Monday, June 4, 2007

Unexpected News

It wasn't strange that a message from Ra Ra Riot was waiting in my Facebook Inbox when I logged in last night after a long day of work. The Syracuse University-born indie dance band always made it a point to let their fans know when and where they were playing.

Their alerts had become more frequent within the past few months because they hit the road for a tour. (they'll be in DC in August!)

Unfortunately, the message had little to do with upcoming shows.

Friday they played a house party Friday night in Fairhaven, Mass. According to their Facebook message their drummer John Pike "went missing at 3:00 a.m. ... last seen wearing a yellow Dissarano t-shirt and Levi jeans".

When anyone goes missing, I always think the worst. My mind calculates "missing" with murder and abduction. I mean this is a grown man, at a party with friends, what would steer him away?

About 30 minutes after I finished checking Facebook, I received an email from the Daily Orange.

"BREAKING NEWS: Ra Ra Riot drummer found dead"

I felt sick. I had never met Pike, but I had absolutely adored his band since Freshman year. I went to all of their shows. Their shows created this amazing energy in whatever space they played, and you couldn't help but be taken under its spell. Side effects were the inability to stop dancing, or toe-tapping for the less outgoing.

I had tickets to go with one of my best friends Sam to their most recent show at the end of the school year at Funk n Waffles in Syracuse. But I was ill with a virus. Sam's frat was having a party and he was going to go early to his house. I wanted nothing more than to go back to my dorm room and sleep.

And I did just that.

The next day I heard that Ra Ra "brought down the house". I wasn't surprised. Their shows were always packed-house dance-like-you-mean-it singalongs. Some of my favorite memories in college to date stem from them.

I'm horribly sorry for Ra Ra Riot's, Pike's family and his friends' loss.

He will be missed.

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