J’ever think about someone who passed away and go, “Dangit! It’s not fair!” ?
Stevie Ray Vaughan died on this day in 1990, and I’m still mad about it. Soon after he’d made a triumphant comeback after quitting drinking and drugs (his cocktail of choice was rinsing down cocaine with Crown Royal), he boarded a helicopter in Wisconsin and never made it to his next destination.
He was a quiet man, humble and friendly, in spite of being “raised” in an unloving, violent home, and getting the crap beat out of him at school every day. Starting on booze in junior high, he played his way through the dark days in Graham, Texas to the glare of the rock star lifestyle, while never really scoring the megastar status that sold out huge arenas. Some hoity-toities called him “overrated,” and a Texas joke who wore silly clothes with music notes on them, and had his initials emblazoned on his guitar, and played with too little finesse. Yeah, there’s no law against being an idiot, so we’ll give them a pass.
I highly recommend Caught in the Crossfire, the first biography written about SRV. Informative, funny and sad. This was a man who deserved to live out his life, and whose best music was yet to be made.
For the truly faithful, here is a vid of a sound check, featuring a sleepy (and likely hung over) Stevie. Man, to play like that when you’re barely conscious…
For greatest effect, let it play while you read this.
Dangit. It’s not fair.