Friday, November 7, 2008

R.I.P. Ryan Plattsmier

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 6:00 PM

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There’s terrible irony in the fact that Ryan Plattsmier, bassist for local rockers the Public, apparently took his own life on Oct. 29 — the same night the band was scheduled to perform in the Masked Ball as Joy Division, another outfit felled by suicide. I didn’t know Ryan, but after reading Travis Shuler's incredibly moving eulogy on Facebook, I now feel like I did. More than just an eloquent tribute to a missing friend, it’s a terrific explanation of the complex relationships that form between band mates, and a tragically familiar story of depression seizing a gifted artist far too soon. The Public celebrates Ryan Plattsmier’s life tonight, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., at One Eyed Jacks.        

 

Some of you may already know about what's happened with our friend and bass player Ryan Plattsmier. For those of you who don't, Ryan left this world Wednesday October Twenty-Ninth at around Six at his home in Luling, LA. He had just turned 31 years old.

 

It's hard to write something for someone who wouldn't want to be written about. Ryan was a very humble guy and could be embarrassed by the slightest compliment. I know he would be horrified to know that I'm sitting here trying to come up with some way to share with everyone some part of who he was and what he meant to me. Words fail the great significance of his life to all of us.

 

Being in a band with someone is a very unique relationship. There's a lot of trust involved. You learn their strengths and weaknesses and they learn yours. You take care of each other. You can communicate without talking. You get in fights and share success like siblings or couples or parents and their children do. It's this camaraderie that exists in situations where you are working against adversity and dependent on your friends to see you through.

 

Some of it was good, some of it was bad, and most of it was never easy, but we went through all of it together. And when we were all in the same room with our instruments, we would create something bigger than ourselves. Something transcendent and beautiful and we'd look to one another with respect and pride because we did it together.

 

It's a difficult thing to explain, but Ryan was more than just one of my best friends. He was my band-mate, a brother and he was part of that music that was bigger than all of us. Ryan was strong and steady and I always knew when I looked over at him on stage that he had my back. He believed in me and I believed in him.

 

He was immensely and effortlessly talented, both as a bass player and a singer and I am honored to have spent almost six years playing with him in The Public. He grew up with my band-mates Bryan and Jack and that was always something I was a little jealous of. They've known him all of their lives. I only knew Ryan through the hardest part of my life.

 

When I was homeless after the storm, Ryan took me in. I lived with him for a few months and because of this I was able to get a job here and come back to New Orleans. If it wasn't for that act of kindness, there's no telling where I would have ended up. I was going through a real tough time then as I had just endured a huge break up and Ryan understood that. He would come home from some crazy eighteen hour shift and still always made time to listen to me when I was down. He always cared about all of us before himself. That's only a small part of what a good friend he was.

 

Ryan was a very affable charming guy, and a lot of people loved him. Ryan was a man's man. He could fix anything, he drank scotch and guinness, he listened almost exclusively to oldies, he had this old man hat he would wear all the time, he loved his boston terrier lou, he always wanted to drive, he loved to fish, he had a warm smile, a strong handshake, and always a helping hand for his friends.

 

He had battled depression for as long as I've known him and always came out on top. In a lot of ways, Ryan was one of the toughest guys I ever met. He played his first show with us with his arm in a sling. A few years later, he severed his finger in a work accident. He fought the doctor to sew it back on and basically willed it back to life and kept playing. He was almost superhuman in his ability to overcome adversity. That aspect of his personality makes this even harder to accept.

 

I'm heartbroken, stunned and irrevocably changed by his loss. All of this happened very suddenly and without any kind of warning. I can't imagine how it's going to be to never see him again. I think of how he was always happy to see us and how happy he seemed in his last days and it just seems like he's still out there somewhere. The last time I saw him, he was smiling and the last thing he said to me was "see you tomorrow". I wish he had. There's a lot I wish I could tell him right now.

 

Ryan Plattsmier was my friend. I loved him and will miss him for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

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