I met my friend Lesley Poirier in San Francisco back in the days when, in the immortal words of Fred Armisen, “people were getting tribal tattoos… sleeping until 11… working a couple of hours in a café….”
You know – the 90’s.
Lesley and I were both looking for new roommates, and together with our friend Bozho, we lived together in GenX bliss, sort of. I mean weren’t we all kind of miserable in those days? Hold up though – now that I think about it, none of my circle of friends back then were getting tattooed (much), and we did have (shitty) jobs. Let’s rethink this, Mr. Armisen….
And furthermore, I recall that Lesley, for one, definitely did not slack. She was set on rock stardom, and I overheard her more than once righteously lament that if she and her two female band mates (Cha Levias and Mauri Skinfill) who comprised the awesomeness that was Glitter Mini 9 were just a hair younger, more doors would open. They came so close to “signing” so many times, but the pinhead suits couldn’t see the long game. Yet those three almost-thirty-somethings rocked – hard! Do yourself a favor. Visit Rodney Koenecke’s (Lesley’s husband’s) blog, http://www.modampo.blogspot.com/, and check out the tunes!
Over the years, my rock star roommate and friend became more like the big sister I never had. We had times when we hung out constantly, and times when our lives took us in different directions. But for those friends that are more like family, it never matters how many months pass since your last heart to heart. And when she married, my family grew bigger. And when she gave birth to her son, my family grew bigger still. If Lesley needed help, nothing took precedence over that for me – not because I’m some hero, but because Lesley modeled that attitude, and I always tried to live up to it. We exchanged our last words in this life as she lay in bed, her body decimated by the cancer, and it felt more like she was comforting me. She was physically destroyed, but her spirit forged ahead.
One of my proudest achievements is writing a song for Lesley called “I Won’t Know”. It felt so perfectly fitting that Bozho, who brought us together in the first place and for whom Lesley had also become like family, produced and recorded the track in his studio, PST Studios. We knew we would have to say goodbye to Lesley in just a few short weeks, and we got the song to her just in time. The cancer pulled her away so ruthlessly….
That was almost four years ago – feels like yesterday. This is my first public appreciation of my friend Lesley – although if you attended my record release a few weeks ago, you heard me say “This one’s for Lesley” before we performed “I Won’t Know”. I wanted to say more, to follow up with a story about what a force of nature Lesley was, but after those first words came out I couldn’t say anymore for a moment, and in my head I could hear Lesley saying just sing the song already. I don’t recall her ever getting sappy about rock and roll – I think she hated all that sensitive ballad stuff. Like I said, check her work out for your self. She kicked ass. She wrote brawny lyrics and melodies. Her bass was a bazooka (poor you if you got in the way), and her voice threatened to crack up at any moment and take you with it.
I miss you, Lesley. And we remember you.