Ursula and I stood at the open mouth of the Bahamian waters with Evan’s ashes in our hands, readying ourselves for our scatter as Weezer blasted “My Name is Jonas” behind us during a live beach concert. Weezer was one of Evan’s all time favorite bands. In his own words, “When I was a 13 year old would-be-boyfriend longing for a hand to hold, Weezer's first two albums, the Blue album and Pinkerton, spoke to me unlike any other music I had heard in my life. Every song was about me - for me - even if, realistically, they dealt with themes and experiences that I would not come to know personally for years, if ever. All the same, it felt as if they had rolled my limited life experience apart, stripping out the underlying angst and confusion and shaping it into melody..,”
Music was really our first common ground as siblings, something we shared and which allowed us to become friends, to learn about each other over time. With almost six years between us, I started taking Evan to shows when he was probably only twelve or thirteen, squeezing together in packed standing-room crowds watching Beck, Dashboard Confessional, Macy Gray, Regina Spektor, The Darkness, Death Cab for Cutie, Broken Social Scene, Rilo Kiley, Modest Mouse, and so many others. Evan also wrote beautiful music. We jammed, me on bass, him on banjo, and talked about the band we’d have together. We called ourselves Mousy and Vert, for our mousy brown hair and green eyes. Sibling wit.
In January 2013, I learned about a Weezer-themed cruise. Despite our general skepticism about cruises, I excitedly shared my findings with Evan during one of many afternoons at Sloan Kettering. We all decided it was well worth facing our fear of tourist traps, all-you-can-eat buffets and Noro virus to go on a wacky, tacky adventure curated by Evan's favorite band. Evan didn’t get the chance to go, but a few weeks after he died I learned that Weezer was headed for the Bahamas in February 2014, so Ursula and I booked our cabin and went for him.
It was a wild and entertaining time: four days, a dozen bands, performances on the cruise ship and at beach destinations. Quality time bonding with dearest Urs, Evan’s one-and-only. Weezer performed every night and we went to every show, crying, dancing and singing along with their nerdiest, most loyal fans. Weezer writes honest songs for tender people, and all the boat friends we made were touched by our mission. Back to Evan: “In the end though, as my twenties began to unfold, there were really only two songs on Pinkerton that still weren't about me, though I loved them anyway. "The Good life" - a tune about wanting to return to the way things used to be - was way too mournful for someone like I, who was really enjoying what lay ahead. And finally, "Tired of Sex". That never made any sense. Now, though, I can finally get "The Good Life" in my bones. I have known good living, and a lesser present that longs to return to that past.” I long for this too, and ache for what is not possible. Most days I try to focus on remembering the good life Evan had and the good times we all had with him. I love listening to the music he loved. I love hearing new music I know he'd love too. Listen to Weezer's music and you'll understand a bit of what was important to Evan: brutal honesty, owning your feelings, creatively opening your heart and mind to others, embracing the un-cool -- and, of course, killer melodies, hooks and harmonies.
- Jean Scofield Maxwell