I sat in the darkened Club Vera in Holland last October, listening to the music on stage and thought, in this messed up world, there is no greater humanity. What I saw on stage that afternoon brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face, simultaneously. I sat, holding Andrew’s hand, as band after band, all friends of his, took the stage to honor him. Each band played one or two Dead Moon songs, some set to their own band’s style like the lounge electronica version of “Dead Moon Night” by Das Audio Combo. Andrew’s dear friend Jozzy took the stage with the Dead Moonlizards (they’d changed their name for the night, adding the “Dead” to their usual moniker the Moonlizards) to sing “I need a shot of Dead Moon,” a song he wrote about Andrew for his own band The Bips. The music ended with a jaw-dropping solo of “Dagger Moon” by Eric, another dear friend.
Andrew watched the stage all through the show with pure adoration. At times he’d mouth the words to a Dead Moon song, or tap the drum beat with his cane. But what he was really doing was cheering on, with deep pride, his friends and their musicianship. He knew the night was about him, but for Andrew, the night was about friendship and music. That was the shared humanity I felt in that room.
Andrew was not driven at all by ego and the need for fan adoration, but by love. He needed to be loved in all the forms of that emotion, especially in the form of friendship. His friend Kate Fix called him an empathic imp, the perfect description. Andrew was generous with his love and friendship in return. As the Beatles line goes, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” To have a deep bond with Andrew was to have the best friend ever in your back pocket for life.
Thankfully, we have music to heal our wounds in a time when we have to create gofundme campaigns for people who are sick. Andrew’s world was one of dimly lit clubs, loud bands, and friendship–not one of doctor’s offices, radiation masks, CAT scans, hospital beds and the rest he’d endured in the past year. Ultimately, Andrew’s world was one in which he inspired others to be their best selves.
I can’t pinpoint any moment that marked the beginning of the end. His death came suddenly and unexpectedly, it was not on par with what the doctors had been telling us. It will be hard for all of us to let go, to believe that Andrew is gone and won’t “be here later,” walking through the door with his buoyancy and smile and jokes. Though there will forever be a hole in the heart of our creative community here at home and around the world, Andrew’s left us with some good rules to live by, though…in addition to his music.
- Live your passion on your own terms–be the drummer, not the dishwasher
- Treat others as you want to be treated
- Don’t miss opportunities–actually, he told me he learned that from Fred
- Don’t sell yourself short
- Wear a good hat
This is not my loss alone. We live in a messy world during tumultuous times. But, even when we feel our own lives are out of control, we have to be outward with our good intentions. We have to keep spreading the love.
I’ll leave us with these words from American author Ralph Waldo Emerson as they embody Andrew’s enduring spirit:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty and to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better through music or your relationships; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.”