Dave Rankin 1970-2002
6gig's Drummer Passes Away

I just heard about Dave Rankin.

I’m sure most of you reading this didn’t know Dave Rankin. Hell, I didn’t know Dave very well. I talked to him roughly a dozen times, and I interviewed him once for Face Magazine, but that was about it. Dave was the drummer for 6gig, one of the best bands in New England, and he made two records with them: the justifiably lauded Tincan Experiment and the reportedly superior Mind Over Mind, which comes out next month. He was a fixture of the Portland music scene, and a well-respected musician and human being.

According to his obituary, Dave died suddenly at his home on Monday. He was only 31.

As I said, I didn’t know Dave very well, but he made enough of an impression on me that I remember him fondly and vividly. Here are some things I remember about him:

He was as nice and welcoming a guy as you’d ever like to meet. He was a funny, funny man, one of those people who could read the phone book out loud and make it endlessly entertaining. Dave had one of those incredibly expressive faces that added a whole new level of wit to whatever he was saying.

And he was one hell of a drummer. Just monstrous. Log onto www.mp3.com/6gig and listen to “Hit the Ground” (which also appears on the soundtrack to National Lampoon’s Van Wilder) to see what I mean. 6gig’s sound tends towards the melodic side of the heavy music spectrum, which is a good thing, but Rankin’s drumming anchored them with a muscular and propulsive bedrock. He kept the rest of the band grounded so that they could soar fearlessly.

As I get older, I find reminders of my own mortality swarming about me every day, and this was another. I have a difficult time thinking of 16 as middle-aged, but every time someone approximately my age passes, I can’t help but wonder about how most of us watch our days go by, sure that there will be another and another. We should figure out how to make them all count, because 31 is just too young to run out of them.

Dave’s family has requested that any donations in his name be made to the Camden Rockport Animal Rescue League, at P.O. Box 707, Rockport, ME, 04856.

To find out more about Dave’s band, log onto www.6gig.com.

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This is my 75th column, and I was going to celebrate it here, but I just don’t feel like dancing, even metaphorically, right now. This column was also supposed to contain a review of Eminem’s latest, but including that now seems tasteless. Next week, then. For now, take that extra time you were going to spend reading a thousand of my words, and go outside for a few minutes, breathe the air, and then call someone close to you and tell them you love them.

Life’s too goddamn short.

See you in line Tuesday morning.