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First Avenue staffer Billy Sverkerson has died

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Twin Cities music venue vet Billy Sverkerson died early Sunday morning. The well-known and well-liked figure in the local scene was most recently employed at First Avenue, but his career in the music business traces back to the late '70s when he started working at the 400 Bar and eventually became a manager. He was 60.

It was at the 400 that the red-haired Sverkerson gave the Jayhawks a shot earlier in their career, and he often shuffled patrons out the door at the end of the night with the phrase "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." According to an interview with the Current, these words helped inspire Semisonic's Dan Wilson to include the lines in the band's hit single "Closing Time."
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After leaving the 400 Bar in the early '90s, Sverkerson managed at Hubert's by the Metrodome, among other spots, and joined his brother Conrad at First Avenue in 2005. A genial fellow to all who spent time with him, he provided a hospitable presence for artists (and even journalists) visiting the venue.

According to a detailed obit at the Current, Sverkerson was diagnosed with an immune system affliction known as aplastic anemia about three years ago. Only a few weeks ago a doctor's visit revealed that an aggressive form of cancer was in his lungs and was spreading to the rest of his body.

Many members of the local music community have already voiced their sorrow for the loss of such a kind friend and colleague:

Trampled by Turtles frontman Dave Simonett:
-- dave simonett (@davesimonett) November 25, 2013 Atmosphere:
Ike Reilly:
The 4onthefloor's Gabriel Douglas:
The Current's Ali Lozoff:
DJ Jake Rudh:
The Chalice's Claire de Lune:
We will publish information about his memorial service when it is made public.