It’s been a couple weeks since the Cold Waves show in Chicago. It’s been a little bit rough since I got home to another friend passing, Bill Kennedy. I wanted to post earlier but I couldn’t quite formulate the words and I’m not sure I can at this point either.
We drove over 4000 miles, used 200+ gallons of gas and spent over 60 hours in a car to get to chicago and celebrate, mourn and remember our dear friend and brother, Jamie Duffy. Some people thought we were insane to make that trip, my answer was “what would Jamie Duffy do?” He would do it and love it, so that’s what we did.
My girlfriend Rhiannon, one of my best friends and our merch guy for the last 3 years Derek Moore, and our buddy Taury Goforth decided to make the trek and have a damn fine time doing it. We left Portland, Oregon on Monday morning and arrived in Chicago Wednesday night with enough time to get some rest and get ready for Thursday’s rehearsals. The rest of the band flew in on Thursday morning and we all met at The amazing Superior Street Rehearsal. Jason Novak and company did a bang up job making sure all the artists were taken care of with catering and hands to help get everything sorted. This day was like a big family reunion. Some people we hand’t seen in a decade or more! There were a lot of hugs and a lot of stories and catching up to do. There were moments of sadness but they were quickly overcome by the excitement of what we were all doing. What it meant and how unprecedented it was for our scene.
We spent the day watching our peers and heroes play their sets, hanging out and talking shop. Remembering, accounting and celebrating. For 16volt we had 90 minutes to rehearse, we setup, ran the set once and we were ready to go, we were stoked that even though we hand’t played for almost a year, we were still tight and ready to roll. Later in the evening I had my rehearsal with Chris Connelly, Paul Barker, Duane Bufford and Dan Brill for what was called “Cocks Members” but what really meant “The Revolting Cocks” to avoid any petty legal issues from the Al J. camp. This was a dream come true for me, Revco was the first band that got me into the industrial scene, to be playing and look over and have Paul Barker and Chris Connelly, and Duanne Buford smile at me while I mouthed the samples to “Something Wonderful” was priceless and joyful and funny. It was the sugar on top of an amazing day that really can’t be described. It could only really be felt, the whole rehearsal day will never be given justice with words. I’m sorry but you did “have to be there” to truly understand how momentous the occasion was. It was time to get some drinks and sleep, we needed to rest for what would be a long and special day.
The following morning, show day. We got some breakfast and headed over to The Bottom Lounge for load-in. We were all excited to hear the show had sold out. It was going to be an amazing night. I think everyone was keeping it together and going through the process of getting stuff ready when Novak brought out a box and set it in front of the stage. In it were Jamie’s New Rock boots. He set them on the stage on top of Jamie’s Mesa Guitar amp where they would stay the whole show. At this point the water works set in and several of us had to go outside and take a moment. The reality of losing our friend, an amazing person a brother and son, it was that slap of reality, the tragic loss, too soon for him to go. The day carried on with moments of reflection, sadness, anticipation, excitement, and a gamut of emotions. It all went by too fast and before we knew it the legendary “Final Cut” had graced the stage. Tony and co. put together an amazing set that started the night off with a bang. With a very short turnover Cyanotic took to the stage for one of the best shows I have seen them play. It was just band after band of amazingness, I:Scintilla, Hate Dept., The Clay People, Go Fight/Die Warzau, The Damage Manual, and then it was our turn. We hit the stage and it was over in a blink. We had the pleasure of having Curse Mackey, Dan Neet from Clay People, Pez from Acumen Nation and our longtime friend and guitar tech Steve Hickey come up and play Cut Collector with us. The hair on my arms stood up when the sold-out crowd screamed the lyrics to the chorus back to us. It was out of body and over too fast. Right after us Acumen Nation, Czar and Iron Lung Corp. joined up for a combined set knocking down another amazing performance. All the way from London came Jared and his guys to crank out an amazing Chemlab set. The last band of the night was the aforementioned “Cocks Members” – it was a true honor to play with them and I was treated to taking the mic with Jason Novak to wrap up the set singing “Attack Ships on Fire”. Right after The rest of the bands joined everyone on stage for our closing track “Juke Box Hero” for Jamie. We were joined onstage by Pat Duffy, Jamie’s mom and Angelina Apocalypse along with a ton of people to sing, celebrate and cry for the last moments of the night. There was a massive public display of emotions, i’ve never seen or been involved in anything like it. This night was a memorial. But it was soo much more. It was a celebration of Jamie. But it also became a celebration of the genre of music we all helped create and have been a part of and it was an amazingly humbling and emotional deal. The amount of respect, love, pride and togetherness that we all felt was hopefully translated and shared by all in that building that night. Life is fragile and temporary. Jamie is gone too soon, he will be missed forever and this event was a testament to the kind of person he was and how he brought us all together to celebrate the love we share for music and each other. Rest in peace my brother, I miss you and I love you.
Our drive home was somber, we were all tired and exhausted. There was a bit of sadness, not only for Jamie’s loss but to know that what we just experienced was a moment. A short moment that will hopefully live on. Our hearts go out to everyone involved, to Pat Duffy, Jason Novak and Dave and Jean Schock who are all incredible and made this thing happen, to all the bands and the countless volunteers, the staff off Bottom Lounge and all the fans, many of who traveled from as far away as Germany and England, we thank you for being a part of that momentous day in all of our lives.