Paul Johnson, the influential Chicago house producer, has died. A post on Johnson’s Facebook page revealed the news that he died this morning, which was also confirmed to Mixmag by Johnson’s agent. In July, Johnson shared videos from the hospital on his Instagram page revealing that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He was 50 years old.
Johnson started DJing and hosting parties in his mother’s basement in the 1980s. One day a friend’s gun was accidentally unloaded in the basement, resulting in a gunfire accident that resulted in Johnson needing a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In 2003 one leg was amputated and the other leg was amputated in a car accident in 2010.
“This part of my life takes up more than 80 percent of everything,” said Johnson in a 2014 interview about his health in the hospital bed. “I always smile when I’m on the street. I always do anything anyone wants,” he said. “But when I go home, I hurt myself.”
In the 90s, Johnson produced music for Chicago house labels like Moody, Dancemania, Relief, Nite Life, Defected and more. In 1997 he co-founded the Dust Traxx label. His 1999 song “Get Get Down” was one of his greatest international hits. He’s had records with Robert Armani as Traxxmen and with Gant Garrard as Brother 2 Brother. He remained active as a tour DJ and recording artist until 2021. On the daft punk song “Teachers” Johnson’s first name is in a long list of influences from the duo.