Goodbye, David Bowie.

 

bowie

 

I don’t even know where to start with this one. A couple of days ago, I lost one of my personal heroes.

I consider my first real introduction to David Bowie to be the time I heard “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” on the radio way back in 1995. I was in high school and my musical tastes were just coming into their own, but I knew the second I heard it, I was on to something. It tapped straight into the dark, layered aesthetic that I already had swimming around in my head, but couldn’t articulate. I rushed out and got Outside, which would go on to become one of my favorite albums of all time, and followed that up by snatching up anything and everything I could find with his name on it, starting with Low.

I went very much out of order, but I didn’t care. I devoured his discography, and it quickly became apparent that this alien who I’d known only by name and reputation had written song after song that spoke directly to me. It was like someone had reached into my brain and set my mind to music. He both saw the world as I did and somehow gave me a whole new way of looking at it. It wasn’t just music. It was a distant kinship.

I was one of those stereotypical artsy misfits in high school. I never scored the pretty girls or hung out with the popular kids, but I had my own identity that I cultivated and guarded. I soon took a certain private pride in being the only kid in school who could recite every lyric to every song on Hunky Dory. I was a loner and a weirdo and Bowie let me and the rest of us loners and weirdos know it was ok.

I could go on further about his importance and relevance, but it in the coming days and weeks, the internet will be full of those types of tributes, written by people who are much more eloquent than me. I will say though that he was not only my personal favorite musician of all time, but also one of my biggest influences and obsessions. He managed to create and transcend style, always managing to stay three steps ahead of anyone else. Just when you thought you’d finally solved the slippery riddle of what it took to be “cool”, he reminded you that he’d already redefined the word twice while you weren’t looking.

You simply can’t escape his influence. Hell, my best friend named her daughter after him. That kid’s going to be the coolest kid in school one day.

We can take solace in what he left behind – over thirty years of pure genius. Yes, there were a couple of missteps along the way (you don’t put out that kind of volume without having a few misses), but cousin, when the hits hit, they hit. My only regret is that I never got to see him perform live.

Thank you, David Robert Jones (Bowie). Thank you for literally changing my life and leaving behind one of the greatest musical legacies since the inception of rock and roll. And thank you for the parting gift of Blackstar, an album that not only acts as a fitting goodbye to his fans, but a flawless and poignant reflection of a man at the end of his career and life. You had a good run, buddy. Thank you for all of it.

 

R.I.P. Angus Scrimm

 

angus

This past weekend was not how I wanted to start off 2016. This is the first of two tributes I’m writing tonight and I’m not exactly thrilled about doing either one.

A few days ago, we lost a true gentleman of horror. I had the pleasure of meeting Angus Scrimm a few years ago and it was one of the best celebrity encounters I’ve ever had. It was in 2012 at the Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, NC. Those of you do conventions know how it goes. Upon arriving, you have your sights sets on your priority guests and make a bee line straight to their tables, then kind of get around to your own personal b-listers, and so on. So, even though I saw Mr. Scrimm sitting at his table on and off, I kind of took my time to get around to him. I’ve always really enjoyed his work, but if I was being completely honest with myself, he wasn’t at the top of my list that night.

The day went on, pictures were taken, autographs were collected, and before I knew it, things were wrapping up and everyone was packing up their tables. I decided to do one final sweep and hit all the ones I hadn’t visited yet. As I approached his table, I felt a little bad about ignoring him all day (surprisingly, he never had much of a crowd), but it would turn out that my timing was perfect.

I’d spent my total budget on autographs, so I asked him if I could just get a picture. He said he hated to charge me, but it would be $10, and as much as he would love to do it for free, his “people” would get angry, even though they’d stepped away for a few minutes. I was totally tapped out, so I asked him if we could just talk for a minute.

What followed was one of the best convention experiences I’ve ever had. He asked me to sit next to him and for the next 20 minutes or so, we exchanged brief life stories. He seemed much more interested in me than I was in him. He was incredibly kind and soft spoken and a truly gracious gentleman. The guy couldn’t be more different than his character in the Phantasm series.

After discussing me for a bit, I shifted the focus to him and we discussed how he first got into acting, the convention experience, and a little about his home life. I’ve had some really positive experiences with celebrity encounters, and a few not so great ones, but he was all class and his encounter definitely ranks now as one of the most memorable. I can’t say enough good things about him, and from the tributes I’ve read from celebrities and fans alike in the last few days, everyone echoes that sentiment.

satan hates you

Just before he had to leave, he gave me this flyer for Satan Hates You, a film he had just finished, which sadly I haven’t seen yet. I plan on doing something about that this week.

Angus Scrimm scared the living hell out of me as a kid and I literally had nightmares about him looming over me, yelling, “Boooyyyyyy!” Who didn’t? But, meeting him was one of the best highlights of that weekend, and of every convention since. R.I.P. Tall Man. You’ll be missed.