It's Been A Decade...

I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old. There was always a passion for music burning inside me, but once I picked up a guitar, I realized that I had more than a passion for the music that others created. Because of that 1991 Ibanez Silver Cadet, I had a passion inside myself to create music.

That guitar was something I purchased from a guy named Mark Swanner, a classmate that was in the local band Zero Signal. The members of the band were all people I would become good friends with: Mark, John Taylor, Bobby Fajardo, and the lead singer Dan Rowan. At the time, however, I didn't see them as friends. I didn't know them that well. They were an inspiration. The music they created was something that melted the styles of nu metal with the classic metal feel we all knew for something incredibly unique. Dan's lyrics weren't the same as everyone else's teen angsty bullshit. They were words that touched and inspired so many of us. The first time that John showed up to one of our parties, I was speechless. Here was the bass player for the band that I listened to all the time. It was like meeting a rock star...and then I learned that they were just regular doods like the rest of us.

My band played the senior talent show. We were nervous as Hell because we knew that Dan's old band, Torque, was playing as well. When my band took the stage, we were floundering...hard. Dan, John, and his crew are what saved it. Afterwards, despite floundering, Dan was the first guy to say "I like that song, guys...keep it up, and fuck all those people out there...what do they know?"

When Dan died ten years ago, it wasn't just something that took everyone back a notch, making us say "what?". I was sitting out in the laundry room with my friends playing darts and hanging out. Casey showed up at the house, tears in her eyes like she had been crying forever. She told us Dan was dead. We couldn't believe it. The local radio station, which did a local band showcase every night from 10:00pm to 11:00pm played an hour of Locus (the name they picked after they decided to stop copping off Fear Factory's song name).

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There are a few signs that someone influenced and inspired so many people. Dan's funeral was attended by over 600 people. You read that right: 600 people...for someone who wasn't "famous", someone who wasn't more than a regular guy that wanted to strap on a guitar and rock the fuck out, hang out with his friends, and dedicate some time to his notchback Mustang. Numerous people - more than I can count on six hands at least - have dedicated a portion of their body to having either some of his artwork (or their own memorials) inked on their body. I am included in that group of people, and it's a reminder to me everyday. Life is far too short. Don't take a moment for granted. Be good to others and show respect unless someone proves they don't deserve it. Don't let authority tell you something is impossible. Push yourself to do things that you wouldn't try otherwise. These are all things that Dan showed and taught me.In short, Dan was more than just some guy in the neighborhood, a student, or the lead singer of an influential local band. He was an idol for me, a friend to many, and someone that we still miss everyday.

Today is not a day of mourning, but a day of rememberance. I couldn't find my copy of Spill, the only CD that I ever had which Locus put out.

When I finally finished driving to work, I sat in my car and cried for a solid two minutes easily before I composed myself to continue the rest of the day.

This is how I remember Dan.

We miss you, Dan. I miss you.

We wish you could be here.

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