As Dave does so well, he pens the lyrics to a love song… but one gone very, very wrong. Its not that he’s unique in this ability, yet for some reason he nails the sentiment even when I have little frame of reference for the actions contained within the lyrics. The track Grace is Gone, probably my favorite of one of the best albums the band never produced, shows this so very well:
Excuse me please one more drink
Could make it strong cause I don’t need to think
She broke my heart my Grace is gone
One more drink and I’ll move on
One more drink and I’ll be gone
When I first heard these lyrics in 2001, I had only partaken of alcohol a very few number of times and never to excess. I didn’t understand exactly what it was to sit and ponder how things had gone so horribly wrong while watching a glass of alcohol slowly empty itself down your own throat, yet I still understood that feeling of pain and loss which Dave was so eloquently relating to the listeners.

Yet, while this is obviously a love song between the person singing and the person who has moved on, it was only after many listenings that I realized you can, with some liberal interpretations, hear this as a brotherly love as well. Once again, life turns back to my musical muse, Curtis.

While I was sad when Everyday was released that Curtis would not hear that album, once I heard the tracks, I thought to myself, well, at least he’s missing something only good. Soon after when this unreleased album leaked, that’s when the sadness really hit. It took me back to those 6 months after Curtis’ death, just a short two years prior, and the darkness of those times. I wouldn’t call it full on depression that had ruled me for those 6 months, but it was without a doubt the closest to that I’ve ever come to during my life and for a few weeks after I snagged a copy of this bootleg, those feelings came rushing back.

Yet, things don’t end there. To quote one of my favorite bands of the early 90s, the inestimable Spin Doctors:
If time heals all wounds, don’t you know that
Time also deals them.
And to an extent, time has healed the wounds it had also dealt. Eventually, I realized that I could see Curtis looking at me grieving, roll his eyes, slap me gently aside the head and mutter, “Schmuck.” And he was right. Here I was, still living, yet not living because I found myself unable to think of him in any way but grief; locked into that one emotion when his existence had been lived with so much vitality. It was then, that the lyrics of a later song on this album, Bartender, came along:
If I go before I’m old
Oh brother of mine please don’t forget me if I go
Bartender please, fill my glass for me
With the wine you gave Jesus that set him free, after three days in the ground
I needed to be set free of the ghosts that haunted my own mind; to remember Curtis as he was and not the pale shadow of which he had become. I couldn’t forget him, nor would I ever want to, but nor would he want me to remember him in the manner I had chosen, even if the choice had been made unconsciously in an attempt to never forget what a friend he had been to me.

So now, I raise my glass to my friend. Once more, my Grace is Gone:
One more drink and I’ll move on
One more drink and I’ll be gone
One more drink my grace is gone