Friday, November 16, 2007

Memories Of Lance Hahn By Gary Held

Lance Hahn passed away Sunday Oct. 21st, and I have to write about the loss I feel and say goodbye to him. Lance was only 40.

He always was able to channel his love of music, film, literature & "place" into his bands, his label Honeybear, and his writing, and never lose that enthusiasm and good will that drove him. This, in spite of numerous life threatening setbacks and continuous struggles that would have taken a not-as-strong or courageous individual off their path.

Lance's history with myself and Revolver goes back all the way to the beginning of the company as he was the very first employee, and our association continued to the time of his passing.

I met Lance sometime in the summer/fall of 1989 around when the Cringer album was released. He had moved from Honolulu and bee lined straight for the SF Shipley St. warehouse where Mordam, Alternative Tentacles and Blacklist Mailorder were housed. I had just moved from Atlanta, to work at Mordam, and Lance hung out and volunteered at Blacklist.

By December 1989, I had begun doing business as what would evolve to be Revolver USA (we called it Scooby Doo unofficially in those days), and for the first 90 days I was calling stores and boxing up records out of Tom Flynn's Boner Records garage out around Ingleside Heights.

By February 1990, I had moved into a warehouse w/some other friends to be "serious about work". I was already scraping by, but had to borrow money from the now defunct Revolver UK distribution company to have some funds to pay rent, get a few phones and phone lines, and most importantly find somebody to help me do all the tasks involved in being a distributor and record label.

After 90 days of doing everything at every hour of day and night, I was hoping there was somebody who would be willing to come in at 10 am to start the day, allowing me to come in around noon and work through the afternoon & night. Lance was enthusiastic to do just this, assuring me he was the right person, and would be at work every morning to call stores, answer the phone and do whatever. In those days, I still drove, and I recall driving my van through the mission Southeast around noon heading to the warehouse off of Bayshore, and stopping many days to pick up Lance walking to work on Army/Caeaser Chavez. We had a little too much in common in that respect.

Along w/another enthusiastic assistant, Donna Dresch, Lance helped me really begin Revolver until his touring demands forced him to take leave. Lance's Revolver replacement, Bob McDonald, never relinquished his chair, so Lance had to look for a new job when he got back from his tour.

Lance & I maintained our association as J Church started taking off, and Lance (with Mikel) began Honey Bear Records, which Revolver has distributed ever since. Lance also was a tireless community advocate, in terms of networking and helping Bay Area (and any other) bands. Sometime early in '92, Lance mentioned some close friends of his were looking to release an album and thusly looking for a label, and that these guys liked a band I had released on Communion, Bitch Magnet. Would I be interested in funding recording of a new album as I wouldn't be sorry if I did ? Jawbreaker recorded "Bivouac" and I have to say Lance's idea was a sound one. I am grateful that Lance felt I could do right for Jawbreaker (and I'm thankful to Adam, Blake & Chris for believing Lance somehow).

Lance's d.i.y. consciousness meant that both his own band's and label's success were measured differently than in terms of financial success (though Lance would not have minded some fiscal compensation for all his travails).

Lance until this last battle, has had a habit of facing death and returning to face another day, as all who know him can attest. He had already previously survived failing organs, hospitals, & a massive fire which burned down his apartment (forcing him to climb out & down from his 3rd floor window in 2002). When living in SF he had walked into Haight St. Clinic for another matter and they had discovered congestive heart failure, and that he was at immediate risk. Some at the hospital professed amazement he was still alive, saying he had the heart of an 80 year old (then at 32). Lance had to change his diet and Mission greasy spoon eating habits immediately .

I communicated last with Lance in the usual way of this decade, via email, with his last email to me on September 28th . It was very difficult to read at the time as he was so ill, and I of course wish I had done something other than offer a few words of moral support in return. He had already faced calamity & dying more times than anybody I knew personally, so I thought he would make it through this time as well. And of course, so did Lance. He was planning on reissuing the Cringer CDs and that's why he was emailing me, not just to talk about his latest ultra terrifying brush w/mortality. But clearly, his experiences in September were the scariest yet for him.

He spoke of actually dying in the hospital, having gone "Code Blue" after the hospital overdosed him on delaudid. He had gone to the hospital in the first place because of a severe infection to his dialysis port , the dialysis necessary due to his kidneys failing .

After bringing back Lance, they had dosed him w/a drug, that takes away short term memory. He had been dosed so heavily that he had no short term memories for days afterwards. He would awake each of those days very sedated and ill, and not know what had happened previously. He couldn't speak because of a tube down his throat, so he had to write "am I dying?" on a pad to his girlfriend Liberty, and go through that same experience over and over for days.

I know many people are out there missing Lance right now. Lance has definitely left his mark on the many who knew him both personally and through his music and label and writing. Not having seen Lance in person for many years since he has been living in Austin, it's unsettling just how strongly I feel Lance's passing and I am sad to admit that I now will not have the opportunity to let him know just how grateful I am for having known him all these years, and for the friendship, trust and loyalty he has shown towards myself and all of Revolver. I must also mention again the incredible courage Lance has shown in facing his overwhelming physical struggles. It's very important to always remember somebody with such fine qualities and somebody who deserved to live a long fruitful life on battlefield earth.

Good bye Lance, you will be in my thoughts.

Gary Held.

1 comment:

Lillian, Criminal Records said...

Thanks, Gary. This was very sweet.

RIP, Lance. <3.