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In Celebration of Ed V

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I was recently asked, by a new teen-aged friend (I'm a pretty cool uncle if you didn't know) about meeting famous people, mostly about musicians.  It actually sort of gave me pause in a sense.  I have met a lot of celebrities in my life and they have been a pretty mixed bag.

Eddie Vedder is one of the genuinely nicest guys you're ever going to meet.  So is Dave Grohl.  Very early in my journalism career, I hung out with Nikki Sixx at a Spin magazine party. 

I told him pretty quick that I was not much of a fan of his music and he didn't care.  We talked about the New York Dolls and he was a really, really nice guy.  He even sent me a Christmas card, personally signed, which I still have.  I was with my college roommate and I remember when Nikki left we were both like, "Did that really just happen?"

I have always judged famous folks on this criteria: would we be friends if they were not famous? The band Gomez is how I learned that one because I'd absolutely want to be friends with every single person in that band no matter what they did.  I knew that 20 years ago when I first met them and I know that today.  They're super sharp and witty and they pay attention to society as a whole.  I truly do love those guys.

Which, as I am wont to do, leads me to my long point. Telling you about somebody else that I love.  Somebody else who is smart and very witty, who pays attention to society and pitches in to make it better.  

I spend a fair amount of time behind the wheel - 3 hours a day - and I think about my friends a lot.  This last week or so, I have ruminated on Boston losing a couple of key figures.  It made me think of obituaries and of online remembrances.  Those things are crucial.  My friend, Joan, wrote a remarkable tribute to my friend, Mike.  But he sadly never saw it.  

So, I want to write a tribute that a friend can actually see.

Ed Valauskas is the MAN.  

I mean, truly, this guy is the man.  I can’t believe that we have known each other over 20 years now because it still feels so much like we were both kids when we met.  I was initially intimidated by him.  He played in such a great band, but turned out to be such a nice guy!  I’d see the Gravel Pit and be blown away, wondering why the entire country didn’t know how great these songs were and doing my little part at spin.com to spread the word.  

And, despite my initial nervousness I came to know that he is just the nicest, most generous person you might ever meet.  I mean this is a guy who will just pull off that beauty of a battle-worn green bass and walk outside the club where he just rocked you off your feet - mine personally were elevated regularly by his songs with the Gentlemen AND the Gravel Pit and so many bands he produced that hit me square in the headphones - and help someone change a tire in the rain.  Then he’ll volunteer his talents to some new band to work on their record while he is still dripping wet.  Dude won’t even shrug shoulders between tasks.  It’s just who he is.  

And, he manages to do that while being a loving and devoted husband to an incredibly talented wife and bandmate, Jen.  Goodness!  Not to mention that they are raising this super cool kid called Sidney and even finding time to teach her how important the Red Sox are!  Now, we’re talking Superman territory.  

I spoke with Ed on the phone just last week and we talked about the recent passing of a dear mutual friend.  Obits and the passing of friends has made me sad.  I want the people I love to know that I love them while they’re alive. I want them to know what they’re doing, what they’re achieving and accomplishing, that none of that is going unnoticed.  

You kill it, Ed V.  


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