominatrix portrayed by writer/comedienne Stephanie Landers, The Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, a parody of the famous televangelist, and Johann Schmidt, a right wing Republican extremist, according to IMDB.com

I used to lisen to Erectus from Santa Cruz, sticking the antennae out the window sometimes to make sure KOME could be heard over the static. The most frequent sentence that went through my mind was: "Did he really just say that?"

Hear a classic Dennis bit as he wrecks disco records here. Note his reference to the KOME spot on the dial. That was classic.

Here's a rememberance by Gary Singh at Metro.

 

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John Bartas June 27, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I'm so sorry to hear of Denis' passing. Loved his show back in the 80s, especially the destroying disco, his political humor, and the time he was a presidential candidate, wanting to be "erected" president. He was truly an original. RIP, Dennis.
Plunk June 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I interviewed Dennis in high school, dude almost had me thrown out! But I still loved every second.....RIP
Chris Ruona June 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Rip to Dennis. I miss his great antics from back in the day 1975 to 1994 loyal listener until we moved to Reno NV. Renoruona
Kevin Haddock August 26, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I still have many tapes of Dennis (that the white trash burglars here in Reno did not steal from my house)! I met with him once in the early 1980s before moving to Reno, and gave him copies of all the tapes I made of his show. He defied the FCC and the George Carlin "seven words you can't say on radio," and contributed to the Silicon Valley, one of the most unique and innovative places in the world. Thank you Dennis, for enriching my experience in the Valley of the Hearts Delight!
Bob Sandberg August 29, 2012 at 04:17 PM
RIP to Dennis Erectus & Pamela Reid. Pam and I loved to listen to Dennis back in the early 80's. Pam past away in 2009, they both will missed.

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