Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't say no, don't say nothing's wrong. 'Cos when you get back home, maybe I'll be gone.

A sad day today. With all the crazy shit going on across the country today, the passing of a true child of the 80s was marginalized and overlooked. Again.
Paul Hester, the drummer for both Split Endz and Crowded House, was found hanged in a Melbourne park yesterday afternoon. He was last seen taking his two dogs out for a walk on Friday afternoon, and just disappeared.

You're probably waiting for the inevitable "Don't Dream It's Over" joke about now... but you won't find it here. I love the work that both those bands put out, and I respect the artists involved too much to be a smartass about it today. Let's call today a look behind the curtain, into the inner Stew, if you will. If that's not your cup of tea, pretend I said something cold-heartedly hilarious about Johnnie Cochran, and move on.

You see, back in the day I used to love reading about some of the stunts Paul would pull to get a laugh, or mug for applause. Not the pajama-wearing self-marrying freakshow shit that goes on nowadays... just wacky hijinks to make the audience smile. Because to Paul, Neill, Nick (and the others), that's what it was all about - making sure everyone had a good time by playing some good music. Not stardom or self-promotion, movie careers, clothes labels, or any of that other crap that celebrities start doing when fame goes to their heads.

You're not going to hear much about that side of Paul though... if you hear any of it at all. If you're lucky, you'll find a bland little paragraph about Paul, Crowded House, and these were their hits - buy them on Amazon now! I've done your work for you though... The Sydney Morning Herald has a very nice article focusing on Paul's life, rather than his tragic death.
Initially, I was tempted to sulk today and listen to Don't Dream It's Over 30 or 40 times... much like I did when Michael Hutchence of INXS hung himself a few years ago. That doesn't help anyone of course, so I gave up on it. As stupid and selfish as suicide is, nothing we do can bring the people we care about back. It was just too nice a day outside to be depressed.

It's a cliche, but suicide really is a permanant solution to a temporary problem. We truly have no idea how many people our lives touch, until it's too late. Look at me... I'm all down about someone I've never met. Someone I had absolutely no contact with other than through a radio wave or a shiny plastic disc. (typically, the closest they ever came to playing in my town was one week after Paul left the band)
Without being all Dr. Phil, let me say that if anyone reading this is dealing with depression, talk to someone about it. Today. Get up, take a shower, and find someone to talk with - you don't have to go it alone. Most of Paul's friends say they really had no idea he was so depressed, and if he had only reached out for help they would have been there for him... but he didn't. And now he leaves behind two little girls and a legion of fans who will never really understand why he's gone.


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