Johnny Downer, a brilliant guitarist and a sweet, gentle guy, died in Mexico the other night with his guitar in his hands.
I got the word yesterday from Pete Cartwright, who set up a gig for Johnny and me in Sebastopol a few years back (one of my favorites of that year). Bandmate Tim Sawyer called tonight and gave me some more details.
He had had some heart issues that he didn’t get help with, preferring to dismiss them as “allergies” etc. In light of my own recent health history, this makes the loss even more painful. I hadn’t seen Johnny in a while – not since Free Peoples played on my show on 10/1/08. If had known he was ignoring his health, I would have sought him out and kicked his ass in the direction of a doctor.
Free Peoples was just about my favorite Northern California band of the last several years.
Here’s “China Doll” from 10/16/05 in Sebastopol, Johnny and me. I wish we had played together more often.
Tags: Johnny Downer