I thought I had more articles to write about Erik. I thought I had more interviews to do. I thought I had more shows to attend. More friends to make. More memories to share. More laughter. More cheer. Joy. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time. My heart is weeping.
Learning of his passing made me feel sick to my stomach. It’s going to take me a while to process it, but in the meantime, I’d like to dedicate a bit of my own words and feelings regarding Erik’s life and the legacy he’s left behind for all of us to enjoy. It may be somewhat of a ramble, but I’ll try my best.
It’s hard to talk about Erik without mentioning the fact that he was truly a great guy. He loved big. He laughed loud. He was a family man to his wife Denise and his little pugs. He was a hero to all the wayward kids that didn’t fit in and never would. He stood up for what he believed in and he always stuck by his values. Erik was the kind of guy who surpassed all clichés. He was a different breed. Irreplaceable.
There was something really special about Erik. He was humble as humble gets. He had a calming vibe about him, a feeling that’s tough to place. I’ll miss his addictive smile, his contagious laugh, and his magnetic personality. Through all my years of knowing Erik, I never got the chance to tell him how much he meant to me. How much his music moved me. I regret it now.
Erik and I weren’t close. We didn’t have a solid relationship outside the realm of music. But every interaction with him felt like home. He had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. He listened with his heart. He was unapologetically kind and gentle. Erik was a fucking rock star, but not in the dictionary definition way. He was a master songwriter who didn’t see his craft for what it was. Magic.
I was a fan first and a friend second. We kept in contact and updated each other on what we were doing. I always made a point to let him know every time I snagged a new writing gig with the intention of writing about him more in the future. Erik had a warmth to him and would congratulate me whenever I accomplished a new goal. He helped me believe in myself, whether it was through speaking to me or through his music and lyrics.
Erik’s music cut me deep. “Roll Me Through The Gates of Hell” made me feel powerful. “Bury Me In Analog” made me contemplate my life. “Love and Rage” made me want to burn shit and cry. “On The Sly” got my heart to beat twice as fast. I could go on and on about how influential his music was to my existence. I shouldn’t be writing about it in the past tense. It still fucks me up in a good way. Erik had such a strong grasp on language and expression. He was a master of melody. Absolutely unmatched.
Seeing Erik play was always a special treat for me. His shows were so energetic, and each one was drastically different from the last. He had a habit of switching up his set list as much as possible, always throwing in a surprise track here and there, while delivering a couple of crowd-pleasers. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen him play, either solo or with Mischief Brew, but each time I went, Erik always took my requests. He went out of his way to make sure you were having a good time at his show.
I had the honor and the pleasure of getting to interview Erik. It’s something that I could never forget, even if I tried. It was January and cold as hell in Brooklyn. We huddled together outside the back entrance of Sunnyvale as a few snowflakes fell upon our heads. He never complained.
In the middle of our lengthy interview, my recorder stopped working. I never told him. I was too embarrassed, and I didn’t want to burden him by asking the same questions to re-record the answers. So I wrote up the interview based on my memory and the small amount of audio I managed to capture.
One thing that stuck out to me from that interview was how overwhelmed he was when he spoke about his fan base. He was awestruck that there were people on this planet who loved his music, who sang along and knew all the words to his songs. It boggled him. He was eternally grateful to have had that kind of influence on the world. I think he felt rather weird about it. Erik was chronically modest.
My respect and adoration for Erik was endless. I think he knew that. If he didn’t, I hope he knows now in some far out cosmic way. I hope he knows how loved and valued he was. How needed and admired. He was here, and now he’s gone. Let’s celebrate his life, for all he was and all he ever will be. It’s what he would have wanted.
I’m ending this off with my favorite memory with Erik. This is when he played my request, “Bury Me In Analog,” at the Grand Victory in Brooklyn last Christmas. He absolutely killed it that night. I’ll never forget this. Sorry to Erik for enthusiastically screaming the lyrics in his face. Thanks to Jeff Schaer-Moses for the footage.
The dreams of the morning
Let me not die mourning
May the devils come a’crying
Carry me away a’laughing
As we all go a’laughing to storytelling graves