About my friend...
My phone had lit up like a Christmas tree...texts with links to articles, texts with questions, texts, texts.... I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but I had to turn it off. Next thing I knew, I was wandering around the grocery store for 30 minutes looking for lozenges...even though I knew where they were.
Death is a part of life, but you never get used to it, especially when it's someone you were close to at whatever point in time. Social networking makes everything so disposable. I didn't want to just write something that would be disposable with the feed of the day, as I didn't think that would do her justice. Since I wasn't able to sleep that night, I thought I'd record one of her songs as a tribute, to send along with my message...a very musical Virgo thing to do [she'd laugh at that]. That then felt a bit too self-serving, even though I know she would have thought it a cool thing to do...but it wasn't necessary as her music will absolutely live forever. Most of the press has been focused on the gossip, and not the person, so here is some of the person.
We got along straight off, as we had a lot in common. She was a year older than me, but our birthdays are around the same time, so we'd joke about how some of our habits were "Virgolike", as Virgo's tend to do. We used to have a lot of late night chats, talking about our kids, our favorite bands, the biz, and just life in general. Like with all of us to a certain degree, there were things in her life that upset her. As a friend, one tries to always show the positive side of it all. She was also good at calming any frustrations I had saying, "Love Eric. Love. Just focus on love, and it all goes away."
From our conversations, there were 4 things she cherished the most: her children, music, her mother and her brother PJ. She talked about her bandmates with great admiration...her other brothers...and was really proud of them, and her band...and liked to talk about bands they loved growing up, like The Smiths.
We would chat about school bullies and compare ways of dealing with them, the funny habits and things kids say, just like anyone else. She loved her kids more than anything, and it always ached her to be away from them. I remember how playful and sweet she was to my son, talking to him on the phone, and just thinking how much her kids must adore her.
Music. She was super enthusiastic about creating, and as the world knows, she was a brilliant songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, and a vocalist like the universe had never heard. She wanted to really get into some new sounds, more soundtrack vibes, which is how we got started working together and becoming friends. I was flattered that she was so enthusiastic about the music I had been coming up with. She would leave melodies on my voicemail ending with, "How's that?", with a playful and sweet, almost child-like request for approval. We liked all the same bands really, as we grew up within the same era. Then she'd tell me some fun stories...like when Michael Stipe raided her dressing room before a festival performance, pulled out some little red dress of hers, and the next thing she knew, Stipe was on stage wearing her dress. She wasn't though all talk. She asked a lot of questions, and wanted to know one's thoughts. She was extremely thoughtful. She took the creative process very personally to the point where one day she asked to say "hi" to my wife Amanda, and spent the next hour and a half explaining to her how much musicians need space to create. :)
It's been widely publicized that she had many demons to deal with, but you'll never know it all as it's no one's business. I will say this though, it's no coincidence that one of the tracks we did together is called "Cryopian D". "Pian" in Gaelic means pain. People often see success and think that it offsets any possible life issues. Fame is a tool, it's not a lifestyle or a substitute. If anything, it only amplifies feelings...some of them good, some of them bad.
She was the strongest person I've ever known. I told her on many occasions. She definitely got a whole lot of that from her mother, whom she talked about all the time. Wonderful family stories of how Eileen O’Riordan worked incredibly hard to keep everyone under her roof focused and fed. That strength was shared with her wonderful brother PJ, whom she was so incredibly proud of, and who watched over her like the guardian angel on Earth that he is.
I can go on and on about her. End of 2017 we were trying to find an intersecting moment to get together, just to hang out. Our chats became sparse over the last few years, not for any reason other than life just tends to do that. Below is the last text I received from her this past New Year's Day. Always with flowery, smiley heart emojis, and this time with a clover. She was energized during the holidays, and was planning on going in to finish off vocals on three of our songs this month. She LOVED creating. It also helped get her mind off of things.
As strange as it sounds, and as much as I already miss her, her "Pian" is no more...and I am relieved for her.