My name is (william) James (J.J.) Mathison — people tend to decide what name I go by… Chris called me Jimmy. I like that.
I have been punishing my soft little brain for days to find the right words to express my sorrow to you and your family, to all friends of Chris, to myself. Mostly I have been drinking; trying to make some sense of it all. We did a lot of that together, Chris and I.
We didn’t rely on finding the right words too much when we were together. No doubt Chris had them there, somewhere in that sad-brilliant mind of his.
We drove around. We were fucking hilarious. Everybody knows Chris was fucking hilarious.
We hugged a lot.
Smart people tend to be intuitively unhapppy. Chris was un-happy a great deal when I knew him best. This made sense to me.
Stupid-happy people are boring. Sad-smart people are interesting. Chris was really goddamn interesting. I think we bonded.
(in case you’re wondering: sad-stupid people need to just cheer the fuck up already.)
I should say “back in the day,” or “when I lived in Calgary,” or “before he was famous” to place my time with your brother in perspective for those who might not know…
I met Chris back in the day when I lived in Calgary, before he was famous — well, I guess he was Veritas famous. Those guys were amazing. I was banging on drums in a two-piece called The Means and we got put on a bill together. The rest is mektoub.
It is a point of grief for me that I left Calgary when I did; that I didn’t get to spend more time with Chris… hindsight can be a real dick. I last saw him two christmases ago at James & Becca’s. It was getting on in the evening. I had had, oh, one or two drinks as I recall… the room was starting to spin and then suddenly there were Chris and Rena, making an appearance. I hugged him. For a long time. I fucking love this guy.
Chris was and continues to be one of those musicians that makes me feel like I can’t play for shit. In a good way, I think. The man was a musigician. We all know that. Every once in a while he would take a break from his genius, come over to my apartment and play on my level. I had an 8-track recorder. It’s gone now, but some things remain.
When I heard the news of Chris’ passing I didn’t know what to do. I listened to everything I had that he had anything to do with. Mix tapes made me cry.
I recorded a “song” that Chris and I wrote in one night in 2005 (or 2006?) after driving around laughing being smart drinking and hugging. It was written in a snap, you know, for something to do together. That’s Chris playing the rhodes at the beginning.
I wanted to share just one more thing marked by Chris’ talent that you haven’t heard. I hear there is a lot of it out there.
Thanks for listening.