I have struggled for a while at how to present some of the thoughts and memories I’ve had since Dalton passed. There were moments that broke my heart, but also thankfully some moments that made me smile and laugh at the memories.
First of all I miss him.
We didn’t talk everyday, in fact, like everyone else in my life, he was subject to the poor communicator that I sometimes was/am. Often we wouldn’t talk for long periods and then one or the other of us would get pangs and wonder if the other had “severed the ties” a term we used. Then we would get on the phone and talk and it would seem like we never missed a beat. In the last couple years we communicated more, went to several awesome shows together (Henry Rollins, T.U.G.G., The English Beat, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Pixies, and the last one Led Zeppelin 2), hung out at his apartment a few times and had chess games and music nerdiness at my place.
I know that Dalton had issues standing for long periods. It was hard for him so when possible we got seats, but he stood when it was necessary. Going to a show was a big deal for him. He prepped. He didn’t eat all day so we could feast before the show. A slice and a salad at Rocky Rococos was a favorite. Then we would work it off record shopping until the timing was right to head to the venue and get in line.
The night of Led Zeppelin 2 I pulled up to Dalton’s apartment building and he came out and got in and immediately presented me with 2 CD’s. He declared them to be special pre-show warm up CD’s. One was full of obscure songs, while the other was more mainstream fare, but was sure to rock. He asked me which one to play on our evening out. This was typical of Dalton. He invested. I know he sat around that day, getting psyched for the show, listening to Led Zeppelin and spending time putting together these varied mixes specifically for our evening. He wanted every minute to be awesome.
I opted for the obscure CD. These CD’s are still in my car.
Obscure Tracks For Car Trips:
- Complication – Nine Inch Nails
- Lady Scarface – Lydia Lunch
- Loose – Blake Babies
- Cool Schmool – Bratmobile
- Ich Bin Ein Auslander – Pop Will Eat Itself
- Deep Six – Marilyn Manson
- Chicken Pussy – Bongwater
- Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
- Birds – Butthole Surfers
- First Suture – Chemlab
- Immigrant Song – Karen O, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
- Don’t Start (Too Late) – Black Sabbath
- Way It’s Gonna Be – The Cynics
- Suicide Jag – Chemlab
- Symptom Of The Universe – Black Sabbath
- Little Monster – Royal Blood
Familiar Tracks For Car Trips:
- Tyrant – Judas Priest
- Very Ape – Nirvana
- Just Like Me – L7
- 400 Bucks – The Reverend Horton Heat
- Other Voices – The Cure
- Ain’t It Fun – The Dead Boys
- Fundamentally Loathsome – Marilyn Manson
- Outside The Wall – Pink Floyd
- Blue Velvet – Spit
- Hell Parental Advisory – Snippet from “Madtown Music”
- Dead Man’s Road – Cinderella
- 100% – Sonic Youth
- Hit The Lights – Metallica
- Mexican Hairless – Toadies
- Vow – Garbage
- Whores – Jane’s Addiction
- Mister Love – Toadies
- Powertrip – Monster Magnet
- Plump – Hole
- Bringing On The Heartbreak – Def Leppard
- Phantom Of The Opera – Iron Maiden
These 2 CD’s were an interesting look inside his head.
Dalton’s parents sold their house and planned to move to Sun Prairie and thus Dalton was over there sorting through all his stuff there. He needed to pack and store some plus mark some for the garage sale they were going to have on Waunakee city-wide garage sale day. I came over to help him go through some stuff in the storage shed out back of the house. It had a lot of bins that held a legacy of music collection. CD’s, DVD’s, tapes, Rolling Stone magazines and stereo equipment. Dalton was sizing everything up and determining what to do with it. An overwhelming task and the clock was ticking. That day I was the lucky recipient of some speakers the size of a small child. I put my 13 year old in the picture for reference.
I also got all the CD’s that he loaded his 3TB external with. Ordinarily I might have passed on those, since we routinely traded stuff, however, I spotted some Metallic bootlegs and I was on a Metallica kick and so took both. They were 2 50 disc wallets of MP3 albums. A veritable ton of stuff.
A couple of weeks later I was back to help him again. That day he was going though CD’s and putting keepers in a bin and garage sale CD’s in another. There was a lot. The clock was winding down, the garage sale was 2 weeks away and Dalton’s parent’s move was a handful of weeks away. The last thing I did there that day was help Dalton load a record player, receiver, speakers and a small cabinet into his father’s car to go to his apartment.
