The first time I met Soupy was at Joe D.'s crash pad/rehearsal space. This would've been around '96. I was very excited because I had just gotten married. I was 26. And I was very high on drugs. I was looking for Gluehead, and I was talking very fast, and dropping in several references to the fact that I'd just gotten married, because I thought that was very cool, and I was proud that I had a wife, however stupid that may sound now.
This guy in flannel is sitting on the ratty couch, and he hasn't been saying much, but by the fifteenth time I mention my wife, he looks over and says, "Oh, and I'm sure you make a terrific husband."
I liked him right away.
Turned out Soupy played bass, and we played together many times. I think we did. Yeah, I am pretty sure we did. Better than the music, however, was the ease with which I could talk to Soupy. There are very few people you meet in this life where you instantly feel at home, some sort of almost familial connection. There's Matt. I know there must be someone else. But not too many. I've mentioned on here before how one of the greatest misconceptions about drug use is that the friends you make when you are using aren't your real friends. While it's true many of your using buddies will be lying, thieving cocksuckers who try to steal your DAT, my best friends today are all people I knew from my darkest days. It helps that everyone got sober around the same time, because I don't know if I'd be saying the same thing if I was always having to loan out $20.
Soupy left SF some time around the turn of the century, like Tom Pitts and so many others, including me. I ended up finding him where you find all those who once were lost but now are found: The Facebook. This was like two years ago. It was funny because after having not seen the Soupy in almost ten years, it just so happened Justine and I were heading out to the ranch, which is about 20 minutes from where he lives now. It took a while to convince him that I wasn't on a mission from Gluehead to shank him. We met in some log cabin, and we picked up right where we left off, zipping and zapping, like a day hadn't gone by. I've had (comic) routines with many friends, before and since Soupy, but I have to say our act is probably the most organic.
After the wedding this past Saturday, Justine, Holden and I met Soupy for lunch in town. For all those in SF who wonder what he is up to now. He's pretty...sturdy. And he wears a lot of flannel. He is definitely not going through a mid-life crisis. Soupy lives at the end of a long, dirt road, drives a large truck, and raises alpacas (probably). That's a picture of us at the top of this post. Through it all, he somehow has retained his sharp, keen wit, and hanging out with him is as effortless and enjoyable as it always was. Even if he tricked me into pissing in the urinal with the big newspaper cutout about the Yankees' losing to Detroit.
And I know I can get pretty sentimental about this stuff. But I don't make many new friends. I have a few, but the truth is, unless I met you before 1996, we're probably not all that close. It gets harder to make friends as you get older, which is why I tend to cling so hard onto the ones I already have. It's important to me that people from those dark days see me now, see what I can do. Because no matter how bad it got, I always believed I was someone better. And I want to give these people who stuck by my side this better version of me.