Today I have been thinking of my friend Andrew. We first met in 1964 at a dance when I was in 7th grade. He was a good guitar player, loved The Doors and The Beatles. He had a nice Epiphone ES-335 or similar guitar. And had a string of songs he had written. We collaborated on finishing them as well as polishing some songs I had written.
We became best friends and spent a great deal of time together perfecting our collaboration. About the time we had worked together for 3 years, Drew, his preferred nickname, ran off to NY city on a drug binge and had not been seen for months although I spoke to him on the phone several times urging him to return. I was worried for him but also to be honest a bit ticked off that my band, The Djinn, was not having good luck finding a replacement guitar player. We were all exceptional musicians for our age. Michael was an amazing drummer (he died as a young man from a brain tumor), Phil - somewhat of a geek who could improvise on the saxophone and built his own keyboard from a kit and knew his modalities as well as he understood physics, Gary on bass could play anything he heard, and I was on lead guitar.
While he was gone I had Drew's open reel tape deck and that was when I fell in love with the recording process. Drew showed up one day at my house, all spaced out and with a couple of tunes he had written that ranged from awesome to horrible. It definitely showed the timeline of his drug binge and his ongoing song writing.
I urged him to get help, he thought he was absolutely fine. I was only in 10th grade at the time. I decided to walk him home from my house (about a 3 mile walk) and on the way we encountered another friend of mine who was struggling with various issues. Drew gave him some drugs much to my objection. I said to him, "Drew you can ruin your own life but please do not ruin other lives too."
I was hard pressed and did not know what to do. I did not know what the right thing was to do. But I finally called the State Police and reported to them what I had witnessed. Drew was arrested and drugs were found on him and our friendship was over.
Drew struggled with substance abuse his whole life and died last year from liver problems. Today I realize he needed real help, not legal problems. But I do miss him. I miss his guitar playing talent. We could have been an amazing team. But unfortunately, Drew was in his own private hell.
Oh how I wish I understood more about love back then. I wish I knew more about what Drew needed to be independently self affirming. I miss my friend, I lost him in many ways. But he, lost so much more than I, he lost himself.
Drew, I love you and I will never forget you. You are a shining star to me.