His music were my formative etudes. I learned composition ideas that went far beyond the instrument he used to express them.
His words brought me into reading various philosophers that gave me, as a 14 year old kid, some hefty mental exercise in verbal logic that enhanced my rhythmic logic.
His integrity formed my poor white trash upbringing into a self driven college degree and a strong belief that art is greater than money.
His difficulties kept me grounded...believing that success is more than recognition.
I did not know him but his effect on my life is profound in so many ways I cannot fully assess.
I met him riding down the freeway headed to town(going bowling if I remember right) in the back seat of a friends car hearing Tom Sawyer for the first time on my friends new Nakamichi tape deck and 200 watt Carver Amp...though he was not in the car physically I could hear the thought processes far clearer than most that I had ever spoken with face to face. The next day I was messing around with one handed 16ths on the Hi-Hat with syncopated bass drum. A few years later my sister gave me a big-ish gift certificate to a local record store and I bought the Rush catalog - then spent several years learning to play the songs with extreme accuracy....teaching me far more about discipline and self motivation than any other single source ever had.
I remember seeing the Grace Under Pressure Tour with a friend who was also a drummer...our eyes pressed hard against binoculars watching details few would notice...then seeing the next album with the graphic showing the skinny kid with the binoculars....laughing like crazy...knowing I was one of many. I commiserate our loss with you other kids that did the same.