No weddings and three funerals

20May10

[I wrote this a week ago, but I didn’t want to make the first post in my new blog such a “downer”.]

12 May 2010

Already three funerals in 2010, and that’s three too many. Today, I was at the funeral of Rackam, guitar player of Blutt. Frenchmen with a rock ‘n’ roll soul are rare. Born the same year as me, and dead from the results of hardcore alcoholism.

In January, it was the double funeral hit. Chloé, the very sweet girlfriend of my friend Manu, dead of cancer. Séb Favre, a truly remarkable rocker, kind, intelligent, with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, responsible for selflessly organizing tons of shows in Paris and making everyone’s rock ‘n’ roll life better, also victim of hardcore alcoholism at the age of 48.

I missed the recent funeral of Bruce Rohers in San Francisco. But I saluted him all alone when I heard the news, which brought back a wonderful memory of the day he spent hammering with me on 2×4 platform framing, teaching me how to nail it properly and make it come out square.

And on the same subject, I remember the funeral of Billy (Bass Wolf) a few years ago in Tokyo. With another friend, I put one of his bones in a jar using chopsticks. It was intense. His little children were there. They told the kids that dad was in outer space among the stars now.

Naturally, funerals touch you deeply, and, what’s more, you can’t help but think that one day it’s gonna be you in the box. And there is the unavoidable moment when you look around at the other funeral attendees and realize that you probably look as old as they do. That moment is getting worse and worse.

Today was a “no speeches” funeral. Just a tape (or probably a CD) of music that Rackam apparently liked. I was impressed by the brilliant selection of Daniel Johnston’s “Do You Really Love Me“. I can’t say the same for the choice of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. But, finally, it was not my funeral and not my business. Everybody’s a critic.

Just the same, this experience made me realize the importance of what is called “prévoyance” in French (EN: foresight, planning ahead). There is a terrible risk that, if I don’t do the proper advance work, somebody else is going to program the music for my funeral (which will certainly happen one day, but hopefully a long time from now) and I will be spinning in my grave (FR: “je me retournerai dans ma tombe”). This is probably not an original observation/project, but a good one just the same.

The only solution is to start now and work out a great DJ set for that terrible day. But what songs? A stroke of luck: I was drinking shots at the Planète Mars tonight (the logical way to finish a day that started with an alcoholic’s funeral) and Yves was spinning what began as an excellent punk set (as he had advertised on Facebook) and then diverged into lame Joy Division shit. Overall, the music got worse and worse. However, after sniffing a lot of poppers, Yves redeemed himself with what I realized is the first truly excellent answer to the question, the Ramones’ “Pet Sematary“.

So the list has now been started. I will note other songs from time to time on a slip of paper in my pocket. I’m sure there must be a Kinks tune that will work…

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2 Responses to “No weddings and three funerals”

  1. 1 evz

    Je te suis ! Thx nice text.

  2. 2 Matt

    That was a beautiful little piece there. I’ve also thought about that soundtrack of the future. And the current over-the-top speechifying craze. But I haven’t started gathering songs. I guess it’s time.


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