"Juke chose peace. The only loss here is that the world got quieter for the rest of us."
John "Juke" Logan...whatta guy.
Last week, he traded in the Coupe de Ville he got from his mother for the kind only sold beyond the pearly gates in the neighbourhood where musicians go.
I had seen Juke on and off around the Joshua Tree music scene for years. Had even had a few casual conversations with the guy. We knew who the other was, but that was about it.
I did know he was one helluva harmonica player and had a smile that daddies didn't trust.
Beyond that...I didn't know all that much.
Then Juke started seeing one of my best friends, Deb...aka "Chief".
At first, it was a tumultuous relationship. Two very strong-willed, creative, and needy (because let's face it...if you're at all creative, you're needy) people who weren't accustomed to compromise. It wasn't done deliberately by either one, but toes got stepped on, feelings got hurt, and hangovers ensued.
And when there was a clean-up on Aisle Juke, I got called to mop it up.
One night, I happened to be at the JT Saloon waiting outside for a friend to show up as my guest for a motorcycle-themed video game release party when Juke showed up. He and Deb had just gone through a rough patch, and I had had it up past here. And I called him on it. In detail. It didn't get nasty. Didn't get personal. God love him, but it was a revelation to him. And he was a gentleman about the whole thing.
And a friendship was born out of our mutual love for Deb.
After that, a casual nod and "Hello" before moving on didn't suffice when we'd run into each other. It was not uncommon to find the two of us sitting down and shooting the shit over lunch at the JT Saloon (let's face it...they have some of the best burgers EVER) or jawing away at some social event in the area.
When I was weighing whether to work in the industry as a manager, he gave me some free advice that had come to him hard earned. I may not have stayed in the industry for long, but that advice is still there. And still valued.
I remember running into him not long after Twist-O-Lettz came out. We ended up sitting down and shooting the shit for about an hour at the Saloon about it. He was so pumped up about it. I'd seen him worked up before, especially on nights when he was playing...but this was a whole different level. He kept comparing it to his other albums until I finally had to confess I had no opinion on the matter as the only material of his I knew was what I had heard coming off stage. He leapt out of his seat and stormed out of the saloon, leaving me to think I had wounded yet another musician and his fragile ego.
I love Juke.
He came storming back in, brandishing his entire discography like a weapon.
And I can tell you now, with absolute certainty...he had every reason to be so amped.
Juke may have been born LA...but he was Joshua Tree in his soul. When I think fondly of the desert (not that sugary crap thinking, but the good stuff without the bad), Juke is part and parcel of what I love. He wore his heart on his sleeve (that sleeve was on the arm he'd use to deck you with if necessary), he shot straight, he was a simple man who just looked complicated. He was good, bad, and real.
He was my friend.
And while I miss him, I have him on stereo standby to hold me over until it's my time to move into his new neighbourhood.
And Juke...thanks for believing that I'm cool people. You weren't too shabby yourself.