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R.I.P. Rich
12-14-2015, 06:51 PM
Post: #1
R.I.P. Rich
It is with great sadness that I report that exceptional Harvey Danger fan, and even more exceptional human being, Rich Vaccaro, has passed away. You may know him as "Carlotta Valdez" or "Poison Tongue" or other monikers on the message boards. I don't know what happened yet, but it seems like this happened recently, judging by posts on his Facebook page. I've known Rich for over 14 years, and I'm really, really sad right now, I don't know how to process this. I want to write a tribute of some kind to him, but that will have wait a little bit until I can pull myself together.

R.I.P buddy

Pray to the God that you don't quite believe in
To bless this fleeting moment
Yeah, YEAH, YEAH!
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12-14-2015, 08:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: R.I.P. Rich
I'm not ready for this. He just turned 50.

CAUTION: Over the weekend, a short psychic escaped from police custody.
He is to be considered a small medium at large.
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12-14-2015, 08:57 PM
Post: #3
RE: R.I.P. Rich
This all makes me so sad. He was such an incredible guy. There's all this cultural conversation about the internet causing us to make fewer real connections, but here is one example of a guy who made a ton of connections, because of the internet. Just seemed like he wanted to be friends with anyone who'd let him.

Disembodied ringlets from hair that looks like Carrie Underwood's.
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12-14-2015, 09:26 PM
Post: #4
RE: R.I.P. Rich
(12-14-2015 08:57 PM)Affe Wrote:  Just seemed like he wanted to be friends with anyone who'd let him.

This is the perfect way to put it, Drew. He was the first Harvey Danger fan I'd made and he never stopped sharing any Monkees stuff that he came across with me, eleven years after I'd last seen him.
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12-14-2015, 09:58 PM
Post: #5
RE: R.I.P. Rich
He was the person who taught me it's ok to have internet friends. He'd talk about his adventures with Rob here and I'd marvel at the trust involved, because I was taught all internet strangers are dangerous. Then he just walked up to some kid in Chicago wearing an HD shirt and was like "Hey are you from the message boards? I'm Carlotta Valdes, or Rich. Do you want this set list I just got?" He gave off this easy friendliness that was disarming. And I started to realize that I could do that too, that it's not weird to be friends with someone you've never met in person, it's actually weird to be suspicious of someone you talk to almost every day just because it's on the internet.

Disembodied ringlets from hair that looks like Carrie Underwood's.
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12-15-2015, 06:01 AM
Post: #6
RE: R.I.P. Rich
Like Chris, I too need some time to reflect and compose something appropriate, but a greater discourse is soon coming. To say the least, this was totally unexpected.

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12-15-2015, 06:22 AM
Post: #7
RE: R.I.P. Rich
In what I can only take as some small sign....or something greater....

I tend to head to YouTube when getting ready for the morning before work and will just pop on whatever they populate as videos (and that means just music videos) they suggest to 'Watch again'. I get a good stream of familiar stuff that way...easy

Right below the 'watch again' section is a 'recommended' section with videos that are usually junk that Google's algorithm thinks I'd also be interested in. This morning was a lone HD video/song. Defrocked.

Rich, under his HDangerism YT name was right there with a comment to the video.

Seemed special to me.

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12-15-2015, 07:45 AM
Post: #8
RE: R.I.P. Rich
Rich was pretty special. He was THE HD fan, among other things. Always reminding me that we were going to go back to Maxwell's (at one of the two venues we saw HD) to "have some beer and put our feet up on the tables" He's been reminding me of this for 9 years. Maxwells shut down and opened back up while he was still reminding me. I like to picture he had something to do with their glorious reopening, just so he could have a beer with a friend. That's one of the things he was best at, being a friend.

Never let pain stop you from doing something you want. . . Never let pride stop you from doing something you should.
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12-15-2015, 09:12 AM (This post was last modified: 12-15-2015 11:47 AM by Dr. Myrrth Sicopath.)
Post: #9
RE: R.I.P. Rich
One of the first times Rich contacted me off the boards was shortly after I'd figured out that binge drinking was a bad idea. This has to have been around 7 or 8 years ago. I can still hear him asking, "it would be epic if you would drunk text me. Even if it wakes me up at 2 am, it would be great." I stayed up late sober to send him goofy messages.

I bought a packet of soup mix once called Vaquero and offered to send it to him. After a while (must have been a busy season) we just ate it. It was fantastic. I haven't seen it since, despite looking for it everywhere, to try sending it his way.

