Monday, June 11, 2012

R.I.P. JEFF DAVIS



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.

30 comments:

jeremiah said...

sorry for your and the world loss.

i lurk the blog and appreciate your efforts. i am sending positive energy and love your & Nikki's way.

Anonymous said...

i don't normally read your blog but am a friend of Jeff and Nikkis and saw a link to this on fb, wanted to say thank you for what you wrote, it just helps to read more and more from all of us that knew him and to know we are not alone.

Chris said...

Sorry for your loss, Shelby. I have lost a few very close friends in my time, so I can relate to what you're going through. Positive thoughts to you and Nikki.

Anonymous said...

That is beautifully written. While I didn't know jeff that well, from what I do know everything you've said is absolutely spot-on. We truly have lost a very special soul.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this. i'm also a friend of jeff and nikki's who saw this link posted on facebook, and you've perfectly expressed what generous, awesome people they both are. they had a way of making you feel like a friend from the first time you met them.

Squatch said...

Music will make everything balanced dry your tears and write a song to memorialize and start the platform for a legasy to be told

Daniel said...

I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff and Nicki a couple years back,they let my friend and I sleep at their place. I got to witness their kindness and generosity first hand. My thoughts and prayers go out to Nicki,all of their friends and family.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said ...

lazypunksinc said...

You have, very eloquently, spoken for many of Nikki and Jeff's friends, I believe. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Jeff, although I am friends with many of the people he was friends with, or played in bands with etc. For some reason, I am especially touched by this horrible accident, probably because so many people I know are hurting over it, and because I know the pain of losing wonderful people to death. Your eulogy nearly moved me to tears, and I just thought i should let you know that you wrote a wonderful tribute to your friend. I bet Jeff would be very moved to know that he touched so many people's lives in such a positive way. Unfortunately, most people don't know just how important they are to their friends, but death's positive side is that it does bring the living closer to each other, and I know that in my circles of friends, we do all try to make an effort to tell each other I love you, as often as we can. I'm sending good and positive thoughts Nikki's way, I know she will need all the support she can get when she pulls through.

Nikki's cousin Tammy said...

I know it wasn't hard for you to find such kind words about Jeff. Underneath all of those tattoos, crazy colored hair and fuzzy beard was a very kind and caring individual who would give you everything he had and more just because he was that nice.
Nikki is my cousin, which makes Jeff my cousin. Technically by marriage, but in my family, we're not that technical. Jeff was my cousin. And he fit into our family perfectly. It's almost as if he was made to be a part of our family. And he was the best thing to happen to my cousin Nikki. I can't fathom the pain she will feel when she hears he is no longer with us. My heart aches for her knowing that her life is forever changed.
My hope is that all of you that are rallying around her now to get better and to help her through her loss will continue to do so in the years to come.

RIP Jeff. You will be missed.

And Nikki, get better soon. I love you.

Hammerin Papa J, wanderer, explorer of space and time said...

Couldn't have said it any better. Jeff and Nikki are two of the coolest people I've ever known. just straight down to Earth, genuine, good, folk. This is so fucked.

Shelby Cobras said...

Tammy: Your comment got me crying all over again. Rest assured, Nikki's friends are 100% with her and behind her, and we consider the two of them family every bit as much as you do. If there is ANY way this website and/or the music scene we are connected to can help your family in this time of need , just come back here and let me know. It's the least I can offer in the face of all the hospitality and love that Jeff and Nikki have shown me (and nearly all of my friends) in the past.

Aesop said...

Damn

Anonymous said...

I was lucky to have seen Voetsek and live in the bay area with them, my heart goes out to Nikki and all family and friends involved. R.I.P. Jeff. <3

Anonymous said...

If you want to know how you can help....

hey everybody-
our comunity has lost a very loved/respected individual over the past 24 hours and for this we mourn, all in our unique ways. RIP Jef Lepparrd. And now we're all gathering the light of the universe and sending it to Nikki Davis for a full recovery....I just left SFGH, she can not have visitors at this time/and prolly not for a couple days. Nikki's mom Donna Lee Wayrynen Culbert and father Smiley are here with various family memebers. we are setting up a memorial for Jef at Lennon Rehearsal for this Saturday June 16 7-10pm. he will be cremated. please pass this info along, they have so many friends & extended family that truly care for them...this has been devastating.

Aylmer said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend Shelby. The eulogy you wrote is beautiful and moving. Sending positive thoughts Nikki's way for a full recovery.

gloom666 said...

terrible news...beautifully written. RIP

these a beast said...

Fuck. Sending the best westwards.
j.

The Goodkind said...

Wow, best to you all. I am so sorry.

Jimmy Crucifix said...

wo shit! That was absolutely beautiful and from the heart! those words just blew me away! well said! Thank You

The L-RV said...

Sorry to hear this.
Your words are fucking epic though - celebrate his life every day...

DoomUnicorn said...

Rest In Peace...condolences to all

Brian said...

rest in power!

i had the pleasure of meeting jeff a couple of times during an STFU tour and a voetsek tour. he was an extremely nice guy (as was everyone else on the tours) and was a blast to hang with. i remember at the STFU show in albuquerque, they did a cover of "fuckin for bucks" by the accused and it was a rager. it was a sparsely attended show but we partied our balls off. the coolest was that they even played the song again as my buddy joe tapia (noisear) was late in getting to the show and they either knew he was a big accused fan or i told them so. either way, it was fun as hell and a great memory. condolences to all his family and close friend, the world lost a good one!

Brent Johnson said...

Jeff and Nikki are very close to so many including us, Team Johnson. You did a wonderful job on this piece and it comes from the bottom of your heart. Jeff and Nikki made the final cut for our wedding 11 years ago, came to our holiday party last year and we just gave em tickets for Rancid and had a fuckin killer time at Club 21 before the show. Jeff is missed by so many and Nikki needs to stay with us, her work on this planet isn't finished. Thank you for sharing your memories of our brother. I'm crying again.

Sandra said...

Your amazing words helped ease the pain of this situation. I met Nikki about 16 years ago. She truly is a unique person and has a beautiful spirit. Although I did not have the pleasure to meet her husband, I am sure he was just as wonderful a person as Nikki. My heart goes out to both of their families and will continue to keep them in my prayers.

HEYMAN said...

You wrote the truth and that's all that matters in the end. Be strong.

Lukas said...

i am sorry, man....i love your blog and it hurts too to read stuff flike that. LOTS of positive energy from me. r.i.p. those who died.

Mike said...

Wow! Awesome writing. I had the honor of being their friend and like Brent said , they made my wedding list , and I saw them both last at Brent's holiday party. Below is the link to the family site

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/Nikkidavis

Anonymous said...

Sucks and Sorry. I've been lucky! Over 35 years on bikes, and I've been hit 11 times, broke over 30 bones, and I'm still in good shape. But in most cases, If one rides long enough, one will die on there bike.

Thomas.

Cheryl Lynn said...

I'm sorry to hear that. They will both be in my thoughts and prayers.