A story. I didn’t just know Gerard via his music, but I knew him personally and he was great. He and bandmate Kyp Malone worked at Verb Cafe in 2004 when I started at Bedford Cheese Shop. Gerard went out his way to make me feel more welcome in this new community for me. Given that I was 15-20 years older than most of my peers it was most welcome gesture. When I needed to move my vinyl out of storage to sell a year later. Gerard provided both a van and helped me lug the boxes up to my apartment. He wanted nothing in exchange for an hour of back breaking work. He had taken special interest in my four Dolphy discs. I offered them to him gratis, but he insisted on paying me $60 for them (yep, TVOTR had been signed by that time, but still…). On all of his subsequent visits to the Cheese Shop, he always asked about my writing and insisted that I send him links, and he often returned praise or commentary on the articles.
I also fondly remember one Sunday morning, well after the release of “Return to Cookie Mountain.” I had gotten off the L Train at Bedford trudging into an opening shift at the Cheese Shop. Gerard was on the platform with a guitar playing Beatles tunes. I asked him later and he said he was doing it to figure out the handclaps. Because of that Dear Science made a whole lot more sense to me.
His death from lung cancer at the age of 36, yes 36, really makes me want to get in the face of all my friends who smoke. It’s not just what you’re risking doing to yourself. It’s what you are risking doing to those around you.