Nearly three years ago, on June 2nd of 2011, a handsome young man wrote me a very short, kind digital letter. In this letter, the youth, one I recognized at shows I had previously hosted, sincerely asked if his new project at the time, Moi Je Joue, could eventually play a show. He then sent a youtube recording of his band practicing. I clicked the link, and a song with a tumbling drum pattern and bright hopeful vocal melody galloped out my speakers.
It was contemporary, raw, fun. It was a breath of fresh air for my ears, as well as for the South Texas creative scene, and I immediately asked if he was interested in opening for Twin Sister, whom, perhaps due to some bizarre astral alignment, had confirmed a show with me at Cine El Rey on June 26th of 2011. He returned my inquiry with a response colored with a tone I am not used to receiving: one of elation and thanks. This was the first time I had communicated with Sergio Lopez.
I never grew beyond this sort of working and show related relationship with him. He was always there, though, consistent in sharing new dream-pop or synth projects with me or shaking hands at shows, supporting.
I distinctly remember one time, when, he dived off the stage at Simon Sez during a NOBUNNY performance, wearing this bright red, zipper loaded jacket, and surfed and rolled over the sweaty young people. When he fell onto the beer stained carpet, he spiked up straight and politely but assertively shook hands with someone he recognized, and then pushed back through the tight, sweaty crowd.
Later, I’d be standing by a sound booth at the same smoke lined venue, bouncing my eyes between the clock on my phone and Vatican Beach, a new band Lopez was fronting and, at the time, frantically trying to set up on stage.
This image was something that would repeat with me. Lopez’s projects, whether it was Christ Hair, a now defunct Moi Je Joue, or the varying tidal changes of Vatican Beach, were always really, really good- but always seemed to take a bit longer to set up. Thing is, while it was always a bit frustrating, I ultimately respected this about him – tangling through cables, dialing in reverb, pinching knobs on amps – these acts, though considered a nuisance by promoters and others for taking up too much time, only indicated his passionate attention to detail with his music. On occasion, though, I’d wave at him between sets, letting him know how many minutes his band had left to perform – often times carved short. He always knew and never fronted, always politely nodding with his sharp eyes and then nodding at his other members.
Lopez passed away on Friday, June 26th, at 1:15 am, tragically, and it all still seems a bit surreal.
To reiterate, while I was not close to him on a personal level, I always held him in respect. Lopez was a creator, and in life, it is the art left behind that offers an extension, or prism, to the photographs, memories and myths that those who have passed eventually become. Even in Lopez’s passing, friends and family are already experiencing this with his music.
Moi Je Joue, in translation, means ‘me I play’, from what I understand, stripped of other cultural contexts. So perhaps it seems fit that this is why Lopez was so good about this stuff, about playing in different bands here in South Texas. Thus, for someone who always seemed on the move, producing, recording, writing, driving, working, lifting, giving lessons, running sound, and lord knows what else, saying ‘rest’ in ‘peace’ seems a bit absurd. This man didn’t seem to rest, at all, and because I’ve always felt that people do what comes naturally to them, let Sergio do whatever seemed fit for him, which I am willing to say is not ‘rest’, but to continue as an idea of energy, creativity, and influence.
Here’s to a great talent out of South Texas. I only now wish I could have, perhaps, given him a bit more time to let his music breath on the stage all those times.