Allan Goodman

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?”
— Terry Pratchett

We struggle.

We live and breathe and learn and fight and write and sing and we struggle for our lives to be heard above the noise.

We push forward even though we know the odds of ever ‘making it’– as they say… whoever they are– are slim.

Here’s what you don’t realize about the term ‘making it‘: whoever came up with it was not one of us. Not one familiar with this particular struggle. Not one of the fighters of noise.

None of us would have come up with a phrase like that. We have too much respect for everything that goes into what we do to create some imaginary line, across which one group of artists is clearly more accomplished– this level of accomplishment demarcated exclusively by monetary compensation– than those on the other side.

We’ve all made it as soon as we record our first offering of music for the world to hear. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s the best part about playing music for a living– about writing songs and making records and touring for your living–

In doing so, you become immortal.

That’s right.

If you have courage enough to put yourself out there… waaaaay out there on an emotional limb, all by yourself, all alone, with nothing to protect you… If you have courage enough to share the entirety of your soul in the songs you write and the music you play for complete strangers… then regardless of fame, fortune, tour busses, headlined festivals, branded liquors, signature guitars, Grammys, or groupies– you, my friend, get to live forever.

Seriously.

Live.
For.
Ever.

You’ve made it.

*****

Allan Goodman was my friend. He was a few years older than me. He was a good hugger. He sang like Neil Diamond. He liked this video game called Halo that I never understood. He enjoyed a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. He was a baseball fan– an Angels fan. He was a son, a brother, and a husband. He was funny. He played drums like it was akin to breathing. He played the guitar like Mozart, if Mozart would’ve been able to get ahold of a Stratocaster. He played through this little solid state amp that sounded better than a solid state amp should sound. He played bass if you needed a bass player, and he was incredible at that, too.

Allan and I toured together, along with Matthew Briggs and Austin Gilliam. It was pretty much the only time in my career where I had a dedicated band. Everyone played incredibly well together. Matthew was on drums, Austin on bass, Allan on lead guitar. It was more fun than you can imagine.

Then, I went back to the solo thing.

The following year I had this idea on how to make what would become my Fresh Water In The Salton Sea record. Basically, the idea was that it was possible to make a really great album with a couple of close friends who played a few different instruments apiece, and together we could cover almost everything that was needed for the record. So, I called Allan. He was all for it. Then I called my friend Stephanie Macias. She was all for it.

So we went into the studio and came out with the Salton Sea record. It was the single biggest jump in overall quality, from songs to production, that I’ve ever made as an artist, and the three of us did it together.

If you really listen closely to the 10th song on the album, The Life And Times Of A Sad Song you’ll hear a lot of Allan. He played all of the acoustic guitar on that song… mostly because he and Stephanie came up with this idea for a bridge in the song and I wasn’t a good enough guitar player to pull it off. So he tackled the whole thing. He sat on a creaky chair to play the part… and you can hear the chair on the record if you know what you’re listening for. That’s Allan. That’s his brilliant guitar playing, and his brilliant body shifting ever-so-slightly on a chair that was probably too noisy for a recording studio. Now that Allan is gone, I find those tiny creaks to be one of my favorite sounds on that whole album.

*****

Allan fought cancer for a long time. He was amazingly calm about it. I don’t know how he was able to be so calm, but his approach made the rest of us feel better about what he was dealing with. It made us feel like it was no big deal, and that it’d be gone before we knew it.

Actually, I’m not sure that I can speak for everyone else on that point. I don’t know if his demeanor made anyone else feel like that– but that’s how it made me feel.

He fought it for a long time, and then a few days ago word started to spread that things had changed. It sounded bad, but there was a large part of me that was convinced that Allan would handle it, like he’s always handled it.

My friend Bryan flew up to Nashville, where Allan and his wife Ashley have been living, to see him. The report I got from Bryan was not good. That was yesterday.

Today, Allan is gone.

*****

Except he’s not.

Allan made it– remember?

He put his heart and soul into songs, and he shared those songs with the world. He fought against the noise of the universe and rose above it with his music. He left a piece of himself to float forever through our ears and into our minds. To listen to Allan’s music is to keep Allan alive.

So LISTEN.

Listen, and hug someone, and take risks, and leave your mark.

Do something that will last forever and you will last forever. Maybe not you as in exactly who you are right now… but the essence of you– the idea of you– the spirit of you. Those are the things that make you who you are, after all. It’s not your body or your hair or your bones or your blood. It’s your thoughts and ideas and feelings and art. Do something that will last forever and you will last forever.

Allan Goodman knew that. The man might not be with us any more… but Allan Goodman the person will always be around. All you have to do is listen.

*****

the making of Fresh Water In The Salton Sea:

44 Comments

Leave a comment or contact me via Twitter @dk_music

  1. Bigley says:

    Drew this is so beautiful. Thank you for saying what we feel, and saying it so much better than we ever could. Love.

  2. Craig says:

    Beautiful.

  3. John Adieu says:

    This was an amazing read, sir. My condolences to you, on the loss of your immortal friend.

    Keep forever’n.

  4. Mary Hermes says:

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Donna says:

    He came, he saw, and he conquered the love and respect of so many people. Thank you for giving us another look into who Allan is, was, and always will be.

