Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Although I Wasn't There, He Said I Was His Friend

We all look up to somebody.

For some, it's athletes... actors... and even Kardashians, for some incomprehensible reason. For me, and for many I know, musicians have always been the ones to look up to. The ones I idolized. From my younger years via posters plastered over every inch of my walls, to now, where my adoration takes the form of musical collections, band tshirts, and blog posts.

The past little while has been a tough one for the music community. Many of our heroes are dying. Lemmy. Scott Weiland. Bowie. Glenn Frey. (And Alan Rickman. Though he wasn't a musician, he was still a rockstar of sorts.) It seems to be never ending, and almost makes you want to avoid the internet so you don't have to hear that another one is gone.

But what are you supposed to do when your musical heroes die? For some, it feels like a long time friend has gone. You never really knew them, but they were somehow a part of you. They provided the soundtrack to your life, maybe during important times. Respite during tough moments. And yet, it can feel weird to openly mourn these technical strangers. Do we actually have that right?

Yes. We sure do.

After Bowie's death, I saw a quote being posted all over and it rang pretty true: 

"We don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves."

Musicians let the freaks be freaks, and give the outcasts a place to belong. For a lot of us, even when we have no one, we have the songs. And that can sometimes be enough.

The thing about artists is that when they die, you still have what they made. The music continues. I think about that a lot when I listen to albums by people who have passed away. I can't listen to Alice in Chains' "Nutshell" without thinking of Layne Staley's death, and I wonder how different it would be if he had lived.

So go on and mourn, for those you may not have known but feel as though you did. They created something that has meaning for you, and that's no small feat.

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