I'm not going to claim that I was close to Jason or that I knew him well. But, I would call him a friend. Just as many of you did.
It's not often that you get to say a proper goodbye to someone and tell them exactly what you would want to say to him. Back in the spring I bumped into Jason on the Alley Deck and had that opportunity, which I will forever be grateful for. Those of you that know me, know I'm pretty shy towards those that I'm not super close with. So, I'm glad that I actually opened up to Jason that night. I'll sum our conversation up with one statement that I said to him, "Detroit won't be the same without you". On that night I thought I was just saying goodbye to a friend that was jumping ship to Chicago. Little did I know that I was actually saying goodbye to him.
Jason was a great guy and more passionate than most people I have met in my lifetime. I definitely idolized the guy, as most Detroit Punk Rock kids did. He was someone we looked up to. He knew music, he wanted to create a community, he threw awesome shows and opened a record store that would change the Detroit scene and live on as a legend, just like the owners. But, more importantly, he was genuine and made everyone feel important. From hall shows, to the parties in Rochester, or the encounters at shows. It didn't matter if you were the lead singer of the headlining band or the kid standing in back alone, he knew who you were and made sure you felt like you were a part of it all. Hell, I crashed the guys wedding and he even made me feel like he was happy that I was there.
For a while, I had the pleasure of working with Jason during my short-lived "sound guy" career at The Stick. When I first started, there were only about 2 people I even "knew" there. Jason and Chris, well and of course Royce, but only because I hunted him down and he was nice enough to give me a shot. Jason was supportive from the get go, but that's not to say that he didn't give me plenty of tough love. Although I was happy to see him on the nights we worked together, I was also super intimidated. He had been around the block a few times and had been to a show or two. I had to make sure to be on top of my game when he was around. I felt like I had to make him proud or something. The guy was a legend, even though he was a friend.
This Saturday we have another chance to celebrate Jason Lockwood, to remember him, and to make him proud. Hellmouth is hosting a tribute to him at The Trumbullplex with some of Detroit's finest. The night will be full of music, memories and plenty of whiskey, I'm sure. The bands playing along side Hellmouth include Against The Grain, Bump-N-Uglies, The Dewtons and Downtown Brown. It sounds like there might even be a Whiskey Diaries sing-a-long or two. Doors open at 7 p.m. and it's only $5 to get in, all of which will go to Jason's family. For more info on the event, and to see some pictures and memories, head over to the Facebook event.