Sorry not to have written much in the last few months. I’ll admit it, I’ve kind of become addicted to Facebook and have been enjoying meeting up with old friends, playing the scrabble-like game “lexulous”, and trying to come up with pithy status messages.
Sadly, something has come along that makes me want to write a longer piece.
This past Monday, a good friend of mine, a spiritual brother, Joseph “Jody” Duncan, died at the far-too-young age of 41. His friends & family are saying goodbye to him today in ceremonies in Henderson, KY; there’s another group of his friends who won’t be able to make it, because we’re far-flung all over the country. Most of us met Jody because of our mutual love for and obsession with the band NRBQ.
Jody was the guy who always knew the name and original artist of any obscure cover that NRBQ played. Or at least he had the music library at hand to figure it out. I would send him mp3’s of cuts I didn’t know, and he usually could get back to me with the right name & artist. Usually fairly quickly.
The first time I really spent any significant time with Jody was around Labor Day, 1999, when my then-wife, Maia, and I flew out to Louisville, KY to catch 4 Q shows in 4 days. The first of those shows was in Evansville, IN, which happened to be Jody’s hometown. I remember ahead of time he recommended a hotel to stay in (cheap, but not too shabby, and in a decent neighborhood, if I remember). He met us at the club, introduced us to all his hometown crazies, and we were fast friends. The next night was in Louisville, KY, and it was more of the same. He showed us such wonderful hospitality. Later that year, we made a trip to see NRBQ in Chicago (OK, really Berwyn, IL) and Champaign/Urbana, and, of course, Jody was at both shows.
A few years later, a special NRBQ fan weekend was put together by Stacey Q. Naturally, it was called “Wild Weekend”, and was held in Hartford, CT. Jody made the trip, along with a I don’t know how many other Q-balls, and now, everyone knew each other for real, not just online. The Chandler Travis Philharmonic was one of the opening acts for the shows, and I still remember Jody’s smile when Chandler sang “Surf’s Up”.
Here’s one story that to me is pure Jody. The NRBQ 35th Anniversary shows, which featured almost all living members of the band, past & present, were held in Northampton, MA. Jody made the trip but wasn’t sure if he could until practically the last minute. As I was filing out of the Calvin Theatre the 2nd night, the place was almost empty, except there was Jody, still sitting in his seat (the last seat in the far right corner of the last row of the balcony), with tears in his eyes.
Jody’s graveside service starts around 2pm CDT today. I plan on playing something joyous by NRBQ (maybe “Me & the Boys”) and raising a glass of Kentucky bourbon to Jody. I’m sure more than a few tears will be shed, too.
photo: Jeff Wilson
Until we meet again while travelling the spaceways … I love you, Jody.