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Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Glen Creed is dead
Listening to:Wild Night, Van Morrison
Reading:various crap about a disbarred lawyer
Weather:56, overcast
Another of my friends is gone. Glen was my buddy for, I don't know, 10 or 15 years or something. We had lots of mutual friends, something we discovered after a few years knowing each other. He was from Barbour County, actually born in Michigan I think but came to WV in his elementary school days. I lived in Barbour for a while in the late 80's, early 90's, in Arden. Met lots of people who liked to do drugs at the party rock on the Tygart and hang around Betty's bar near there. Many of those people were Glen's friends, too.

Glen never graduated from highschool. But he read like a fiend, and loved to talk about politics and justice. His politics were interesting: lots of leftist, peacenik, hippie tendencies like pro-drug legalization, anti-war, pro-healthcare for all, pro-alternative energy. But also the occasional conservative anti-government rant would come out, since he spent lots of his life working for his parents in the residential rental business and also in his dad's small independent gas stations.

He was an alcoholic successfully in recovery for the entire time I knew him. He liked to do drugs a lot but was off everything for most of that time, too, even cigarettes, for shit's sake. How many former addicts do you know who can give up the cigs? Uh, none. Amazing. But fairly recently he hooked up with a girl who was a crack whore (his words, not mine). And he started smoking crack, according to him to try to figure out what kind of hold it could have on this poor girl he wanted to save. All the shit that goes with that starting coming into his life, sketchy nefarious dudes coming around, scrounging for money, using bad judgment, getting Viagra, going into more debt, taking guitars to the pawn shop, etc.

He called me last week. We were phone buddies. We could talk for hours. Or more accurately he could talk for hours. He had some mental illness, some kind of Axis II stuff, borderline personality disorder, perhaps? Anyhoo, he never picked up on any of the normal social signals you give when you are ready to end a conversation. You know your voice starts doing this up and down inflections, you start sentences with "well. . ." and you start trying to close ideas by throwing out stupid trite shit like "well. . .that's how it is, man," or "well. . . you can't fight city hall." That was entirely lost on Glen, he didn't even take a breath and just kept on going. Then you actually eventually would have to say, "OK, dude, I have to go pick my kid up, gotta go." No recognition, he just kept talking, or more likely ranting by this point, about how pot should be illegal or how corporate greed is ruining this country or how healthcare should be available to everyone.

So anyway, he called me last week and I knew something was up. Because after he told me his tale of woe, a minor variation of the age-old tale of woe he had been experiencing for decades, he asked me if I wanted to buy this Lowe's giftcard he had from returning some stuff there. When I concluded that I was not up for that, he said, "OK, I gotta go." Clearly something was wrong. He had NEVER, and I mean absolutely not one single time had ever ended a conversation with me willingly. I figured he must be strung out, and pretty desperate for $50 for a rock. Sad.

He was a longhaired hippie musician at heart, not a crackhead. He loved electric blues, rock and roll, classic British invasion stuff. Long gray hair and long gray beard, he was in his late 50's. He played guitar and bass but was primarily a keyboard player. We had hours of conversation about the nuance and groovy changes of some old Al Kooper cover, or Eric Clapton song, or Leon Russell tune. He burned me copies of about every Led Zeppelin album. He was always bumming that he couldn't find the right musicians to keep a good working band together. I sat in with his bands a few gigs when he was between bassplayers, but he knew I could never take the steady diet of blues he was working toward.

He never refused when I asked him to provide all the sound gear and run sound all day for a multi-band benefit concert for this or that. He ran sound for me when I did some solo gigs, and when I got paid he got paid, and when I did it for free for a benefit he worked for free, too. He was good soundman, good ear for vocals and guitar.

He was always pretty smiley with the chick who took our orders at Yama for lunch. He was pretty smiley generally if you could avoid getting him riled up about something that pissed him off, which you'd quickly regret. He was quick with the compliments and genuine, too. Sweet guy. Happy to help out, he came over and powersawed through rusty bolts to help me fix my leaky toilet. He lent me mics and other gear whenever I needed it. He played some sweet acoustic guitar stuff when I'd come over to visit.

I'll miss him. There were many times he drove me crazy. A few times I didn't answer the phone when I saw it was him on the caller ID. But mostly I think he was a good-hearted old hippie addict, just trying to make a better way for himself and the people around him.

permalink posted by cat 6:28 PM

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Glen will be sadly missed by many Cat...thank you for this account of his "person". Not many knew what a truly sincere, great guy he was. I am saddened that it ended this way for him...he was doing so well the last time I talked to him (about five years ago when he helped me move). Again, thanks for writing about Glen...
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Glen Creed is dead