Thursday, June 24, 2010
The day was going to come.
It could have been Ray, when he was shot by a mugger in New Orleans. It could have been Dave, when he had his stroke. It could have been Mick, but Mick’s a golfer so he’ll probably outlast them all.
The day came, today. Peter Quaife, original bassist of the Kinks, died of kidney failure in a Denmark hospital. He was 66.
The phone call came in this afternoon from a dear friend who understands and mourns, too. The day was going to come, the call was going to be made, and I am glad I heard it from him. The Kinks have been so important to both of us. It was the unique combination of talents and personalities – Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, and Pete Quaife – that made rock n’ roll greatness, from driving proto-punk to the loveliest, most thoughtful ballads. Take one away and you can still make good music, but it isn’t that.
“That” changed my life. I have no adequate way to express my gratitude. All I can say is thank you.
I had to leave the phone call to take my son to a class, not at all in the mood to drive. Parked at a red light for a moment, waiting to turn on to the busy four-lane road up to school, “All Day and All of the Night” comes on the radio. That was the first Kinks record I ever bought, on a 45 with pocket change that my grandpa gave me, too little to even see over the store counter. I had to have it. That sound!
It takes a whole lot for me not to just lose it sitting there in the driver’s seat. Tears fill my eyes. That song, today, now. I shake my head, my arms, wipe my eyes, pull it together. The green arrow comes on. The song ends, as always, with raw power, kicking sand back in the bully’s face, coolest song ever.
I drop off my oldest, then drive miles north to get the younger ones from summer day camp. It’s a beautiful sunny day.
Mr12: You are sad.
Me: Yes. I got some bad news today, that Pete from the Kinks died. He had been sick a long time and was in the hospital. I do feel sad.
Mr12: It’s OK, Mom. He had people taking good care of him. He probably didn’t even know when he died. He wasn’t upset, I bet. Please don’t be too sad.
MissSeven: The easiest way to die would be to fall on a soft pillow.
Count on my daughter for the black humor comic relief, something Pete would have liked. He was a very very funny guy.
My radio, determined to completely own me again, now plays the Kinks “Beautiful Delilah,” on a different channel. I pull over to the coffee house, and leave it on to finish.
MissSeven: Was that Pete singing?
Me: No, that’s Dave.
MissSeven: Oh, good. It sounds like he’s choking on something.
I can’t help but laugh.
Goodbye, Pete. Goodbye.
The Kinks, "All Day and All of the Night"