Evan Farrell, former Rogue Wave bassist and long-time associate of Indiana musical collective Japonize Elephants, passed away last weekend from injuries sustained in an Oakland house fire. He was 33.
I’ve been putting off writing this entry for days; Evan wasn’t a close friend, but he was a powerful one, and since the moment on Saturday when I got a phone call from Rogue Wave guitarist Gram LeBron — who explained in choked, wavering sentences that he and Evan had been in a fire, and Evan probably wasn’t going to make it — I’ve found myself struggling to grasp this reality. Thankfully, Billboard‘s Jonathan Cohen and Bloomington Herald-Times writer Dan Coleman have written far more vivid, eloquent posts than I can pull together at this point. All I can add is that the best week of my life was spent touring with Rogue Wave in 2006, logging countless hours on the bench seat of a van with Evan’s legs stretched across my lap as he napped on a Spider-Man pillow. He was a wild-eyed wonder, equally adept at playing Elton John and Primus songs at sound check, fond of made-up languages and too-tight t-shirts. He’d jump in front of an 18-wheeler on the highway if you needed him to. And while this may seem inappropriate, I will never, ever, forget the way he smelled.
A memorial fund has been set up for Evan’s two sons; donations are being accepted via PayPal. Evan was also an organ donor, a cause very close to the hearts of Rogue Wave — whose drummer, Pat Spurgeon, underwent a kidney transplant a little under a year ago — and I’d like to ask everyone to fill out their donor cards in his honor. My heart goes out to his wife, his family, his bandmates, and his seemingly endless community of friends. I hope some will post their memories here. Plus, two classic Evan videos after the jump.