I believe, that when an artist dies, you must fill the void with their art.
One of my all-time favorite musicians was the singer and songwriter, of Stone Temple Pilots and other bands, Scott Weiland. STP’s Core and Purple were two of the first albums I ever bought for myself, and for over twenty years I have loved their rousing tunes.
At the heart of the music is a voice unlike any other, is an emotional ferocity, a creativity, and a poetry unique to itself. Please listen to “Big Empty”, my old favorite, and “Atlanta”, my new favorite as of this year (it took me nearly twenty years to change my mind on that one), to see what I mean.
When Scott passed it hit me hard.
I do not care about his past; his death was unexpected and it was utterly sad. His demons never let go of him, but I still felt his decades of struggle were a tragedy, and his art was soul-bearing and resonate, no matter how many hundreds of times I listened to it.
And then David Bowie fell to cancer; it was bitter, sudden, painful...tough to swallow. The brilliant actor, musician and artist was up and gone, not of old age, but of a malady that no one can seem to cure, no matter how many stars are dimmed forever because of it. And he will forever be the greatest emanation of Nikola Tesla that I could ever imagine gracing the silver screen.
I love to listen, re-listen and to play these guys' music (my awful, raspy rendition of "Five Years" and “Sour Girl” and so on), and it hurt me so damn much.
The words and melodies, the voyages, the mind, body, and soul impacted so many in myriad ways and forever changed the world for the better.
Now why the fuck did they have to go so soon?
They were strangers to me, I never met either of them; though I did get to see Scott Weiland leap from the stage at Jones Beach and stand on seats, many rows deep, with his megaphone, to the utter ecstasy of the crowd in a legendary show. But my point is I did not know them, and I will not claim to know them just because I know their art. All I really know is their art, from my perspective, and what their art means to me. And it means a fucking lot. A lot more than I can even put into words, though my rambling tongue will die trying. Scott sang, “conversations kill” yet I keep talkin’.
David died, and it hurt so much.
David Bowie was gone. Fuck cancer.
He had just made an epic record: a grand fucking masterpiece that spoke back to Ziggy Stardust and Alladin Sane and “Cat Power” and yet evolved into something wholly new. Blackstar is a beautifully epic, spacey, funky, classical menagerie of an album. And just as quickly as it came, David was gone.
It was not fair.
And right around this time, an old school friend of mine named Adam passed away at the age of thirty-two.
Adam was a master guitar player – one of the true natural talents that echo the brightest of abilities with seemingly little effort (though what was the total of the countless hours he spent honing his craft, only he will ever know) – and he was a great musician, artist, and a kind human and a good friend.
He would help anyone for the sake of helping.
And he was gone. We lost him.
I still cannot believe you’re not there to talk music or philosophy or just laugh over a beer with. He brought me into my 1st garage band, 38 Down, when I was fourteen or fifteen. I learned how to write songs, how to strum a guitar, and how to yell with all my lungs from this guy.
Adam gave me my first guitar, when I was sixteen, and that Epiphone has not rested ever since – it went with me in the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan where “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was frequented and on to the rest stop of Tahoe and the coffee shop of Sonoma and back 3000-plus miles to Long Island. I will always cherish the instrument that he gave me.
We had not been close for many years, and now I rue the missed opportunities to jam with him. He’s gone, passed away 50 or 70 years too young - it's crushing.
For those who wish to donate to an important cause bringing aid, awareness and support to those suffering from the disease of addiction, and their families, you can reach out through the “Look Up For Adam” Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Look-Up-For-Adam-195509140801081/?fref=ts.
This grief eats away at you, whether it is for utter strangers or once good friends or both.
For the artists that have gone on, we all need to unite. For those that impacted us, their art is what we have to remember and to propel more and more, to blast on high ever loudening, as our days go on.
The pang of sadness is a lot sharper when an artist is taken at a young age.
There is not just a void in us, but there is a void in the world when an artist leaves this plane of existence.
And now I have not been a huge Prince fan by any means; I just never got around to really get into his music (and I am sure I will), outside of “Purple Rain”. But Batman is one of my all-time favorite movies and so too one of my favorite soundtracks, which was all Prince.
Now he too has left us. Seeing Elvis Costello bring down the house at the Beacon with an impromptu "Purple Rain" as my wife and I lost our minds screaming with joy will forever be one of those magical music moments in time for me, for as long as I live.
And Prince is gone.
The man's art was amazing.
We have a void to fill. Maybe you do not believe in a collective consciousness or Ralph Waldo Emerson, but there is something we can all do.
Project their art.
If, for nothing else, do it for yourself. Play the art that had/has/and will have meaning for you.
Send up a call and play their art!
For these fine musicians, and for ourselves, we can project their art forever.
It may be something they would be happy to know, were they alive, that we would continue to follow our bliss through their art far after they passed on.
You are so missed...
But we can fill the void.
P.S. Listen to STP go over the master tracks in the studio to reflect on their beloved friend, Scott Weiland, after his passing in a heartfelt tribute; the song is “Atlanta”, and I will warn you: you might cry the first time you hear this.
I have turned the tide and started on my journey. Words and Worlds hang in the balance and I am writing it all down before the RJ Tower! Read about my newest novel on CyberwarSeries.com