Monthly Archives: August 2014

Remembering Robin

Earlier this week Robin Williams passed away. We shouldn’t dwell on the how. Or the why. But what we should as those who remain is dwell on what Robin meant to us. 

Sure the man took his own life. Sure he was suffering from depression. And sure he was suffering the onset of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease. But these aren’t the facts that I choose to remember when it comes to the entertainer that Robin was. 

I was not the biggest fan of Robin Williams but I remember the first time I ever saw one of his films. I was a starry eyed six year old who was eager to see the latest animated film from Disney. Yup. It was Aladdin. Williams’ Genie was the star in my eyes. I was laughing from the moment he popped up on screen. I vaguely remember my birthday that year being Aladdin themed and there being a Genie figure on top of my birthday cake.

Williams was a once in a generation talent that not only made you laugh, but he could make you cry and question life itself in one single scene. And that is what we should be taking from the heartbreaking news that we got this week.

They say that the funniest of us are the ones who are the most at risk. That the ones who make us laugh are the ones who are tormented on the inside. There are so many examples. Andy Kauffman, Chris Farley, John Belushi. All of them turned to drugs and other escapes from their pains. Yes Robin was not flawless, he was in and out of rehab but he was trying. But his private life was none of our business. It isn’t. 

The cause of death is not what matters, and that is the point I am trying to make. Robin was as I had previously mentioned a once in a lifetime talent. How many actors or actresses can you say entertained you in the same way they entertained your parents, and at the same time?

My version of Robin will always be the family friendly comedic Robin. Aladdin was sort of a gateway drug into his realm of films. Mrs. Doubtfire was tremendously funny and a role only Robin could pull off. Sure his character was a dead beat but he truly loved his kids and you see what he did to see them, how he had phenomenal chemistry with them on screen. There was also the Speilberg engine Hook in which took a new take on Peter Pan and Williams excelled with Dustin Hoffman as the titular character. 

But when Robin became the serious actor, look out. The drama films he did blew my mind with his excellence. They say that the best comedians excel in drama and Williams dominated. From playing the creepy photo guy in One Hour Photo to playing the villain in Christopher Nolan’s Memento Williams hit them spot on with his enthusiastic way.

Whether or not you were a fan is not that point but I plan on binge watching the classics, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Jumanji to name just a few, because as I have stated, he is a once in a generation talent that everyone will only appreciate now that he is gone.

May you rest in peace Robin.

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Chris Walla Leaves Death Cab For Cutie

Guitarist Chris Walla has announced the other day that he is leaving the only full time band that he has ever known. After seventeen years and soon to be eight full length LPs the guitarist is heading into the great unknown musically. Walla has released a solo record several years ago, the impressive Field Manuel and has done production work as well in the past for more than just Death Cab. 

“Short version: I’m leaving Death Cab for Cutie,” Walla wrote in a letter to a Seattle based blog The Stranger. “Longer version: I think I long for the unknown. It might be that simple.” Walla will leave after the band’s upcoming performances in September.

“I will miss being a quarter of this band, and will support whatever course Death Cab for Cutie chooses from here,” he wrote. “I am profoundly grateful to Ben, Nick, and Jason, for the experiences that define my adult life. Truly grateful, beyond words. Thank you.”

The band recently wrapped up the recording on their 8th studio record, which is slated for an early 2015 release. 

Honestly a lot of members leave bands and they stay in tact. As for how DCFC will handle the departure of one of it’s more important members it is hard to say. Surely Ben Gibbard and crew will be all right in the end and they will regroup and make the best record of their career. While Walla continues to pursue future opportunities I personally wish him the best of luck. 

Here’s the band playing live at the Greek Theater in Berkley back in 2009. Wow.