How I got through the last three hours of work this past evening and remained something resembling productive while being emotionally numb is beyond me.
I’ve written tributes to deceased musicians many times, both for newspapers and here on this blog. But until now, I had never been written one about a friend.
As in any instance when a friend dies suddenly, totally unexpectedly, it’s awfully hard to articulate. It’s hard to even say it.
Okay, I’ll just get the hard part out and let the rest flow. After jamming through a whole bunch of work, I stopped around 9 p.m. to have a bite and check out my Facebook messages. A writer from Westport named Dan Woog posted a link to his blog on my page: Chip Damiani, the drummer for one of the best rock’n’roll bands America ever produced, The Remains — and, what is really important to me, a good friend and former neighbor-of-sorts — died yesterday afternoon of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He was 68 going on 35.
Go figure — trim, in a fighting shape forged from all those years as a roofer, in the best physical shape by far of everyone in the band, their backbone and fiery, no-bullshit, you-knew-where-you-stood presence. And he’s the one who went first.
And it was Chip who provided me with one of my favorite stories in two-plus decades as a music writer. And introduced me to the band that provided me with two of my favorite moments as a music fan.