My best friend, Stephen Huss, died last weekend. He was my age, only 47. The electronic music aware of you might recognize his name from the rock band Psyche. Now that he is gone I find it a bit comforting that he had success early in life. Psyche was signed to a label when he was still in high school.
I knew him for the last 15 years, but especially in the last 10 we became best friends. We occasionally would disagree with each other, but in the entire time I’ve known him, I don’t think he has insulted me once.
Of course we got along. We both play guitar and keyboards (He was a keyboardist with Psyche). We both like the idea of writing. I have my blog and science fiction. He would write horror and he also thought about writing a biography of Dwayne Goettel who was a fellow member of Psyche and later joined Skinny Puppy but died in 1995. And we both liked cats. He had this shelf thing in his apartment that held twenty unique figurines of various cats, collected from hither and yon. I just did a search on this blog for cats and found I have written about them 14 times.
For a time we said we were a band called The Mysterious They. Right from the start we said there would be no live shows. We both liked song writing. My song writing abilities had dwindled from years before when I could write the base of a song in a couple weeks. Stephen was way faster than I was in my prime. We’d meet every week and I’d find he had the basis of two new songs, just waiting to be fleshed out between meetings. And I think he was still writing solo stuff on his keyboard at the same time. The Mysterious They fell by the wayside, though, when Stephen decided not to do it anymore. He was worried about fame. He already had tasted that in Psyche and knew that was what he didn’t want. I don’t know that we would ever have gotten fame though – the only successful act I know that never did live shows was The Alan Parsons Project.
We’ve critiqued each others writing. I felt uncomfortable reading some of his horror. I’m not a big horror reader so perhaps that uneasiness was success on Stephen’s part. But besides this reaction I’m largely oblivious (in horror!) and can’t point out problems or successes. So we stopped critiquing but would tell each other about our progress in writing. Stephen had a computer but preferred to write by hand in notebooks. I thought it would be a pain to retype the story. But Stephen said no, he would just hire someone to type it up for him. Just a couple weeks ago he said he had a short story idea already written in his head. Now no one will ever see that story.
But I already miss him most in the day to day things. This weekend is the Blues Festival in Kitchener. When we went in past years, Stephen would always know what most of the bands were famous for. I only started seriously listening to music when I was 12 or 13. Stephen seemed to know about bands from as far back as his memory goes. And he’d even know older acts from hearing them on classic rock stations. I’m going to miss that almost encyclopedic knowledge when I go this year. There are multiple venues so we used all that knowledge to decide which acts to go listen to.
Goodbye, Stephen, you will be missed.