Tuesday, August 16, 2016

R. I. P., Frisby...

Ever wonder who Frisby, the one quoted under my blog's title, is? His real name was Drew Allen. We both had accounts at the website Fur Affinity, where we met about nine years ago. We never met in person -- he lived in the Pittsburgh area, and I was in Henrico, Virginia and later Nashua, New Hampshire. I haven't blogged much in the last five years, and I've read almost no other blogs, political or otherwise, in the last couple of years. As for FA, I pretty much lurk around there to see what kind of new artwork or music people have come up with. Of all the folks I've met online, Drew was the one guy I kept in touch with at all -- and even then, I was down to two or three texts a month, tops.

We shared a deep interest in music, though, Both of us were musicians as well. Drew played bass and electric guitar, and much of his tastes ran toward punk, post-punk, breakbeat, metal, hiphop, some classic rock, and pretty much anything you could bang your head (or fist) to. There wasn't a lot of overlap with my own tastes (I'm mainly a classic rock guy, with a bit of folk, indie, old-school country, and roots rock for good measure), but that didn't matter. I wanted to meet Drew one day, and I know he wanted to meet me.

It's not going to happen. This morning, I logged on to FA and found out that Drew had died. What I do know is that it was a drug overdose, and that Drew had been in and out of rehab a few times over the years. I don't know if it was an accident or intentional. He was 35. Too fucking young.

Judging by the handful of texts he sent me over the last few months, I knew he was depressed and in trouble, but I can't really gauge the extent of it. That sounds really stupid, I know -- a drug addict is, by definition, in a lot of trouble. But now I'm wondering, if I'd just spent more time talking to him and not been so disengaged, could this have been avoided? I'll be asking myself that for a long, long time.

Take care, Drew. This one's for you...

Friday, August 12, 2016

One Of The Best Songwriters You've Never Heard Of..

Or, at least, one great songwriter I'd never heard of until last year. Sixto Rodriguez made two albums in the early 70s, both of which sold very poorly in the United States, and then seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

There are thousands of stories like that in the music business, but as it turned out, Rodriguez's story was far from over. Somehow, a copy of his first album, Cold Fact, wound up in South Africa. No one could find it in any record stores, so folks made bootleg tapes of it. Rodriguez, living and working in Detroit, eventually became as popular as Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones in South Africa -- and he had no idea until the mid- to late-90s. He would go to South Africa in 1998 and play six sold-out shows in what felt like something of a homecoming. This amazing story is the subject of the documentary Searching For Sugar Man. I consider it recommended viewing.