I have a full refrigerator. There's something comforting in that, psychologically speaking. When you get right down to it, I'm satisfied by mundane things. A couple of bucks in my pocket, a healthy cat, some food and a job. It doesn't take much more than that. I've never been much of a thrill-seeker. I don't get the urge to have sex with last-call hookers or jump out of airplanes. I can find enough thrills in the little things, which is why I don't understand the kinds of hobbies that men find themselves drawn to.
Jet skis, sky diving and the All-Terrain-Vehicles are huge indulgent wastes of money to me. If I had that much money to piss away I could find a lot better ways to piss it than to buy something that is (a) maintenance intensive and (b) potentially life-risking. That said, when someone kills themselves doing one of these things it makes me sad because to me it is avoidable.
One of my little pleasures is the thrill of live music. I enjoy concerts and live music if the performers are willing to put themselves out a little in order to excite me. Fiona Apple does it for me. She gives of herself physically and emotionally. Michael Hedges did it. Sadly, he passed many years ago on a winding California highway. There will never be another like Michael Hedges, trust me.
Umphrey's McGee does it. They enjoy their music and their enjoyment flows to the audience. Most of the artists I like make their music personal. It isn't about "I love you" or some other generic nonsense that any American Idol winner could sing about. Their music emotes and it makes me think or act in a way that I wouldn't normally think or act.
I've been a fan of the Dave Matthews Band for a long time. When I had Prodigy Internet service the music boards were full of DAVE MATTHEWS BAND headings to the point that I could no longer ignore what so many people found intriguing. I bought "Crash" and was hooked. Sadly, they don't get a lot of mainstream radio play, which means we have to work harder to get to the music, but the hard work makes it worthwhile. Anyone can like music that is spoon-fed. That takes zero effort.
I took a friend up on an opportunity to see them in concert a few years ago, when they were playing in Camden. Until then, I had never seen them live and only knew them from the five minute songs on the CDs I had. Sometimes, things dawn on me that I wish I had known about before. Such was the case.
Now, I'm hooked. I see them four or five times every summer, and until today it's all been fun and games. The news came out today that founding member and saxophonist LeRoi Moore died from complications of an ATV accident he had in June. They aren't saying, but I'm guessing it's internal injuries. Thrill seekers.
LOS ANGELES - LeRoi Moore, the versatile saxophonist whose signature staccato-fused jazz and funk overtones onto the eclectic sound of the Dave Matthews Band, died Tuesday of complications from injuries he suffered in an all-terrain vehicle accident, the band said. He was 46.
He found his thrills his way and I find them my way. Selfishly, my thrill is diminished because of his. That's the way it is with drug abuse or other forms of physical abuse. As Dave said, "It's always easier to leave than be left."
LeRoi is gone and we are left. It isn't one of those John Lennon things or what some would consider a major rock and roll catastrophe, but LeRoi was responsible for more than we realize. Not only did he arrange the songs, but he founded the band, which makes him a linchpin - musically speaking. When you're in a band, there is a hierarchy that is unspoken but exists. I'm sure that, in the context of the band, when LeRoi spoke, people listened.
Selfishly, I wonder about the future of the band. I wondered anyway, because none of us are getting younger, and that touring stuff is draining. Every show I saw became a little treasure. I could say, "I saw them in Hershey and they were great!" one more time and I came to appreciate it a little more as the years went on.
Now that what musicians would consider the 'heart and soul' of the band is gone, I wonder if they will go on as a shadow of themselves or re-invent themselves? It's the Dave Matthews Band in name, but a big part of their heart is gone. To most people, LeRoi was in the background, but to the band he was in the foreground. Life is odd that way.
I don't go to reunion concerts of Journey, Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer or other such great bands that are left as a shell of themselves because I prefer to remember them as they were rather than what they should be. I hope Dave Matthews can find his musical soul and learn from what LeRoi gave the band. That way, we'll all be able to continue to live out our little thrills in life and remember what we had and what we have - which is the best way to remember people.
Rest in peace, LeRoi.