"How do we live with the unforgiving ghosts of yesterday? The past is an accusation you cannot address. And tomorrow is a yawning pit with few alternatives. Memory is a cage, it would seem." -- Review of the Unabombers -- 1.1.2019.
We stand now in a season of ash. The turning embers of Spring, fanned into the inferno of Summer. It is in the early hours of June 7th as I write this now, and Trey Gares of the Unabombers was cremated not a week past. He was, if I am doing the math correctly, forty-six years old. Almost five months to the day younger than I. It’s difficult not to feel a bit of fear at that.
It has been reported to me that his passing was of natural causes, and unpreventable. Personally, I choose to believe that he went out battling hordes of Nazis on a bridge somewhere. Smashing their stupid Nazi faces in, knocking them on their dumb as fuck Nazi asses. Ten or twenty at a time. That's an end that makes sense to me, as his was an unstoppable heart.
And yet, it is, if it had to be, fitting that his mortal remains dissipated at the last in a hail of fire. We salute you, Trey. You were a hard man, in a tough band. And we owe you for the legacy you wrought. The hole you leave in this music community will never be filled. And it's all but impossible that we will see your like again. I bid thee farewell sir, on a life well lived.
It's hard to walk into the Taphouse right now without thinking about Trey. And yet, I can't say I knew him on a supremely personal level. We were friendly, but not friends. I've probably seen the Unabombers more than twenty times over the years, but it wasn't until very recently that I photographed and actually spoke with him after a show. Too many times when looking over the weekend list of whatever, I'd note that the group was playing and then reason that I could always catch them next week, ending up at some other show with folks who played less often. There are lessons to be learned here, if one chooses to take them. The first piece I wrote on them was about the death of the year. And it apparently reached him on a visceral level, given how he spoke to me of it afterwards. Now we speak on the death of the man. And we grieve for that.
About two weeks before he died, he came up to me at Cogans, thanking me for the most recent article on the band, and the pics I had snapped there. He was gracious and humble and warm. He thanked me for the work I've been doing over the years, stressing that it was important to him personally. I walked away feeling good about myself. And in talking to others in the past few weeks, that's a story I hear again and again. "He made me feel good about who I am." "He made me feel safe." "He made me feel needed." "He always had my back."
I'm sure he was as human as any of us. I'm sure he'd made just as many bad choices as good ones. I'm sure he had people who couldn't stand him. And in the spirit of Punk that he so embodied, we shouldn't ignore any of that. But let he without sin go fuck himself, pious bores that they be. Trey Gares was an honest Punk. Hoist one high for that, and honor his memory.
Tomorrow night, there's a memorial for the man, on what would have been his birthday. A show that he planned himself to celebrate the anniversary of the band he loved. Tomorrow night we honor his memory and celebrate the future of a music scene he helped carve out.
The Screws. MAAFA. LNT. & Chain Breaker.
Doors open at 8. Show starts at 9. Check the link here.
Let's do it up, yeah? Let's do it right.
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