Well, I’m sitting in Portland, Oregon

©Peter Ellenby

“Well, I’m sitting in Portland, Oregon, right now, after postponing part of our tour. Here to spend time with loved ones and attend memorial services for our beloved friend. Portland is where I first met Elliott, but I really came to know him in L.A. I feel very lucky to have been a part of his life and he a part of mine. He was so warm and generous. I learned so much from him, not just musically, but in life as a whole. He was inspiring, hilarious, hyperintelligent and completely frustrating.

But there was always a lesson to be learned from his positives and negatives. I went over to his house so that he could help me out with a song I was stuck on.

I needed some chord changes and some help with a melody (so why not ask the best, right?). We sit down at the piano together, go through the tune a couple of times, and began to work on some chords and different melodies. He comes up with 10 different versions almost immediately. I asked him to show me again. And again. I was trying to keep up. He’s a far better piano player than I. Finally he gets frustrated and says, “You know, Aaron, maybe you should go home and work on this some more.” I left. I was pissed off. I was pissed at him for not having patience, and I was pissed at myself for not being able to hang. I picked up a six-pack and drove straight to the studio, where I sat at that piano determined to finish the tune. It was great, not only did I finish it, but I used his ideas, embellished upon them and made them my own. The song has become one of my proudest achievements.

But that was his plan all along. He wanted me to get knocked down. He wanted me to get up. He wanted me to do it myself. I learned a lot that day. I miss him very much. And he will be missed by many others. It’s like my friend Scott said, “He belonged to so many people.” I think that is a great thing. This was just one story. There’s a million more out there.

Aaron Espinoza 


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