Music is my only friend.
I have been trying for MONTHS to write about Gregg Allman’s death. Life got busy. Life events are happening. Yet, I would sit down every week and try to write about how much Gregg meant to me. It always seemed the right words weren’t coming.
When Gregg died, I was broken hearted, but yet, I knew it was coming. I think most fans knew that the end was coming. Early in May reports had gone out that he was dead. But there he was tweeting he was alive and in Georgia, where he belonged. We didn’t know 3 weeks later, the reports would be real. But again, Gregg had been ill and battling liver problems for a long, long time.
Gregg knew his time was coming.
Have you heard the single “The Road is my only true friend”. When you heard it, I bet you broke into tears and nearly crashed your car into a jersey barrier. No? That was just me? Oh well. When I heard that song when I first heard it WRECKED ME (and nearly my car). It was Gregg’s goodbye to all of us.
Then Chester Benington died.
While Chester’s death didn’t affect me personally, I know quite a few people who were devastated by his death. I was sad. Sad for his fans. Sad for his wife. Most of all sad for the six kids he left behind with questions.
Then this week. THIS. DAMN. WEEK.
I woke up Monday morning to the news of yet another mass shooting. This time it was Vegas at a Jason Aldean show. Gun control opinions aside (we all have them), all these folks wanted to do was go to a festival and have a good time. That’s all any of us want to do. The world is bat shit crazy and for me and many like me, live shows are a place to go and be with people who are of the same mind. It’s horrifying that a place I consider my solace is being torn up by a fucking wing nut with a gun. Why? Well, we probably won’t ever know and that pisses me off. 59 people getting ready to hear their boy Jason Aldean were gone in an instant because of a whacked out asshole. It sucks.
I was already sad for this country and music fans as I went about my day. Then, just as I was pulling into the parking lot to watch my teenage nephew play some football (yes, on a Monday, here in the Northeast there were religious holidays the schools had to observe), my text message notification goes off. It’s my uncle.
Tom Petty was reported dead.
I sat there for a moment staring at the phone. I read the message three times before checking Google. All had one thing in common, he was reported of having no brain activity and I was sad. Tom Petty. A musician that since I was 11 years old when I first saw the video for “You got Lucky” was gone.
My son commented how “Lucky can’t die!” because we both loved the animated TV show “King of the Hill”. Tom’s performance as Lucky was always my favorite part. I finally left the car and watching my nephew play, all the time thinking what an incredibly shitty day it was.
Tom was everywhere.
His music helped us all. Who will EVER not associate “American Girl” with Silence of the Lambs? Okay, maybe that’s just me and my twisted family, but we love that song and we love that movie. My friend’s cover band plays American girl all the time for me and my best friend. I hope they will do that again when we go to see them play next week.
Maybe a regret or two.
My one regret in regards to Tom was that I didn’t go to any of his shows this last tour. I find I’m not the only one who felt “Oh, I’ll go next time he comes around” was a phrase I read a lot on Facebook from my friends. I wanted to go to the first show in OKC, but it didn’t’ work out with my friends that live out there. When he was coming to NY, he was going to Brooklyn and it’s a big pain to get to the venue and I really didn’t have the money for the show after dropping a lot of money on Rocklahoma. I had also already been to a few other big ticket shows and really didn’t have the extra cash.
So, I opted not to go.
I’m kicking my own ass now. If I learn one thing from Tom’s unexpected death, you want to see someone, no matter who it is, go see them. Get yourself there. I’m following that motto by trying to hit as many shows as I can starting in November.
Don’t let the fear that something bad may happen at a show prevent you from going to a concert. The people who perform and host these events do what they can to keep us safe, even if we don’t agree with the rules. Trust me, I had some issues at Rocklahoma and now I’m realizing that they were just doing what they could to keep everyone safe. If you are able to spend money on a big ticket, spend it. Go to the show! Don’t be like me and countless others thinking “oh, the next time they come around” because there might not be a next time.
More importantly, get out there, no matter how tiny your scene is and see local bands. You never know who will become a star, but you’ll know that you’ve had some great times with hardworking musicians on the tiny stage. Get out there and go do it. Music is the one constant friend we all have and can share. Get out there and show your favorite musicians some love.
This will always be my favorite “look” for Tom Petty. I love the song “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and the video with the Alice in Wonderland theme made it even cooler.
Rest in peace, Sir. You’ll live on in our hearts an the music you so lovingly created.
All I thought about when I heard about Gregg’s death was “Well at least he and Duane are reunited.” These two guys changed music and we were all so lucky to have them for the time we did.