Today, I am sad… and yet I feel blessed. One of my heroes just died. Luckily, he was also my friend. I had just emailed him two days ago. I sent him a clip of a music video I am working on that was inspired by The Doors, a favorite band of Jerry and mine. I knew he would dig it. I sent it to him on Saturday. He passed on Friday.
The last email before that was a couple weeks ago. I sent him a video clip of Stan Lee talking about how people accused him of naming Spider-Man’s girlfriend “Mary Jane” after cannabis. He thought it was hilarious. We emailed from time to time. I haven’t seen him in 3 years, but we had a constant ongoing conversation on many topics, from music to philosophy, spirituality and politics. He is the first friend I made in Taiwan, way back in 2005 when we took a Mandarin Chinese class together at the local university here. Not long after meeting, we got into talking about Shamanism and Mongolia. He told me stories about how in Mongolia they drank beer made out of horse milk, and how he had learned to do the famous Tuvan throat singing. He said it was a place that I could meet some REAL Shamans. Immediately I thought THIS guy is COOL. He knew what was up.
I told him I was a rapper, and I gave him my mixtape. The next day he dropped a CD in front of me called “CASH”. It took me a few minutes to compute that it was his CD, him and a backup rock/blues band. He told me about how the entire album was recorded September 7th and mixed down and completed on September 11, 2001. For him, it was eerily synchronistic, because the timing of the album was prophetic. Just look at the titles of the first three songs: Give the People What They Want, Crimes Against the State, and Holy War. The album is dope, very chill and thought provoking. You can find it here : https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cash-the-album/id376895554A few months ago, I told him he should shoot a music video for “Give the People What They Want”, the title track of the album. He told me I should make the video for it. Looks like now, I will have to.
Pardon my language but fxxx ! That's one less shining light out there. That's one less person out there that's getting these kids off the streets and doing something POSITIVE, such as teaching young abandoned orphans how to be circus clowns or how to hip hop dance in Burma/Thailand/Vietnam.
That's one less person to work with these charity groups that help RESCUE kidnapped KIDS that are sold into the sex trade, such as the Blue Dragon Foundation: http://www.bluedragon.org/
Why couldn't God take one of these more useless pieces of flesh, one of these people that’s making the world worse? Sigh. My bad. That’s the pain talking.
I was looking at his photos after the fact of his leaving had sunk in... and one thing was CLEAR. This is a man that lived life to the FULL. I have no doubt that he left this world with few regrets, if any. He was/is fearless. He cared about people, and he didn’t care what people thought. He was a REBEL with a cause: FREEDOM.
He was a leader who led by example. He connected many people that most likely would have been too shy to make those connections on their own. He provided a platform and a comfort zone to make those relationships possible. He put on government sponsored performance art shows all around the world...Canada, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia, etc that were an eclectic mix of old and new, modern and post modern. He was an older bro that still knew what good music was hot, and he included it in his avant garde music/art/dance/film performances. He knew about Dubstep before a lot of my friends. He brought the best out of his artists, including me. He invited me to do my first Taiwan performance at one of his shows. This is some of his work:
He was a kind and patient dude. On a few occasions, I saw him deal with people who were not so patient, and he never lost a minutiae of chill. He also just happened to be an actor in one of my favorite films, Map of the Human Heart.
After Chinese class concluded, he was traveling between Taiwan and other destinations around Asia, so I only saw him every once in awhile. But then, one summer he was back living in Taiwan apparently. I found this out, because I used to go on walks in Taipei's east side. On 6 or 7 occasions that summer, we randomly ran into each other, always at different times. "Dude." "Dude!" is usually how we greeted one another. He was taking a class in that area and happened to be running errands a lot. It felt very synchronistic, like we were on the same frequency.
Here are three of my favorite posts of his:
This was his last post, starred on his facebook page, a website where you can donate to help flood victims in Burma: http://yangon.coconuts.co/2015/08/04/5-ways-donate-flood-victims-myanmar
I'm gonna keep goin hard like you would, brother. Rest in Power. Om Mani Padme Hum. (Diamond in a Lotus)