Remembering Where I Was When Famous Musicians Died

ui.general.by Joe Somar


Where were you the day Michael Jackson died? People love to ask shit like that. I get it all the time, whether I’m at the airport or Burger King. People always asking me, “Joe, where were you when Lennon was shot?” And always like, “I wasn’t even born yet. Jesus Christ, how old do you think I am?” Here are the ones I do remember.

ANDY GIBB - March 30th, 1988

Like a lot of five year olds, I was already mourning the assassination of Dulcie September. My plan for that day was to give her a fitting tribute by reenacting her funeral using my Ninja Turtles figures. I was painting my April O’Neil brown because she was the closest thing to Dulcie that I had figure-wise when I realized the deafening silence in my room was giving me a panic attack. Due to the child-proof nature of the bottle that contained my medication, I quickly needed to find a way to quell the pulsating self-hatred echoing through my little brain. I somehow crawled over to the radio and turned it on. “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” came buzzing out of the tinny speakers and before I knew it I was giggling and bumping butts with my Teddy Ruxpin like nothing had happened. When the song was over, I felt a wave of joy cascading over me. Then I heard the disc jockey’s voice, obviously fighting back tears, proclaiming “That was the late Andy Gibb with ‘I Just Want to Be Your Everything’. We’ll be playing all of Andy’s hits today. Once again, if you just joined us, Andy Gibb has passed away at the age of 30”. I didn’t speak again until I saw the Dick Tracy movie. My first words after two years of silence were, “Why was that movie so colorful?”

TINY TIM - November 30, 1996

It was another sweet Saturday morning afternoon. I had made a giant sandwich out of the remaining Thanksgiving leftovers and was watching X-Men when I suddenly felt a dull ache in my heart. It was nothing, I said to myself. Probably shouldn’t be eating this huge turkey and stuffing sandwich, I thought. Having failed several physicals at school for having a body fat percentage that would be a passing score on any other kind of test, the sandwich was strictly contraband.  But being the butterball that I was there was no stopping me. I giddily watched as Cyclops used some righteous optic blasts on a gang of Sentinels when the show was interrupted for a news brief. Suddenly a photograph of Tiny Tim splashed across the screen and at the moment I knew why my heart had started to ache.


It was a hot summer day and my mom was riding me extra hard because I had broke the news to her that I wasn’t going to back to school next semester and I was instead going to pursue my dreams of being an artist. She said it was the worst birthday present ever and after I reminded her about the birdhouse I made her in Kindergarten, she relented that this was at least a very close silver medal. I told her I’d hit the pavement and at least get a job and help around the house.  It was total bullshit but I had to get her out of my face somehow. I sat down to check my Friendster messages and there was one with the subject “Dude” from a buddy of mine. The message read, “The dude from Drowning Pool died. I guess his body hit the floor, huh?” to which I replied “LOL”.

MIKEY WELSH - October 8th, 2011

I was headed over to Wal-Mart to buy a pair of off-brand Crocs (like I’m gonna pay extra for a name) when I noticed people in the parking lot were acting really weird.  Everyone was blasting “Island in the Sun” by Weezer out of their car stereos and I thought to myself, “Boy is that a terrible song.”  Choosing between the best two colors available, yellow and camouflage, was proving to be more daunting than I had expected it to be. Suddenly a harsh voice blared over the loudspeaker, “Attention Wal-Mart shoppers, due to the unfortunate events of earlier today we are closing early. I repeat, we are closing early. Please bring your purchases to the front immediately for check out.” Well, that really chapped my ass. Using eeny, meany, miny, moe, I found myself sprinting to the front clutching a pair of fake camo Crocs to my chest. The check out lady impatiently waved me over and rushed to check me out. “What’s the big hurry anyway?” I said as I counted out 8 dollars and 64 cents in dimes and nickels.  She sucked her teeth and said, “Whatchu live under a rock or sumthin’? Mikey Welsh is DEAD!”  I dropped my Ziploc bag full of coins and it exploded all over the place which totally sucked because I think there was enough left in there to get a McRib.

KEITH RICHARDS - January 29th, 2042

Bustling through a technicolor herd and hiding my visage underneath a hologram hood, I found myself wondering how I could be so ugly in the age of affordable beauty. I ignored the banal chit-chat of the Sprawl and noticed my sustenance bag was weakly pumping its final drops of protein into my bloodstream. If I hurried, I could get to a food bank before curfew. I had seven credits to my name but a good bag of protein can be the difference between life and death on the Grid. Suddenly my guts were rumbling and I knew I had to defecate. I looked around for a public relief station but all I could find was a Taco Bell. Of course, it was a Taco Bell. They were all Taco Bells now. Suddenly, we were all still. We had all received the same intel on our braindecks. It read simply and dryly, “Keith Richards, rock music performer, dies at age 98. In remembrance, the ban on electric guitars will be lifted for the next 24 hours.” I hailed a Johnny Cab and used my remaining seven credits to head down to my contraband locker. I couldn’t wait to shred on that axe.