We should celebrate our heroes while they’re still with us.
As a society, we have a nasty habit of waiting too long to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the achievements of our heroes. When John T Adamo was taken from us prematurely late last year, we each took the opportunity to laud his contribution to the industry and to talk about that a great guy he was. But how many took the time to say this to him while he was alive?
Similarly, I am writing this in the immediate aftermath of David Bowie’s passing. Despite being a huge fan for my entire life, I cannot bring myself to play any of his music today.
Instead, I have the radio tuned to listen to tributes from musicians “inspired” by Bowie. Of course, Bowie lived his life content within a “couldn’t give a toss what anyone else thought” bubble and would probably have given short shrift to anyone attempting to stroke his ego. But just how many of these inspired musicians ever openly admitted their debt to Bowie while he was still with us?
Assuming you’re still reading this stream of consciousness, you’re probably wondering what has all this to do with demolition. Well stick with me.
Although David Bowie’s passing has robbed us of one of the defining artists of the 20th century, his work and his legacy remains. When it’s a little less raw, I will listen to Space Oddity, Starman, Suffragette City, Heroes, Sound and Vision, Golden Years, and the rest. I will likely continue to do so until the day that I die. The man has gone but his spirit will endure.
Demolition has its Bowies. On this side of the pond, we have the likes of Howard Button, Dick Green and Mick Williams, among others. On the other side of the Atlantic, we have Art Dore, Jim Redyke, Bill Moore and Mark Loizeaux. Hovering between the two we have David Sinclair. These individuals have reshaped and transcended the industry in which they ply their trade; their innovation, inclusiveness, forward-thinking or generosity of spirit mark them as something just a bit special, something truly memorable.
With any luck, we will have the benefit of their insight, leadership, knowledge and experience for many years to come. But sadly, when these individuals leave us, they will leave no back catalogue that we can revisit. When they go, much of their knowledge will go with them.
We can no less capture Howard Button’s lifetime of demolition experience or Dick Green’s explosive know-how than we can bottle the essence of David Bowie. But that should not stop us trying. And if, at the very least, we just let them know how much we appreciate their contribution to this industry of ours while they are still around to enjoy it, then maybe that’s enough.