I'm writing to you guys with heavy heart today, as I have just learned of the passing of my close friend and co-worker Jeff Davis, known also as Jef Leppard to his bros and colleagues. Jeff and his wife Nikki were involved in a motorcycle accident at Ocean Beach in San Francisco last night, and at the time of this writing, Nikki is struggling for survival as well. I can honestly say that it is impossible for me to imagine two people less deserving of a fate like this one--in the recent years that I've come to know these two beautiful people, I never heard either of them express any sort of anger or negativity, and experienced only love and support whenever I was in their presence. Jeff was an audio engineer, and through the countless hours that me and my bands sat in his back room, incessantly looping through eons of top-volume double bass rolls, Nikki never showed any hint of annoyance at our general rowdiness and thuggery--on the contrary, she has always been the picture of generosity and kindness, offering us home-cooked meals, beverages, and support. Their marriage was by all accounts a happy and fulfilling one, and these events have put an end to something that has always inspired and impressed me.
Jeff was a guy that, through everything he did--be it music (outside of engineering he was also a ripping guitarist, playing with bands such as STFU and Voetsek), work (I hired him at my "real job", and he was always staunchly professional and dependable), or friendship (those who counted him as a good friend are legion)--left an impression of realness, goodness, and solidity in his wake, and as a man who has experienced loss many times in the past, I can truly say that Jeff's passing cuts deeper than almost any other. I have friends who I know "better" than I knew Jeff, or longer, but the ease I had in conversing with him, in discussing deep, meaningful (to me, at least) topics, surpassed most of those friendships by far. In a recent recording session, me and Jeff were left alone in his studio to track guitar for an hour or two, but rather than getting any "real" work done, we ended up quickly shirking duty and falling into a lengthy discussion about relationships, motivation, positivity, and life in general. At the time I was going through a difficult break-up, and that extended trip into Jeff's mind will always stay with me as an ultimate moment of revelation and meaning. It put me on a permanent path to becoming a better person and sorting out my own life, yet to Jeff I'm sure it was just another passing conversation with a friend. He radiated intelligence and caring in a way that was wholly unquestioned and instinctual--he was just a great fucking guy, and he never asked for credit or acknowledgment. People like Jeff simply don't exist in this world, and it is an extremely painful undertaking to let him go.
I know that in the months leading up to his death, Jeff had become a reader of Illogical Contraption, and was always a dweller in the same sphere of weirdness that we all inhabit here. As such, all corny platitudes aside, I feel like the IllCon family has lost a Brother, and even those who never had the honor of meeting him in person just experienced a devastating blow as well. It's hard not to wax poetic and regurgitate cliches in difficult times like these, but Jeff was one of the good ones, and he will be deeply and sorely missed. There are very, very few people I respect as much as I did Jeff, and the unfairness of his departure leaves me full of confusion, grief, and rage.
If you believe in some sort of "higher power", please petition them to grant Nikki a full recovery, and if you don't, please just take some time to send positive thoughts. Through all the pain and sadness, it is difficult to remember that there is goodness in the world. But today, I am reminded of just how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing people, and even when they're gone, their memories will always encourage and inspire me. Do yourself a favor today, and give a big, stupid hug to the people that you care about. Tell them how important they are to you. We're nothing without each other, and every second we get is a fucking gift. Remember that.
Rest in peace, Jeff.