Our dear friend, Tom Johnson, is nearing the end of his life. A musician, Tom led the Whiskey Sournotes, and the latest incarnation of that band included my husband, KK, who can be seen in the background on the drums.
Tom’s persistence and encouragement brought KK out of retirement (so to speak) and back behind a drum kit. This alone is a remarkable feat as KK is a shy and in the background kinda guy, and much gentle encouragement and prodding was needed.
I won’t say that I love the constant noise of drum practicing, which goes on in the basement at all hours, but music is very good for the hubby in many ways, and he’s good for music, so I am grateful to Tom for encouraging him and having him in the band for the past several years.
One of the scenes in my novel, Washed Up, was inspired by a Halloween gig at the Eagles Club where the Whiskey Sournotes were performing. So even I have Tom to thank for inspiration.
Beyond his musical talents, Tom Johnson had a generous and wise-cracking spirit that never failed to bring sunshine into a room. You couldn’t help but to smile when the big guy headed your way, giving you a warm greeting in his beautiful baritone voice. I still remember the first time I heard him speak on the phone (he was married to a coworker at the time), and I literally felt myself melting when I heard it. I wasn’t surprised to learn he was a singer and musician. That kind of voice has just one purpose. And Tom spent his life putting his voice to that use it was intended for.
Even though we are losing him, I’m sure he’ll be much in demand in the next life – there’s not enough laughter in the afterlife I’m sure, not enough of his unique and salty baritone, and that’s why Tom is required there now. So we’ll have to let him go there because, well, they’ve hired him for a permanent stand, they are paying him with free beer and pizza forever and all he has to do is be himself: full of smartass, wise-cracking sunshine.
We’ll miss you!