We spent a few days in the internetless wilds of New Hampshire, where the only news is cable delivered. I heard about Vic Chesnutt's death from a good friend, the best way to hear about any death, I suppose. He outlined only the bare bone details, which seem to be all the details there are. All very sad.
I saw Vic perform 3 times. The first was in a teeny bar in Brooklyn (I went with the wife of the same friend who called with the news). Vic was by himself and king of all he surveyed. Heart and spleen going strong, open and venting. The second time was in the same bar, accompanied by a delightful band that had been cobbled together from local worthies (and his wife, Tina, on bass). Wonderful again. And the last time I saw him was just this past summer (I went with the friend who called with the news). Vic was alone again, the support act, convinced that no-one knew him. My friend encouraged me to request 'Kick My Ass' - I am deeply sorry that I did not.
I have been thinking a lot about him and everything he gave. What most stands out is his honesty and truthfulness and humour. I love his sly smile, which makes him look like a child or a poet. There are three songs in particular that have been on my mind the past few days. There is the amazing clarity of Speedracer, from his first album: 'I'm not a victim/I am intelligent/I am an atheist'. I can remember the first time I heard those words (rare for me). We named our second cat after the song 'Zippy Morocco'. LP cries every time she hears its exotic melody. And from the same 'Silver Lake' album, there is Vic's wonderful statement about being here, 'I say, yes', with the call and response chorus - 'Do you think it makes a difference? I say, Yes.'
He definitely made a difference. So sad that he is gone.