Two weeks ago I talked to him again, one time out of many, about The Flash and how it was about to feature Hawkman in an upcoming episode. We also discussed Bernie Sanders, and Godzilla. It was Gamera's 50th anniversary. He called me on Gamera's 50th. It seemed like as big of an occasion to him as his own 50th.

He was such an open, friendly, passionate dude. It's going to take a lot more than just one person to carry that torch in his stead. He cut a stunning figure on the dance floor.

CAUTION: Over the weekend, a short psychic escaped from police custody.
He is to be considered a small medium at large.
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12-15-2015, 01:39 PM (This post was last modified: 12-15-2015 01:40 PM by LoserWire.)
Post: #10
RE: R.I.P. Rich
This really hits me in a strange way, I haven't seen him since 2004 when I was an awkward teenager but he was always so interested in how I was doing and what I was up to in a very friendly way. It reminds me that we will always have our small community but saddens me to know our pillar Rich is gone..

Gun don't kill babies, babies kill babies.
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12-17-2015, 09:53 AM
Post: #11
RE: R.I.P. Rich
Just in case there's anyone who'd see this here and not on Facebook.

http://m.recordonline.com/article/201512.../312179996

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12-17-2015, 10:49 PM
Post: #12
RE: R.I.P. Rich
im sorry to hear this.. being mostly just a lurker for years before posting, i only knew him from afar, but he always seemed like the nicest guy.

positive thoughts & vibes to all of you who cared for him. :hug:
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09-05-2016, 02:36 PM
Post: #13
RE: R.I.P. Rich
So, some remaining thoughts.

I'm just going to free flow with how I came to know Rich and the most memorable moments of our friendship.

Like many (most?) of us here it began with the reunion show. Even though a bunch of us had made it clear we were traveling out for the show - I didn't really put a lot of effort into arranging meeting board members or the lot. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would've been just as happy heading out to the Croc, not get interjected into any meetup....just enjoy the show, and then catch my flight back to the east coast.

Enter Rich Vaccaro.

Part One - The Beginning

April 21, 2004 - Seattle

I remember it vividly. I had to park a few blocks away and I'm walking toward the Croc. There's already somewhat of a line to get in. There's a tall, large, loud man on the corner outside of the doors. He's talking with two others. I'm wearing my red Tony Millionare HD shirt. You can spot me a mile away. I get close and this man stops what he was doing, turns his attention to me, "Hey! Are you from the boards?" And that was the start.

Rich had probably been there since 9am. He was certainly there before they forced everybody to queue up outside. I believe he was at the bar/booths with Chris and a few other Seattle natives. He was SO excited to see me and immediately, for lack of better word, geeked out that someone had come as far away as he did. We talked briefly, he wanted me to be his eyes on the outside for other board members. He goes back inside, doors open, show starts, show ends.

It was a pretty surreal moment/feeling for me at that point. That was my first HD concert - and certainly the first of any concert I traveled across country to see. Rich becomes a quasi board-member leader. He gets us all together at the front of the stage. He's talking up anybody and everybody. He probably is the reason there's the pic of the 7 or so of us with to me was a very flustered (but in a good way) Sean.

Somewhere a long the way I gave him my cell number - probably as a way to find each other during/after the show. Not long after I get back home, I'm in the middle of class and Rich starts texting/calling - for no reason other than to discuss the show, what comes next, etc. At first I didn't know what to think, really. Here's this guy almost 20 years my elder, who I really hadn't known directly before, wanting to actively keep in touch. We had spent all of 4 hrs together in Seattle. Long story short, I call him back and we became fast friends.

Part Two - Chicago and the look

Fast forward. March 24, 2007. The Double Door. Chicago, IL.

I don't know if I had to convince Rich, or if he jumped on board (I was going regardless), but we each fly out to Chicago for a TLW show. We also meet up with Affe, Brant, and a few others here. It was a show with Bound Stems - so perhaps with Evan and John on the same show Rich figured it was as close to HD as he may ever get.

Here's an interesting background leading up to the show that I'm not sure anybody knows or remembers....

Rich and I would share phone calls discussing, among other things of course, HD and/or lyric meanings. Let's just say that I think Rich, for a time, believed with all his soul that Sean Nelson and John Roderick had some mortal beef with each other. Why is this relevant? There's a line in Blue Diamonds:

"These chickens are fish in a barrel and the tall one's going to be for sale"

Rich was CONVINCED that this line was in reference to HD - and Sean obviously the tall one. Rich pictured Sean as the tall one and "selling out" to go work on side projects. I don't know what "the beef" between Sean and John was in Rich's mind, but maybe just that John was calling a spade a spade.

