we all need to have more fun

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

You probably heard that local legend Billy Ruane died yesterday. This is one giant bummer.

All day today, I’ve been wrestling with what exactly to post, or if I should at all. I never spoke to the man, and many people are putting forth some very personal experiences. But the more I’ve read this collection of anecdotes, put together by the Boston Phoenix (updated throughout the day, read now!) the more I wanted to put up my thoughts. Cos what I’ve been learning from all these stories is something I’ve been forgetting lately: We all need to have more fun.

The first time I saw him, that I can remember, was during a Hallelujah the Hills show at Great Scott. All of a sudden, this man in a suit and coat burst up front with a fancy glass of High Life in one hand and a drink for someone on stage in another. He then proceeded to have the best time. Thee best. I need just half of his energy.

Other times I saw him were much the same – he was most enthusiastic, engaged person in the room. “Oh, that’s Billy Ruane!” people’d say. “WHO?” And now I know who he was. He wasn’t “that guy”, oh no. He was Boston music’s greatest advocate for decades, buyer of merchandise and drinks for all, and it’s because of him that the Middle East has music. He loved music and bands and people and wasn’t afraid to let everyone know it.

The last show both he and I attended, he brought a huge amount of pizzas. And more energy than you or I have ever mustered. RIP, Billy Ruane.

If you have a couple minutes, I think you should check out some of the tributes happening on the internet right now. I’ve brought together all the ones I’ve found, because I’d feel silly saying anything else.

Boston.com’s Look at Billy’s Life
Phoenix Arts Editor John Garelick
Can’t Stop the Bleeding
Bill Janovitz

Drug Rug
Sippy Cup
Brooklyn Vegan
Can’t Stop the Bleeding

“Some people hear music, some listen to it, some work on it and a rare few like Billy Ruane experience it as the ecstatic expression of life itself. I can’t really add to Gerard’s portrait except to concur that Billy Ruane was the single greatest music catalyst I’ve ever encountered. He transcended the definitions of “fan” and “promoter” to become a kind of living embodiment of the transforming experience of music, and he made a deep impression on everybody who ever met him.

Salut! One of a kind, Billy Ruane!” – Steve Albini

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