Difficult news to hear. Railroad Earth was my favorite show of 2016, and Andy was just dynamite onstage. I remember him volleying between acoustic guitar, flute and, at one point, *two saxes at the same time*. It was an unbelievable performance.
Bands — the human grouping of shared musical ideals and creativity, if only for a brief flash of existence — are like blood or air. They’re not merely a necessity for enjoyment of life, but rather a vehicle for nourishment and an expression of *what it means* to be alive. Positive/negative. Inhale/exhale. Flowing out though the artery, and back, spent and exhilarated, through the vein and to the heart.
I think now of a party that we went to last night. It was Gus’s final night on Earth, and his owners brought him to a local brewery to be around other dogs. See, at 15, at the threshold of the great beyond, the only thing left that he loved was hanging out with friendly dogs. (Gus was a dog.)
Forrest is a kind and gentle young pup, and he got along with Gus splendidly. The old dog seemed to nod back, “You’re doing just fine, kid.” Gus sniffed each guest with an almost plaintive happiness. He was at home, again. He stood at one end of the patio, taking it all in. Inhaling the memory not just of this last night, but of the whole of the thing. The grand narrative, collapsing in on itself one final time — only to be rebuilt infinitely with each dog that came by to say hello.
Later, his owner wrote: “Gus had the best time.”
Isn’t that nice! The best time! “Gus had the best time.”
I hope we can all say that. Bands, dogs, breweries, saxophones. The kaleidoscope spins fast. Your trip is short! It’s all of a piece. It all matters. “Gus had the best time.”
RIP Andy, Gus, all of them. Everybody. In peace.