This is one post that I hate to write. On Sunday, our friend, super-talented multi-instrumentalist and all around awesome fellow Ben Curtis, succumbed to cancer on Sunday, too damn young, at the age of 35.
I appreciated the music he made over the years, first with his punk band, UFOFU, then with Tripping Daisy, and then his two projects Secret Machines and School of Seven Bells. My first meeting with him is one I shall not forget.
During the UFOFU days, they were booked to open for godheadsilo. Before the gig, he comes up to me and asks for a cigarette. He’s fourteen at the time, looks about twelve, and, well, I’m skeptical. I look through him and say, “Are you a cop?”
He looks at me, doe-eyed, with a deer-in-headlights look. He then bursts into laughter, then tells me it was for a friend, not for him. Did I give it to him? Did I not? Well…that’ll remain a mystery. But I was struck by how innocent he seemed, and felt a bit of a twinge when the band played, as I witnessed for the first time the, ahem, antics of their frontman, Joseph Butcher. (Decorum and decency bar me from repeating them in public; if you know Joe Butcher, then you understand exactly what that means.)
Talking with a friend of his many years later, she stated that that innocence, that charm, and that humor encapsulated the essence of Mr. Benjamin Curtis. He was a pure soul, a talented musician, and a good person. Requiescat in pace, Mr. Curtis.
You will be missed.