I chose BOTH of Vic's 2009 albums--At The Cut and Skitter On Take-Off--as among my 25 favorite and I was fortunate to have the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions. Peace and love to his family, especially his wife Tina.
Here are 10 things I will forever cherish about the man...
10) Nearly getting into a fight at a Vic Chesnutt show - How one gets into a fight at a Vic Chesnutt show isn't easy, but I almost pulled it off and drew the attention of Vic himself who said, "It's not a Vic Chesnutt show without a good fight." I was sitting on the ground with the rest of the audience when the woman in front of me decided to stand up and leave me staring at the back of her floor-length skirt. I tried to get her to move but she was determined to stand in her place, blocking me and everyone behind me. Her boyfriend wanted to know what my problem was. It was pretty obvious. I explained the obvious. He stormed off and she eventually followed him and I enjoyed the rest of the show with a full view.
9) Hearing the sound of the air on Skitter On Take-Off - In this day and age where everyone can overproduce everything, it was such a treat to hear a man singing into the air and allowing the air to co-star.
8) Interviewing Vic and having him explain how the wheelchair didn't matter since he wasn't planning on doing anything athletic anyway - My girlfriend Lora remembers this one. I was interviewing him for some reason and we were discussing his accident and he played nonchalant, dismissing his accident and paralysis as nearly irrelevant since he had no plans on being anything other than an artist anyhow.
7) Watching Speed Racer and seeing him in the recording studio with his then very young nieces as his string section - The movie Speed Racer is a great look into Vic's life. It was filmed around the time he was recording his second album West Of Rome and features producer Michael Stipe instructing Vic's young nieces on how to play their parts. One of them, Liz Durrett, has been recording very cool albums on her own.
6) Hearing that he'd been signed to a major label for About To Choke - Nothing seemed crazier than the idea that a major label wanted to sign Vic Chesnutt. He recorded his album and sure enough it never made a dent. What did they honestly expect?
5) Discovering that About To Choke is the one Chesnutt album that is "difficult to find" - It's also typical of the music business to then delete an artist's work from their catalog. Now, maybe it will go back in print.
4) The now haunted lyrics of "Florida" - Vic said he wrote this song for a friend who killed himself with a nail gun ("hit those nails on the head") and included the lines "And I respect a man who goes to where he wants to be, even if he wants to be dead."
3) The "devilish twinkle" in his eye - Spending just a short amount of time with him, I could see what can only be described as a "devilish twinkle" in his eyes. He could be an amusing, charismatic guy and I enjoyed his performances immensely.
2) The now-haunted verses of "Flirted With You All My Life" - On one of his last albums At The Cut, Vic sings about how death has always surrounded him throughout his life. The hints were always there. What could anyone really do? I hope he finds peace.
1) "You were so Cosmopolitan" in "Onion Soup" - It's as simple as this. Just listen to the way he sings "You were so Cosmopolitan" in "Onion Soup" for an idea as to why he had his fans. He just devours the word "Cosmopolitan" with such a sense of play that you can play it over and over and chuckle every time.
- Vic Chesnutt