  6. The Schoepfs says:

    It’s poetry…his life, your words, this person that remains. Thanks for acknowledging that.

  7. Kate says:

    I’ve been away from life and music for a few years. Until today, I didn’t know Allan. I didn’t know his music and now I’m very sorry I missed him.

  8. Heather says:

    This is beautiful, Drew. We are all forever blessed from knowing someone as great a friend as Allan.

  9. Shannon Canada says:

    People with passion. It’s my reason. This is proof that I am in the right place.

  10. Jeremy Proctor says:

    Great write up buddy. I admire your outlook on life and the passion you have for music and people.

  11. Zach says:

    Very, very touching piece Drew. Sad day all around but this was beautifully penned.

  12. Gwen says:

    Drew, thank you. I can’t play or sing, but I write, I take pictures. You and Allen inspire me this morning to do it more, to love it more, to be more me. Here’s to making it yesterday and living it today!

  13. jodi says:

    Wish I had known him as more than a musician. beautiful words for apparently a great friend to many.

  14. Tracie says:

    Amazingly calm. That was Allan. I think Alan has made it.

  15. Beautiful piece. I have always been fond of the quote you opened with, in various wordings, and truly believe it.

  16. Amy says:

    This is a beautiful tribute Drew. Thank you!

  17. Ashley Vega says:

    You said it perfectly.

  18. CooperNYC says:

    I’m saddened to read this saudade tribute to your friend. I’ll have “Life and Times of a Sad Song” on repeat all day listening for the creaky chair and thinking of Allan, his family and friends.

  19. Larry Hooper says:

    Very nicely done.

  20. Franek says:

    AG certainly made his mark. He made it on me and Kimberley, even though we only met him twice, I clearly remember enjoying a coldie with him and his laugh. Super guy, great artist and obviously a great friend to so many. Thank you DK for the words, AG is probably already penned a response that you will hear in due time. Prayers for all of you.

  21. Mark D says:

    Much like your songs, this is beautifully written. He was a good friend, an even better person, and the world’s best hugger. He is now, and forever will be missed.

  22. Jon Paul says:

    Beautifully stated Drew. So true. Love the part about the creaky chair.

  23. Chris compton says:

    I felt that way. I figured he had it licked. But I imagine if he knew he wouldn’t have said anything anyways. But you’re right, he definitely made it.

  24. Mary (MJ) says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Allan truly was one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met. We were all lucky to be around him. we will forever watch over us.

  25. Shannon Floyd says:

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful sentiment..thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with the world.

  26. Ben G. says:

    Great words Mr. Kennedy about a great man. Well done my friend.

  27. Steven Roloff says:

    Great article

  28. Lois Lane says:

    This is a beautiful tribute…and so true. Yes, Allan will live forever…he is now through you. Thank you for sharing.

  29. Jared Mills says:

    Immortality….above the noise. Music is an energy that never dies. Good tribute, Drew, and sorry for your loss.

  30. Mel says:

    Thank you for sharing. Beautifully written.

  31. Dave Hensley says:

    Beauty and truth in your words, Drew.

  32. Dorma Brandon Brones says:

    This was Awesome…Thanks for Sharing. BIG HUGS and God Bless

  33. Luke Jackso says:

    Thanks for sharing. That was a nice tribute. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

  34. TDP says:

    Awesome words Drew. I was stunned and saddened when Mattson reported AGs passing. His song still lives and he is at peace. Prayers for his family.

  35. Beautiful tribute amigo. I didn’t get to know AG as well as many of my friends did, but he was one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever seen/heard. A truly humble spirit who certainly came across as doing what it was that he was meant to do and what he loved doing. You hit the nail squarely on the head: he is immortal.

  36. Jeromy Foy says:

    Very well said. Thanks for sharing.

  37. JohnWayne says:

    very beautiful..well said. thanks for the explanation. i never knew Allan, yet I always saw him or heard him. seems like he was happy helping others & staying in their shadows..yes, he left his beautiful mark..his memory lives on, he is immortal..thank you Drew

  38. Mandie Marbach says:

    The most amazing thing I’ve read in a good long while.

    Spoken beautifully about one of my friends.

    God puts people in one another’s lives for a reason.

    He was put in all of ours so we could see what Grace really is.

  39. Karla says:

    Drew, I don’t know you but I knew Allan. We met in ’97 and as it happens with AG, I quickly became attached to him, captivated by his music, and just happy when he was around. For many years I spent most of my weekends in coffee shops, bistros, or small venues through out SoCal listening to him play guitar solo, or with the AGB, and eventually with an early version of The Blooms. And every time it was like listening to him for the first time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have not been able to put intp words what I’ve felt these past few days, but I read my thoughts here, through you. I wish you the best. Love. K.

  40. Kelly says:

    This is beautiful Drew! Absolutely beautiful!

  41. Adam Odor says:

    Thank you for this. Nothing more beautifully could be stated.

  42. The Allan Goodman Memorial Fund » drew kennedy
    […] May 21st I wrote about my friend Allan Goodman. A lot of people read what I wrote and passed it around, which I was happy about because it meant […]

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