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Entry date: 10-13-2022 - Happy Birthday Jeff - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Two birthdays in a row. Crazy, right? I have talked about Jeff a lot lately in discussing Pinky and then the Polka Dot pad days, but it is his birthday today and he deserves a blog.

We have been friends for 35 years now and bandmates for the last two decades. When I got married the first time, he stood up there with me, even though he knew it was not the greatest match, and was a really wonderful best man. It was a fun bachelor party, I can say that.

For a few days, he will be older than me, which I kind of relish, but I’m glad that we have been walking this earth together for almost the exact same number of days. We just sort of click. It could be our sense of humor, which is often in tune, although I don’t remember jokes or tell them nearly as well as he does. It could also be a similar taste in music, too, but again, Jeff does a way better job of paying attention to cool stuff out there than I do, as well.

We made good roommates, that is for sure. I wonder how long we lived together in an alternate universe where we got to share a two-bedroom apartment like we planned to do after the Polka Dot pad was done. Jeff and I found a place on 27th Street and Clarendon that we moved into at the beginning of August in 1988 and for about a day, it was just ours. Brian moved in and took the couch after a day or so and then Mike moved in, so we never really got to just live together.

We were often off doing our own thing, though. Whether it was skating and blowing off steam at the Polka Dot pad or finding new places to skate when we moved to our new place. We also were pretty simpatico when it came to taking an acid trip, too, and had many, many laughs.

When I decided to get my own place, I still hung out at Jeff’s new pad a lot and our friendship continued but for some of the mid-90s years, we grew apart for a while. Looking back, I’m not really sure why. I think when I stopped drinking and focused on getting Hillbilly Devilspeak going, we were just on two different paths. Jeff had a pretty serious girlfriend for some of those years, too, and I couldn’t blame him for wanting to hang out with her.

As I got more into the music, though, Jeff and I got our groove back on and we spent a lot more time together. We took a pretty fun trip up to Seattle to see Drew and Matt, who met us up there. I’ll never forget the bar tour Drew took us on and we got pretty well lit up. I can’t even imagine who much alcohol we ingested that day.

I remember that Drew introduced us to the combination of Henry Winehard’s Ice ale and cider, which was pretty darn fantastic, and we started our day off with some of those before taking the tour. We hit a place where Drew liked to play pool and briefly met his girlfriend, who did not seem impressed with us. Jeff is a pretty kick ass pool player, so I’m sure he was holding court on the tables.

Then we went to another bar pretty close by and drank Russian Quaaludes. Those are a fun drink. I don’t think I have had one quite as good since, but I would certainly give it another go. From there we went to an interesting nudie establishment where there was a lot of guys who looked like they had been chopping down trees prior to arriving. Not sure who had that brilliant idea, but from there we went to a show at this place that was also a laundromat and continued to drink a LOT of beer.

We met up with Alex and Alexa there and that wasn’t awkward at all. Other than several trips to Mexico, I think that was the first trip out of state Jeff and I took and it was a blast. We talked about doing it again, but then Drew moved back here and there was no reason to go back to Seattle.

I think our next trip was to San Diego to see Bauhaus. We had a lot of fun on that trip and were standing on the beach planning our escape from Arizona afterwards. I remember telling Jeff he could do his computer thing just as easily from a beach house and I would find a job working with students. Clearly, I really didn’t want to get married, and we hadn’t started Pinky yet. In another universe, we did that very thing and moved to California, I’m sure.

Eventually, though, we did start the band and had a lot of fun doing that. I look back and appreciate it more and more each day. There is something about seizing the opportunity to play fun music with your friends that people actually seem to like. I can’t tell you enough how much you should do that if you get the chance.

The brotherhood that Jeff has given me in this life has added so much to my world. There have been times where he was the first person to really see when I have been struggling and he is always there to help pick me up and dust me off. I have been blessed with some great friends, but Jeff has the knack of knowing when I need him down better than anyone else.

I hope I have been able to be there in similar ways, but I fear that I have not always been that guy for him. I would be, though, if I could. We’ve had fun in multiple states over the years and I look forward to more adventures, whether it is camping or Vegas or New Orleans or an amusement park. We just have a lot of fun together and that’s a good thing.

Happy birthday, my brother from another mother. I love you.

See you tomorrow.

Rhondi took this picture of Jeff and I on a Friday night at The Main Ingredient early in 2022.

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