There’s a light-hearted saying that “Getting old sucks but it’s better than than alternative”. But it really sucks when it hit close to home like it did last week when I lost one of my true friends, Joel Oberstein…my rock and roll friend.
We met as adults but I met him like I used to meet potential friends in school, because he wore a shirt of a band I liked. In this case it was at the park at our daughters’ 6 year old soccer game and he was wearing a Wilco shirt. Needless to say, it was love at first sight. Like me, he grew up in the San Fernando Valley, loved the Dodgers, loved rock music and continued to be passionate and frustrated by both throughout our adult lives and well past the point of our wives and children understanding.
Joel started his career at Tempo Music (I stepped into his store many times as a college student) and built his career around his love of rock music. It’s really hard to find a friend that still enjoys going to music shows on a constant basis but Joel had that passion. This year we got to see our heroes The Who and Robert Plant. Joel wrote me about seeing The Who perform one of his favorite albums of all time “Quadrophenia”
“The show was fantastic! Roger’s vocals exceeded my expectations, and the production value was awesome….the tributes were excellent. I’ve seen them a few times and this may have been my favorite show.”
Looking over old messages from Joel and I realized that we were each others +1 (right after our loving wives of course). We invited each other to so many shows it’s kind of crazy. I was at the Flaming Lips, Tame Impala and White Denim show last week and I kept thinking about how Joel should be here.
Joel suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for many years and it was never really discussed between us but I knew he couldn’t go to standing room only shows. To his huge disappointment, he had to miss out on the Arctic Monkeys this September. Still, even though you know your friend is going through treatment for MS you never expect to receive the horrifying message that your friend is gone.
He was a very fortunate man in that he lived with a beautiful wife of 16 years and got to witness his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah this year but it still stings knowing he’s gone way,way too soon. I raise a glass of the finest IPA beer in your honor my good, good friend.