Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Horn Man

People are overly possessive about their music - I know I am.

Why is this? For most, it moves beyond just being music and becomes the soundtrack for life. The album that is playing the first time you're with a girl or driving to a concert becomes as important as the experience itself.

These moments are landmark, and the songs they are attached to are a tangible way to flashback and remember something simpler, something cherished. If you don't believe me, ask someone who's between 55-60 what "Sweet Caroline," "Bad Moon Rising," or "Crimson & Clover" means to them. I can guarantee they'll have a story for those songs. It just happens. Youth is sound-tracked by music.

For myself, and many others in my generation, the Dave Matthews Band is a gigantic part of my life. Last night a little of the luster was taken away, saxist and founding member LeRoi Moore passed away from complications to an earlier ATV accident.

I read it at 11:30pm, just after getting home from a movie. I went to a DMB forum I've been a member of for several years, and all I see is a picture of LeRoi. I knew what it meant and I felt my heart drop a little. I couldn't believe I was feeling bad about a person I've never met.

Panic quickly set in. Was that the end of the band - my band? Could it be the same again? Most casual fans don't know that it's LeRoi who takes Dave's guitar arrangements and turns them into the full-band arrangements we know. LeRoi is considered, by more than just DMB fans, to be one of the finest jazz saxists in the modern era. He was a part of the band I called my favorite and losing him actually hurt a little. Again, the possessiveness of music and bands...

Reading through the various DMB forums, it was obvious emotions were running a little hot. People talking about crying, asking where you were when "the music died" and not meaning Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. People saying that DMB is not DMB without LeRoi and they should hang it up tonight. Others contradicting and saying that the band must play on - it's what he would have wanted. Some are saying they'll never be the same band, now DMB v2.0. But, all these people have nothing to do with the band personally. It just happens to be their favorite band and the death of its members is enough to throw them for a loop. This is the power of music, especially when music becomes so very personal.

The point here is, while we can feel bad, this needs to be placed into perspective. A man who was a titan of his instrument and a cornerstone to a beloved band passed away. Respect must be paid. Wether the band decides to hang it up (unlikely) or go out and play better music than ever (very likely) it is not any of our decisions. All we can do is say, "we're here no matter what and we'll miss the man playing the horn in his sunglasses - even if none of us knew him."

I just hope I get another night on Alpine's hillside and from now on get to watch my favorite band perform like madmen for their lost friend who's now forever hanging out at stage-left.

1 comment:

  1. "Heaven got a hell of a Sax player."