a few weeks ago when i saw vic chesnutt, i had no idea it would be the last time. as is my habit i arrived at the venue somewhat early. mississippi studios has a little restaurant in front, my friend molly and i were sitting at table across from where vic and his band was eating dinner. i noticed that vic wasn’t talking and seemed more than a little distant. i discounted it because once on stage, he came alive. i was figuring he was road weary, the man tours and records constantly. now i know differently.
on christmas eve i read that he attempted suicide and was in a coma, my heart dropped. when he was 19 he was in a car accident that left him in a wheelchair and a battle with depression. vic’s music has been a constant in my life for over 15 years, and i’ve seen him so many times, he almost felt like a distant friend. his songs of alienation and struggle sung in his fragile cracked voice always spoke to me.
the next day word came that he passed away. i was surprised how affected i was. i can only suspect that it has something to do with the fact that this is the first holiday season since my mom died earlier this year. so this season already has a strong sense of melancholy for me. it’s such a shame when someone goes when were not ready for them to go. my thoughts go out to his family and close friends. my thoughts also go to his network of distant friends throughout the world that he touched with his songs.
for years in interviews vic mentioned his struggles as an independent musician dealing with health issues. and thanks to the fucked up u.s. healthcare system (or lack of) he always had trouble finding insurance. a fund has been set up for his family to help offset some of the costs of his healthcare. if you would like to contribute go here.