Epitaph For A Monk.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson
I just found out you died. Most of us knew about the cancer, so in a way the surprise was dulled, somewhat. Ruth told me the numbers, and I am not the sort of guy who plays the odds, but even so I knew it was not good. And you knew that. Which does not make it better. I did not really meet you until 98 or 99. I probably have no business eulogizing you so, but these have been some pretty important years for both of us. We probably worked on at least 4 films together. I think I may even have sang Hound Dog once. So who knows? I’ve only written a few eulogies, and those only for people I love, barring Michael Jackson. I did not love Michael Jackson, but I did love the idea of him. I love you, Gary, so let’s just get that out of the way and move on with the point.
Because there has to be a point, and meaning, and function. While taking care of my Grandma Beulah, I was struck that the fear is not of death itself, but the idea that what we have done, ultimately, makes no difference. That our lives are just howling in the darkness of the void, and in the end it is all oblivion. But Gary, how you howled. When I met you, you were playing in a band with two other Garys and a Phil. Phil and I talked about it, and I maintained that you should just title the band; Three Garys and a Phil. But I guess that had been shot down for whatever reason in lieu of Wigglestick. This was back when Hard Times was hard times. Around that dive and in it we waged a perpetual war against boredom. In its alleys I have sword fought and shed blood. In its parking lot I have vomited, cried, and almost been arrested. Life is weird, Gary, and you knew that too.
Later, I would find out that you were a hero. I would listen to Black Monk Time and things would change. If you are reading this, someone who is not Gary, and have not listened to the album, then go onto Youtube and listen. Because it is everything that rock should be. It is strange, and loud, and angry, but there is a joy to the anger. A righteous indignation towards the entire failed society. By becoming The Monk, adopting the tonsure, and picking up instruments new and fantastic you lunatics created something so wonderful that no one could describe it. And that is why The Beatles sold more albums. Because I can explain what “I Want To Hold Your Hand” is about, and recommend it to my friends. And if people had been more aware, rock probably would have been very different. But. Only David Hasselhoff has had more success in captivating the true gestalt of the German people.
This is simply the past as I understand it, which probably has no relation to the actual events. Your humility towards music as something sacred was one of my favorite virtues you possess. The ability to communicate with an artist and from them derive greatness. I can not speculate on your past, but from when I knew you, I knew that you brought whole worlds to life. That your studio was the place to go when you were ready to be great. You would produce an album of quality, and I can’t imagine how many artists I was introduced to through this.
Because you were everything a Rock God should be I cannot contend with losing you. The world is worse off for it. It is not easier, knowing that you were fearlessly battling untenable odds. It does not help that you fought to the bitter end. It does not help to know that you were loved, and surrounded by love, and continue to be loved despite your absence. Nothing makes not having you easier. Nothing except the music. And it is only an echo of everything you were. More than an artist, and a cultivator of the arts, you were just a stellar fucking guy. I hate to drop the fuckenheimer in a piece that is largely family friendly, but it displays the raw admiration more than simply fixing you in the stars. And separates out the normals as we continue on to the overall point.
Because the point is that you have made the world exponentially better through your talent, generosity, vision, and character. And all of the energy and love and beauty that you have poured into this world has been plugged into a grand cosmic amp, and this amp has been turned up to 11. Because somewhere, flying through the vast infinity of space is a German television program from the 60s. This program is flying to distant stars, and it carries that brilliant moment of creation with it. Your howl that rocked to those bewildered Germans to their very cores. This howl is traveling to places we could never imagine. That howl is battling against the darkness forever, and ever. Amen. And it is for these reasons, and so many more, that you will forever remain in my heart as my favorite Monk. Rest among The Rock Gods and send one love from we who saddened remain below.