My Father’s Final Playlist

Today is October 10th, 2012 which marks the 4 month anniversary of the day we laid my father to rest after being involved in a tragic motorcycle accident while leaving my neighborhood. To summarize the last 4 months, I can only say that time, memories and emotions have basically all blurred into one surreal adventure where it is hard to decipher between what should affect me and what shouldn’t. In addition to my attempts of coming to terms with what happened on June 9th, 2012 – there have been countless other interesting and emotional events that have prevented me from fully dealing with the loss of my father. Colorado nearly burned to death, Aurora was tragically shot up, Dixie took rest, uncle RT (my dads brother) passed exactly a month ago and now I’ve been forced to nearly give up on one of my most meaningful and important relationships. Everything aside – there have been a lot of positives that have also occurred through business ventures, travel, family communication and finding an all to real *real*ness in this world… but it is hard to focus attention on these without fully dealing with this sub-par hand of cards that has been dealt through the summer of 2012.

In two days we will head to court for the criminal case against the 27 year old driver who illegally, and unknowingly pulled directly in front of my father after our heartfelt time we spent together. He has since pleaded guilty to his charges and we only await a sentencing hearing… where we will get a chance to meet the man responsible for this accident. It is hard to say how my family and I will respond to this long awaited meeting, I’m sure there will be some existence of anger and hate, but I personally know that all of the anger is going to have to be overcome to fully heal from this loss.

All I can do is remember the amazing person my father was and how incredible the time was we were literally *just* able to spend together. At my fathers service, I presented the final moments we spent together into a playlist – my father’s final playlist. I will eventually release the video of my speech to everyone, but today I release to you these final moments through memories, movies, songs and writing. Within these final moments I was able to build him a playlist he would be proud of. Everything seemed to happen naturally… and with little effort. If I had known this would have been the final hour I would ever get to spend with my father… I still don’t think I would have changed a thing.

My Father’s Final Playlist

It was a calm and sunny Saturday summer morning when my father pulled up into my driveway on his brand new to him Yamaha Venture. It was a big bike, cherry red and gorgeous… and I could immediately tell from the smile on his face that he was happy. He wanted to show me this bike and I took the time to look at it. We played with gadgets, disc changers and radio stations. I was super surprised that a guy like my dad hadn’t yet taken the time to figure out his own stereo so he could at least listen to music while he cruised. I figured it out for him… taught him… balanced his speakers… and programmed some radio stations. We spent at least 20 minutes in the hot colorado sun mesmerizing over his added extras and light bar additions to the bike. This bike was reflective… my dad was glowing. We eventually rolled inside and as we were looking at a random appliance problems in my kitchen … he simply asked me – “what happened to your microwave?” To which I answered… “oh, you didn’t see that video? – come here”

So I pulled him to my upstairs computer… and I showed him this.

Track 1 – Video – Beer Run

After watching … and laughing at this video peace – I previously had another open video just sitting there on my computer. Also revolving beer.

Track 2 – Video – St. Patty’s Day

My Dad chuckled at the Guinness comments… so staying on the Beer theme I asked him “Dad – did you know that we have our own beer?” And I cued this up.

Track 3 – Video – Hydle Ale Release

Post Hydle Ale video, man he laughed at the Hydle Ale Logo… so I asked him if he saw our KOHL’s rock out video? — which is a beautiful peace with all my nephews and his grandchildren.

Track 4 – Video – KOHL’s Party

Now at this point… I command-tabbed over to final cut where a project I was previously working on was open. It was from the Denver Day of Rock show that took place only two weeks prior and I KNEW my dad would be intrigued. He’d never listened to Amanda Capper – So I let him watch… and listen.

Track 5 – Song + Video – Someone Like You

I knew my dad was in kind of a hurry… he had to go somewhere and a quick call from his girlfriend made me leave the room. I never respected or wanted to show any appreciation for his new relations, which he knew, so even though I know he only talked to her for a couple seconds… I still managed to leave the room and go to the garage. What my Dad didn’t know – is I was setting him up for his final 3 songs in a new listening environment.

I listened to him watch a video… and engage in the music you just listened to. Came back upstairs and asked – “did you like that?” To which the reply was an obvious “yes.” So I led him to the garage and started playing this, which I knew he would love even more.

Track 6 – Song – Baby I’m Amazed

It was fun… shooting the shit with him, as he had no idea what the intro to the song was all about or what song was coming up. But as soon as the keyboardist drops into the beginning riff … he belted out “Paul McCartney – Baby I’m Amazed!” and sat on the couch. I knew he would know exactly what song it was – This was fun. I sat on the couch across from him… It’s orange – we call it Bronco… and we listened to music. Loud music – The way he would make me sit and listen when I was a kid.

