Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Safe Travels

This is weird.
Two deaths of prominent rockers in a week.
Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie - both of cancer.

Remember the good old days, when real rockers died of overdoses?
It's not that I miss them, but.... cancer? It's a shame we can't declare war on cancer.
Not profitable.

Cancer aside, we (whoever we are) are roughly the first generation of rock and roll.  As such, our heroes (sorry) are getting old (as are our friends, but that's another matter entirely). We will theoretically outlive them.

Some color their hair. Some gracefully go gray. But they're in their seventies now. That's not old these days, but still...

I guess the magnitude of their personalities and achievements are what really got to me. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of either but I appreciate their contributions. After all, David Jones (changed his name to Bowie because of Davy Jones in the Monkees, who recently died of a heart attack) brought us Stevie Ray Vaughan. Plucked him from obscurity. You can hear that solid blues wailing on Let's Dance. To me it was a weird fit but Bowie had an eye for talent.

Lemmy is a bit of a hero to me, not so much for his music, but for his attitude. From a very young age, he knew what he wanted to do and he did it, damn the consequences. I'm not going to say snorting speed and drinking Jack+Cokes like water at seventy is the most healthy way to do things, but it was his way, absolutely to the end.

Lemmy hung out at L.A.'s Rainbow Room, with an actual stool of his own. He played some sort of video game obsessively.  He wasn't feeling too well and had lots of checkups, with no results. The last tour was apparently played by sheer effort of will, as he wasn't well at all offstage. Finally he went for more tests, at which point an aggressive head and neck cancer was diagnosed, with an expected time of two to six months to live. The owner of the Rainbow Room brought the video game to Lemmy's apartment. Two days later, while visiting, Lemmy expired quietly, sitting right there at the machine.

Lemmy got a great sendoff. His son, girlfriend, Slash, Metallica, and Dave Grohl spoke, among others. I had no idea what a warm, giving, intelligent soul he was. He did not, however, suffer fools gladly.

He did it his way. Much respect.

The tributes are pouring in for Bowie. He was really something. Music aside, he had a great sense of humor, per his bandmates and Eric Idle, of Monty Python.

So here's the tough one: What is our legacy? How do we wish to be sent off? How do we wish to be remembered? Did we do it our way? Were we reasonably happy? Did we do stuff for others? Did we generally do good?

And for the atheists, I guess it doesn't fucking matter.

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