Anyone who's ever met me knows that there is nothing more important to me than my friends. I love the bastards. We're a tight-knit posse that have managed to stay close even as we migrated our separate ways around the country and abroad. We've seen each other through some crazy times over the years, through roadtrips and marriages and drama and all the weirdness that life's had to throw at us.

On August 18th 2004, we lost our very dear friend Simon. I'm writing this almost six months after his death, and it still doesn't seem real to me at all. I still think of funny things that I want to tell him when I next talk to him. I still hear interesting new bands and make a mental note to play them for him. It just doesn't seem to get any easier to accept as time goes by, nor does it get any easier to witness the effect that it has had on our friends; yet at the same time, I am incredibly grateful for the group display of strength and compassion and humor that helped keep everyone sane in the days following his death.

What can I say about Simon? Nothing could ever be adequate, right? There's always the tired old generic standby: "He was so full of life!" It just so happens that there's no one I know more deserving of that expression. Simon wasn't just full of it, he was bouncing off the walls with it. But that doesn't really say much; so what can I add to the many tributes that have been written about my friend? Well, Simon was beautiful. He was smart as hell. And he was wrong as hell, which, of course, always makes for an entertaining combo. He was the most talented musician I've ever met, hands down. His writing was intelligent, thought-provoking and, more often than not, totally hilarious. He could startle you into laughter no matter how badly your day was going. He would unexpectedly greet you by tackling you, wrapping his legs around your back, and covering you with sloppy kisses. He would debate loudly in bars, giggle hysterically in grassy cemeteries, and preach his drunken Irish wisdom from New Orleans sidewalks. It's impossible to imagine the last ten years of my life without him. I miss him every day.

One of the things that some of us remember best about Simon is his habit of, randomly, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, bursting into laughter and announcing, "Man, I fuckin' love you guys!" while hugging everyone.

Well, we love you too, Simon. We love you a whole fuckin' lot.

This is a portrait I painted at the request of my friends Jason and Sonya

 for the Dia de los Muertos altar they built for Simon.

You can click here to enlarge..