So here we are at the show before things get going. Rich snags John from his pre-show duties to strike up a conversation. I get a really kick ass personalized show poster signed by J-Rod out of this, so I'm not too embarrassed. Rich basically spills his theories about the TLW/HD or Sean/JRod beef to Roderick. I don't remember what really came out of it. John was probably coy about the whole thing.

By the time TLW starts their set, Rich and I are front row center. Back then (maybe they always did this...) John would switch to playing the piano/organ for Blue Diamonds. Here we go, here comes the line. As John utters the line he moves his head in our direction with this look and smile (he wasn't straight forward to the crowd, so he def had to turn his head to make eye contact with us). Rich literally freaks out at that point. Well, so do I. For Rich, this is confirmation to his beliefs.

This is what Rich posted post show:

Quote:"Cynical, I'd like to thank you again...
I know this will be the 85th time, but I truly appreciate the time you took,
convincing me to go to the show, and saving me a shit-load of money, helping me book my flight...
Thanks also for paying for the cab, and dinner, you're a real pal...
I owe you a ride out to D.C. for another night of shots, and more "drunken apologies"...
Also, with regards to "B.D.", I told you so, didn't I???"

That last line should make everything I've written make sense.

This concert and that look are still one of the best experiences of my life.

Part 3 - Katz's deli and The Merc

August 26, 2007. The Mercury Lounge - New York City

This time it's an acoustic show with Sean and Jeff in Rich's practical back yard. I make plans to head up to see this show and the other acoustic show in Hoboken, but only end up making this one. Rich and I meet up well before the show and he takes me to Katz's Deli, which is practically next door to The Merc. He's like a kid in a candy store in this place and quite pleased to show a newbie the ropes at Katz's. So much cured meat.

We rendezvous with Prophet and a few others from the board. I remember the venue being taken over/sold out for the opening act. Something about "The L Word." Long story short, show was great. I think Rich had an out of body experience when Jeff and Sean played Greatest Living Dancer. He was flat out giddy after the show that he/we heard that - a song at that point was so rare. He got to spend time with both Jeff and Sean post show - I was there just soaking it all in. I remember after the show he took the four of us from the boards on a mission to find authentic New York pizza. This was the last show he and I both went to.

Part 4 - The Afterglow

I think Rich (and Jay) was able to see HD one or two more times after this. He didn't make it for any of the last Seattle shows but he was certainly there in spirit.

Rich was the kind of friend who would almost insist that if you had something on your mind or wanted to talk....even at 2am....you call and he'd be there. Even after a late night with many drinks - we would talk (or I would leave quite the voicemail) about life, HD, football, anything.

So, about anything....and thinking about this now made me smile...

Some time not too long after Rich and I started exchanging texts/calls I decide it's appropriate that I come out to him. I'd come out as gay to everybody here in Baltimore/DC....but I doubt anybody on the boards or met in Seattle for the reunion show would've known. I remember having some trepidation around discussing this with Rich, who at that point had only met in person once mind you. Here's this big New York Italian guy with a couple of kids - didn't seem quite the profile that would be on board with the whole gay thing. (And this being 2005....the social acceptance was improving, but not what it's like today, so in my mind there was the potential for things to go awry.)

Basically, I fumble over trying to get my point across to Rich. He has to stop me from rambling and goes "So, what you're trying to tell me, is you like other guys, right?" "Yea", I reply. At that point Rich launches into this whole tangent on how great that is, being quasi offended (but not in a bad way) that I was afraid to tell him, and above all saying he didn't give a damn (but with more color) if I was gay/straight/whatever. I let out a big sigh of relief, and we probably immediately pivoted to something music related to talk about.

Rich Vaccaro loved life and loved all of those around him. He was not the person to be contented by leaving people out. If you shared a common trait with Rich, he was going to be right there with you for the ride. He probably would've gone to the ends of the earth for those of us he got to know through the boards.

I miss my friend.

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09-05-2016, 05:40 PM
Post: #14
RE: R.I.P. Rich
That's a really nice tribute. I'm glad I swung by today.

We can talk about it later
But there's no later
Is there?
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09-06-2016, 06:38 PM
Post: #15
RE: R.I.P. Rich
God damn it I miss him. I never even got to meet him, and that's something I'll regret to the end of my days.

CAUTION: Over the weekend, a short psychic escaped from police custody.
He is to be considered a small medium at large.
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