I think I was tranquilized there for at least ten minutes gazing at his bass drum, listening to his playing over the P.A.. We were all listening to a live performance of the last band Rick Cimato ever played in, Thinning The Herd. The recording was made in April 2012 at the Grand Victory in Brooklyn, NY, his last job; and with every bass drum transient I heard coming through the P.A. speakers, I perceived I was hallucinating and could have sworn I was witnessing his bass drum’s head—which was situated directly in front of me—resonate.
Rick was a very talented drummer & friend who died in a horrible car accident the day after Christmas in 2012, on his way home to Brooklyn from Maine. No matter how many times I think that, I always feel that there is something about the death of someone you know, that feeling of denial that they are gone, that will never feel comfortable.
I remember when my friend Michael Vitti passed away in Las Vegas, less than 12 hours after landing for the National Association of Broadcasters conference, when I got word of his death. My immediate reaction? I left him a message on his voice mail. I was in shock and I didn’t know what to say, so the only thing I said was, “Hey Mike…I don’t know what is going on…but I just wanted to call you…cause I heard something about you that you’re…dead or something and I’m not sure what is going on but…call me.”
I mean really what kind of shit is that? What does it mean to call someone who you just heard has passed away not even 24 hours ago, not to mention you heard it from many reliable sources. That feeling, the denial of death, is an amazing and confusing feeling. It’s that moment in time that you cannot fathom someone no longer exists. You know what I mean, it’s that feeling that makes you say, “What? I just saw that person [Yesterday/last week/an hour ago].”
I can’t take credit for saying that I’ve known Rick for some crazy length of time. I only knew the guy for the five hour duration that I worked at Grand Victory where I was Deejaying. I met Rick at 10:50 p.m. that night; and after a great night of “spinning” heavy metal music, I gave Rick a handshake, and a good tip for taking care of me all night long with beers. While I was packing up my equipment around closing time, we continued chatting about music and drumming. When I was done I gave Rick one last handshake and told him I’d connect with him on Facebook. I never got around to that. In that, roughly, five hours and ten minutes I felt like I knew that soul for 14 years! You don’t meet many people like that in life; and more often than not, it feels like those kind of people are the ones that go first. Which is just a shame.
I was the last person to share my thoughts about Rick at his memorial; and like I said, I didn’t know him long at all. Someone came on before me to speak and made a comment, “all it took was ONE TIME to meet Rick.” I felt that was my cue. Something in my soul said, “speak.” So I did. I said, “How many of you met Rick one time? And how many of you that met him that one time immediately felt his warmth and awesome presence and thought to yourself, ‘this guy is gonna be my friend for life.’ Now I know Rick is not here anymore but that feeling, that classic Rick feeling he gave you all, it is in each & every one of us. If we take that feeling and give it to someone else…that’s where Rick is.”
I didn’t give my name. That was all I said. That was all that needed to be said.
Thanks Rick, and may you forever double bass the heavens. Rest in peace.