This is a letter I emailed to KEXP last Spring.
I stood there, tears welling up for someone whose work I know pretty well but who I did not know personally.
Years ago, I wrote for and was an editor of a music magazine during the grunge era in Seattle. I had written for my college newspaper and was aware of the Seattle scene in the late 80s as bands like Alice in Chains played at WSU. I wrote for other music mags over the years but my writing eventually moved in other directions. I currently am Seattle Editor for women's soccer for ProstAmerika.com and cover the Seattle Reign.
Again, I stood there, tears welling up.
I look back on that time, the Grunge Era, both fondly and with the knowledge that it was far darker than the music even told. We have buried too many people, too young, and young people only die tragically.
When I speak with young people about that era, it comes up, and I point out the dark side. Recently, I have worked with two long time music industry folks (Alice Cooper and Michael Rowe of Bucket Truck fame) at some comic cons I work for. They are fascinated by what I can tell them, but both are very aware of what I mean.
In 1990 I was fresh out of college, made editor of a music mag, and then Andrew died. My friend and colleague had interviewed him literally the evening before. We were freaked, Rolling Stone was calling, and we ended up a few days later in Leschi at a manager's house with Andrew's fiance and the band and Alice in Chains, and I stood there as a fly on the wall in something I had no real business being a part of talking to Stone and Jeff and trying very hard to just get away.
Last night, I stood and listened to you as you spoke about Chris and we yelled and we were silent and a lot of people who were younger and just loved the music and grey beards like me were all tearing up. I couldn't stay long. It was hard.
We all have family and friends and people we wish we knew who are always struggling. We help them as we can, we do what we can.But, we have buried too many who either didn't get any help, were taken advantage of for their talents, or who finally lost the battle they were fighting.
I thought what you and KEXP did last night was tasteful and the right thing to do. Celebrate the music and the man, feel genuine sorrow for his family and those in his life, and let the fans of his genius and body of work grieve even as they didn't know him personally. They knew him through his work and that is ok.
Take care, and thank you.