Edmond Kida – Lurch to his friends and fans – has been an integral cog in the Augusta music machine for so many years that I honestly can’t remember when I first became aware of the idiosyncratic lefty that was seemingly beloved by all.
I don’t remember the first time I met him. I don’t remember the last time we spoke. He just feels like someone that was always known and, more significantly, someone I was always happy to see.
Kida was part of the fabric of Augusta, and more significantly, Augusta music.
Which makes his passing that much more difficult to accept.
Edmond ‘Lurch’ Kida died, appropriately enough, on Halloween – the most rock and roll of all holidays. While he had struggled in recent years with a variety of health issues that had curtailed his musical appearances, I don’t think there was anyone that expected – or that even has accepted – that he or she had seen the last of Lurch.
I think that’s because, for many of us, he was a constant and consistent reminder of music’s Great Truth.
You see, for Edmond Kida, music was always fun. Playing music was fun. Making new music was fun. Listening to others was fun. That was the message he preached and that was the life he lived.
While he took his art seriously, he was not serious. His approach to music was to accentuate each chorus with a joke, smile or unexpected instrumental aside. His approach to collaboration was built around ensuring that the people he shared a stage with had as much fun as he did.
I suspect that for many, the initial impression Kida made was based on the person rather than the player and it is true, his personality was writ large.
But the truth is you would be hard pressed to find a musician – in Augusta or elsewhere – that played with as much imagination, emotional honesty and joy. Those, by the way, are the primary ingredients of rock and roll.
Edmond Kida understood that and it made him something precious and rare – a true artist.
Sadly, the Lurch has left the building, leaving in his absence a significant hole that will be felt for years to come. But he has left a few bequests for all of us.
His memory will serve as a reminder that the bonds built by people that play together are precious, that imagination and creativity are the building blocks for musical transcendence and, most of all, music is supposed to be fun.
Right now there are many who are sad – and rightfully so. I know I am. I also know there is only one appropriate tribute that can be paid to Edmond Kida.
I urge everyone that is able, either in public or alone, to pick up an instrument or microphone, turn the volume up and play that one song that makes you feel really good. Have fun.