We weren’t famous.
We made records. We toured. We played shows. We slept in vans. We partied for days on end. We met famous people. But our band came and went in relative anonymity more than fifteen years ago.
Last year our singer died of liver failure. She was 36.
The instant I heard the news I went to her Facebook page. There were scores of condolences already posted, many in remembrance of the days when her angelic voice could spike a sound system’s levels on both ends of the sonic spectrum.
I posted one of the tunes from our debut record on her timeline. It was show stopper in its day, and could still hold its own. With the lights low, I listened to the song at a volume cranked to a respectable level.
I hadn’t seen or spoken to her since we parted musical ways more than a decade and a half ago, but listening to our music brought me back to a time when the world was conquerable. We were young and invincible. Well, we were young.
At the funeral, I thought about a few of the comments on her Facebook page in reply to the song I had posted. So many friends had felt that listening to our music all these years later transported them to a fonder time. Several even expressed wonderment at how, despite our band’s talents, we never made it.
We always thought success and the world domination that came with it was just around the corner. It was waiting for us after the next gig. At the end of the next road trip. At the bottom of the next drink. At the crash from the next high.
Thank god we never made it. After the heartfelt eulogies and the chorus of tears, that’s the thought I silently had at our singer’s funeral.
She wouldn’t have been to the only member of our band to land in an untimely grave had we experienced even the slightest bit of industry success. None of us needed any help getting caught in the finger-cuffs of our chosen vice. The world did us a favor by passing over our band of self-destructive misfits.
We would have become a cliche. Maybe we did anyway, but at least most of you have never heard of us. I’m grateful for that.
"Send Me an Angel" by Kitchens of Soul. From the 1999 album Super 8.