(photo: Robert Morrow)
It is with a bound and aching heart that I announce the passing of my dear friend Christopher Lloyd Darrow on January 15, 2020. He stood for me, as he did with many, as a treasured friend, mentor, brother-figure, father-figure, and professorial inspiration as to the inner workings of the artistic lifestyle. He had one of the most original voice stylings I’ve ever witnessed, tone somehow filtered through the jowls. “King of the jowl singers” I like to say. That originality spread over into everything he touched, be it slide guitar, fiddle, photography, or a self-realized philosophy. It was all one thing to him.
(With son Steven Darrow, also a brilliant musician in heavy metal history and a chip off the old zither, as I like to say.)
We first met in 1973 when I was hired to open for him on a television recording for KVCR, a public broadcasting network that was filmed at Valley College in San Bernardino. I was green behind the ears and played an entire set of truck driving songs on my Gibson Hummingbird in a feed store straw cowboy hat. On the way out he handed me his self-titled LP on the United Artist label, which is now referred to as, “the gray album”. That album had changed my life forever, but I didn’t know what to do about it. A few years later as fate would have it, I started a nomadic concert venue in my hometown of Fontana called, The Starvation Café (1982-1997), and the first thing I thought of was my new-found hero, Chris Darrow. Through our work together there we became good friends and he invited me into the fold, introducing me to all the people that would later shape my sonic life into what it is today. People like, Ben Harper, John York, David Lindley, Frizz Fuller, and Kim Fowley. On a note of synchronicity, I just noticed that both Chris and Kim Fowley both passed on the very same day of January 15 at the age of 75.
Chris has left us a prolific body of work to be reckoned with, savored, and for me personally, enough fond memories to last the rest of my time on earth. The difficulty now for us will be in our chore in taking the world apart piece by piece and putting it back together without our dear friend in it, but that is what we must sadly do to evolve for him. He will always be alive and vibrant in our minds, and I will find comfort there. Rest in peace my surf priest.
For further career background see a blog entry I posted a few years back:
At one point I stumbled across this painting of King Phillip IV of Spain wherein it became obvious to me that Chris was definitely the reincarnation of him.
Below is proof that they’ll obviously sell photoshop to anyone to be semi-profound with.