Evan was from Houston, but spent most of his life in Dallas. He lived for music as he bought records constantly and often went to shows. The stories he would share about seeing the original version of the Misfits and Echo and the Bunnymen were some of the ones that stuck out to me. He painted vivid pictures of these shows with his words, as well as when and where he bought a certain record.
Yet the guy wasn't one who lived off the memories of the distant past. He actively searched for new music every single day. He loved searching online for records and give you what you wanted and even more. He would even admit to spending more time downloading music than actually listening to it. That was the thrill of the hunt, especially as evidenced by postings on his blog.
In my time with him, he hooked me up with records from artists as diverse as Genesis, Richard Hawley, Tindersticks, and Killswitch Engage. He never gave me grief for liking bands that were off the "cool" radar. He saw music as music, and he thought people should like what they like regardless of what's cool or hip in the moment.
Under the alias of Captain Groovy, he could share with you about Japanese noise rock, but he could also share about sixties pop and arena rock from the seventies. There weren't any limits to his palate and he was always searching for more.
Only a few years ago, I discovered he loved Rush. I had no idea he was a fan since he never talked about them around me. Turns out he was a diehard fan. I sat down with him and interviewed him about seeing Rush in advance of their show at the AAC. What he shared blew my mind and very little was edited out of the interview for the article.
Going beyond music appreciation, the guy had a lot to say about life. Whether it was relationship issues, friend issues or work issues, he wouldn't hold back on what he thought. He'd tell it to you straight and directly, sometimes to point of submission, but he wasn't trying to wear you out. That was his way of sharing.
Sure, people could say he was arrogant, but he wasn't insufferable to me. He struck me as someone who was content with his life. He never married or had children -- things a lot of people find as keys to happiness -- but he was happy, effectively balancing work and play.
When Joel got the news about Evan's accident and eventual passing, I asked if he wanted to grab a drink. We met up with friends at a couple of bars and shared stories. (I don't think I've hugged as many people in one place since my cousin's wedding last year.) Despite the solemn tone, we did have some laughs between the expressions of anger and shock. Evan brought a lot of people together and it was fitting to do such in his memory.
In moving forward in life as well as dealing with grief, I look back at some of the last conversations I had with him. Whether it was about record labels ripping off customers with vinyl remasters or places to go in the Los Angeles area, what was said is even more clear to me now. He loved life and wanted people to love it, too.
Looking at a full couple of weeks ahead of the holiday season, I want to do even more with the time I have. Sadly, it sometimes takes a death to realize that, but it's a reminder about the fragility of life and what we should do with the time we have.