Both men acted far younger than their years, steadfastly pursued the voices of their particular muses (whether that counsel sat well with others or not), and refused to go softly into the morass of decrepitude that is Old Age. Link and my dad perceived themselves as powerful men until the end. That wasn’t true, of course—both were hobbled by decades of wear and tear—but they so gleefully believed their own myths that most outsiders couldn’t help but be dragged willingly into the untruths. If you spent a few moments with either of those cats, their years would soon be rendered insignificant and near invisible, as you’d find yourself laughing alongside an ageless sprite who was filled to bursting with benevolent mischief.
Now, as a journalist, I zealously pursue facts and delight in dismantling the nonsense of the self-absorbed. But I never burst the bubble whenever I hung with these two giants of my life. I purchased the illusion without a hint of guilt, and I only hope I can successfully “fool” myself into such a lust for life and friends and family and music when, heavens willing, I hit my seventh and eighth decades. These lovely, crusty dudes truly proved—at least to me—that age can be a state of mind if you have the gumption to play it that way.
Two other beautiful cats who sadly didn’t live to a ripe old age are avant-bluesman Chris Whitley (dead at 45 from lung cancer) and Cort USA’s director of marketing and artist relations Eric Fuchsman (who passed at 51 after a two-year battle with brain cancer). We’ll pay homage to Chris (and Link) next issue, but I’d like to say a few words about Eric right here. He was an avid evangelist for Cort guitars (he produced the Cort Guitar Summit concerts at NAMM), and he was blessed with the trick of being adored and respected by everyone, while simultaneously being way cooler than the average human. Impeccably groomed, and exceedingly gallant, I always envisioned Eric as someone who’d be right at home hanging with Frank and Dino and the rest of the Rat Pack (and maybe teaching those boyos to be nice). He was a good friend to GP, and our universe is going to be a little less fabulous without Eric in it.