I made it to the concert memorializing the life of Adam Carter at The Bone last night, but other obligations kept me from making the earlier event held at La Grange, where friends and family gathered to share stories, listen to recorded songs, and watch video montages of the 27-year-old musician and sound engineer's life.
Fortunately, Friend of DC9 Bill Holston, human-rights lawyer and contributor to National Public Radio, was available to attend the event.
After the jump, he kindly shares with us his recap of the event from his unique perspective -- both as someone who has presided over funeral services in the past and as the father of another musician, Fred Holston, who'd played with Carter in The Felons.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I'm sure this wasn't an easy event to cover, so many thanks to Bill for passing his word along.
Once more: We'll miss you, Adam.
The community gathered to celebrate the life of Adam Carter last night. Adam was in a band with my son Fred, so I knew Adam well.
Most tellingly, every time I ever ran into him, he hugged me. Lots of people mentioned that during the course of the evening. The place was completely packed and the crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk.
Adam was the bass player in Spector 45, along with Frankie Campagna and Anthony Delabano. I attended the memorial for Frankie at Club Dada, just two months ago. People that loved Frankie have of course not really recovered from the shock of his death. So, the news that Adam had taken his own life, well, that was really a stunning blow for a community of musicians, artists club owners and their friends.
During the course of the evening there was a loop of video of photos of Adam in the numerous bands that he had played in: Somebody's Darling, the Felons, the Marfalites and Spector 45.
It was hard to go to a musical event and not see Adam Carter. Adam was an outstandingly gifted bassist and songwriter. The family also showed a video montage of family photos illustrating what a loving and supportive family Adam had.
I've sadly attended a fair number of funerals, and conducted several services. It's always difficult to navigate death. Particularly if the death is a young person; and even more so with a suicide. People are not sure exactly what to say. I've been to services which never mentioned the elephant in the room, that the deceased person took their own life.
I can honestly say this one of the most touching, honest, community-building services I've ever seen. People shared very touching stories about Adam from the stage. There were some common themes in these remarks. Everyone who spoke mentioned Adam's sense of humor, his kindness to others, his zeal for life, his loyal friendship and his "beautiful bone structure." Many mentioned his intelligence and his crazy talent. He was a very talented young man.
Perhaps most touching were the remarks of Frank Campagna, father of Frankie Campagna, and Anthony Delabano. Frank is the elder statesmen of Deep Ellum. As the owner of Kettle Gallery, he's provided a spot for many up and coming artists. He and his daughter Amber are much beloved in this community of creative people. Frank did an outstanding job of calling the group gathered there to commit to be there for each other, to "have each other's backs." He described the heart of creative people, and how they live life with deep emotion, and how musical instruments are really just extensions of their self. He told the crowd that real men tough it out in life, they get up and go on living despite setbacks. He said that he understood why Frankie and Adam could choose to end their life. He said, quite candidly, that these young men lacked the maturity to deal with the blows that life dealt. He addressed Adam's parents and commended them for raising such a fine young man. He did not shrink from the truth of how these young men died, and honored them for the quality of their loving natures.
Frank chastised anyone spreading rumors or glorifying suicide: He said, "I don't want to do this again." He showed the weary grief that must still be pounding away at his heart, but used the occasion to exhort community, love, accountability and loyalty.
If there were dry eyes in the house, well, I can't understand that. We're lucky to have a guy like that in our midst.
Frankie and Adam's former bandmate and friend Anthony gave what must have been an extremely emotional and difficult eulogy. I was particularly moved by the courage he showed in getting up there and telling it like it is. He reminded everyone that suicide was not heroic and that Adam had found a permanent solution to a temporary problem. He told a very touching story about how he had been trying to figure out how to go to his grandfather's funeral. He said Adam said, "Fuck it, I'll drive you." He and Frankie and Anthony drove to the funeral and had some adventures on the way. I loved the story because it summarized Adam so well. He was funny, irreverent and generous to a fault. Anthony did his buddy Adam proud. Good words, man.
The room was filled with musicians, photographers and artists, all continuing to mourn and trying to move on, to make sense out of the senseless, and seeking to find something to redeem this tragedy.
Reverend Tom provided some spiritual solace. He told us when he got the news he wasn't sure whether to be sad or really pissed off. He told us that God was sad at this tragedy, and that God loved Adam.
The evening ended with lit candles and a few remarks from Adam's dad Steve. He thanked people for being there, and acknowledged that Adam had just not been able to cope with the last round of blows from life. It was a poignant and very touching tribute to his son.
The room emptied and headed to a memorial concert at the Bone. Many friends and colleagues of Adam played:
8:00 - Bluntforce Crew
8:30 - Jesse Podunk
9:00 - Jason Michael of Jones band
9:15 - Dave Hickmott of the Felons
9:30 - Monco Poncho
10:15 - Ten Can Riot
11:00 - Scary Cherry & the Bang Bangs
11:45 - Mo Brown
12:00 - The Marfalites
12:45 - Jes Spires/Justin Kipker
1:00 - Rodeo Clown Dropout
Adam was 27.