The next day I texted him mid morning and asked if they got the stereo in without much fuss. He responded that they had, it sounded good and he was trying to figure out how to hook his laptop to it.
The day after that, Tuesday April 28th 2015, his father called me mid morning to tell me that Dalton was gone.
I was actually dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it. I thought about all the times that Dalton had been close to death, either by his own hand, or by medical emergencies. He had just had a 12 hour open heart surgery in December. He had gotten though all that and many other events… and now he was gone. I was so sad for his parents, his sisters, and his son Josh. The rest of the day was a blur as I tried to wrap my mind around him being gone.
I got a text from Dalton’s sister Donetta that night asking me if I would come by Dalton’s apartment the next night. She was going there with Josh and wanted me to come and get some of Dalton’s things.
The next night Cindy and I went to the apartment and met Donetta and Josh there. It was very emotional. Surreal. There was the stereo stuff I had helped load into the car 2 days ago. Donetta broke down as she stated that Dalton would want me to have his records, something his father also had said to me. So we loaded six boxes and a milk crate full of records out to the car. His father mentioned to me in later days that getting the records moved from Dalton’s parents house to his apartment was a big deal. Special storage boxes were purchased and Dalton had gotten plastic sleeves for almost all of them. He thinks that Dalton wanted them there for me. I think he just loved his albums and took great care of them and I am honored to have them.
I also ended up with the receiver, record player and cart that I had helped him load into the car 2 days before. I took books on Hendrix, Pink Floyd and ultimately the bookcases. I recovered the record clock that I made for him with the pendulum which I now have at work. There were some CD’s there of course which I took too.
I think the thing that made me lose it a little was finding Dalton’s hacky-sack. We spent hours listening to music and playing hacky back in the day when he was healthier. I even have a video we made of us playing hacky out back of my townhouse. I have it in my car now and I get it out sometimes while I’m driving and squeeze it, like a stress ball.
The other thing that night that really touched me was how grown up Josh was. He hugged me when we arrived and I realized how much he must have gone though over the years with all that Dalton went through. A lot of what Dalton had to deal with, his family went through right along with him. It must have been so hard for Josh. In his hands that night I saw 2 things. The framed “Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon” album that Dalton had hanging with 5 other of his favorite albums. Also his pile of concert tickets. Dalton would have been so proud that these things meant something to Josh. He tried so hard to connect with Josh, but it wasn’t easy with being gone for long periods, personal drama, and poor health. To see those items as the ones he wanted from the apartment was heart warming.
After the apartment, things were calm for a short period. The stuff I brought back was in the garage and I tried to just deal with things for a few days.
Then came the private viewing which was a very small gathering of basically just family and a few friends. I overcame the desire to disappear and was able to get up and say a few words. I was glad I did. It seemed important. I introduced myself as Metalhead, a nickname that was given to me by Dalton and has stuck with me with his family. I recounted getting to go see Led Zeppelin 2 with Dalton and how he had made the 2 CD’s.
The next day was the funeral. It was hard, but at times beautiful. I was a pallbearer and when it was done, we headed home and closed the world out for a while.
That night Dalton’s dad contacted me. He wanted me to come and take what I wanted from the storage shed. So, a couple of nights later I went over there. The shed was chock full still of the bins of CD’s and tapes and 45’s and whatnot. Dalton had sorted some stuff, but it was all still there, just sitting there. I was overcome with such sadness. I knew that what was left when I drove away was going in the garage sale, or, was going to be recycled. I think there are few people in the world that understand what lay before me, the number of hours spent burning, buying, dubbing, cataloging, preserving… the records that I had already taken home and all the CD’s and tapes here were Dalton’s musical legacy. He and I understood each other and the way were about music. That was a bond that held us together through the years.
In the days that followed I found myself listening to the Pixies CD’s that I had picked up from his apartment. He had tried to get me into the Pixies several times and though I liked a couple of songs, and even went to see them with him in Madison, I was never really a huge fan like he was. Listening to these CD’s though… they grew on me. I listened to them in the car, and listened to everything they had on Spotify.
Dalton was gone, but I felt I needed to send him one last text, one that I’ll use to wrap this up. There will be other entries to document all the albums and CD’s and miscellaneous stuff I inherited from him, but this is the end of the sad stories.
“I listened to the Pixies all day today. You would have been so proud of me. I miss you Dalton. Peace.”