We get to the part where Amanda Capper starts singing… he sits up and points to his arm, looks up at me and energizes, “You know those hairs on your arm that stand up?? Those goose bumps? — Yah!!” To which I simply reply … “You just got CAPPER’d” and we sit and listen to the rest of the song.

When Baby I’m Amazed finished – he wanted to know when this show was… and why he missed it. I lightly explained that he missed a lot of things. One of them was an unbelievable experience after hours in a Utah bar. So I played this one…

Track 7 – Song – Drift Away

— Emotional Acoustic Version
— Denver Day of Rock Live Version

As I explain the jam session video we shot in Utah singing drift away to a very special BMX crowd revolving around an injured rider – Stephen Murray… I transitioned into the Craig Hospital video I had just completed. I explained about bringing Amanda Capper into the mix and how we accomplished what we did. I commented aggressively about him having not seen the video… since this was something I hold dear to my heart and means a lot to me. But since he didn’t have time to watch the 9 minute masterpiece … I explained enough to him so he would understand where this next song comes from. It was an Amanda Capper original, her own creation from watching the video I created. She was inspired to write a song about life from the perspective of a little girl … only this girl had a name – Briley Alberi, the daughter of one of the most amazing families I had ever met. The Alberi’s were the subject of a Montana creation for the 2012 push dinner video. I told my dad how I had video of Amanda playing the first idea of this next song sitting upstairs in my living room in early February… and that this was the first time she ever played it live. I told him about how it is the ultimate complement when your work inspires the work of others… and this is where his final song on my dads final playlist came from.

Track 8 – Song – Time To Try

We sat listening on my couches… across from one another. Not a word was said. My father loved music, and he loved the music I was playing for him. I knew this… because I could feel it. In the next couple days I would learn more about my dad and his true musical background than I previously knew about anything thing else about him. He was a known unknown in this world of rock and roll music growing up and he has proof of it. I would meet one of his best buds from his growth years… his real fast and free years of growing up without a care. I would learn that although my dad couldn’t or didn’t play an instrument, he would still instruct others how to play. He could belt out guitar riffs with his voice… he could hit the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and although he didn’t complete his pursuit of rock-stardom. His friends did.

We stood up… hugged – said our I love yous… walked out to his bike, listened as he revved his engine one last time, down my street and around the corner. I stared him off into the distance… stood barefoot, shirtless on my driveway – had an unnerving feeling, said a mental goodbye, paused. and walked inside. No more than 30 seconds after this moment, my father was tragically involved in a motorcycle accident he would not wake from. A vehicle would carelessly turn left directly in front of him before leaving my neighborhood… and I would never get to share another hug with this man I called dad.

I’m sorry it had to happen this way dad… and I know you are looking down and saying the same. As I expressed to you on our airport run in October, 2010 – “You really fucked things up here, and it will be interesting to see how you react to this situation.” And it was. But this wasn’t expected by anyone. You should never have had to spend the emotional energy on the feelings you were going through – it makes you “check out from real life.” I also told you this, but you didn’t listen and it sucks you had to go through this alone. Yes – I know enough to look into your emotions more… but I also know enough to let it go and move on. You are back where you belong… loved by your true family, who actually care about you.

Now it’s time for the next chapter. My dad’s latest project was reliving his past and rejuvenating elementary school stories back into the skull of one of his best friends growing up – trust me on this one, this is already one hell of a story. People go their own ways in life… some remember things – and some don’t. My dad remembered everything, which is the perfect match for someone who forgot it all. I’m a storyteller, just like you dad … but I possess some talents you didn’t have, and I’ve been inspired. May you and your brother Craig turn some SOIGDH in the heavens. Turn it up loud, so all those old dudes can hear you party. But keep it quiet enough so you can still chime in on what is happening down here. Doc and Capper might have something to say. True story by me, you mother HAWKer!

Rock on father… I love and miss you,
Young Son

Erica Gilbertson – On My Father Les

He was more than just a friend, my Uncle, a brother to my Father. I knew him as the gentle giant. Greeting me with his mountainous bear embrace and sitting on his lap to be engulfed in his brilliantly described anecdotes from start to finish. It was as if you were apart of the adventure he divulged in.

He put ketchup on his tacos. He wore a mustache better than Tom Selleck, and Ron Swanson. He gave his hand to help the world. He was more than Superman.

Music was his ecstasy, his drug of choice. He could absorb his entire attention into each tone being executed. He was a listener to musical poetry.

He rode a motorcycle and it was his vessel to his chronicles.

“Everybody believes in something. Some people believe in God. I believe in the Angels”.” ~ A Hells Angel.

Les you have always been an Angel. Now you have your wings. May you play fetch with Jackson and embark on an endless highway with the spirits.

I love you.