RIP Roi. And Thanks.

Today I was extremely saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dave Matthews Band saxophonist LeRoi Moore from complications from an ATV accident.  He was just 46 years old.

Like so many things, I found out the news through Twitter Search which had LeRoi Moore as a trending topic, and sadly, this usually indicates that they’ve died.

I’ve been a fan of Dave Matthews Band for my years.  I’ve probably seen them more than 20 times live, and while ducking the pot-smoke (I was probably one of the few actually NOT smoking), and the crazy teenagers, I never had anything other than a great time watching them.  Their unique blend of guitar, bass, drums, fiddle and sax created a sound unlike any other band in the world. My love for DMB blossomed at a time when music was an incredibly important part of my life, and my affection for the joy they brought me will not be forgotten.

On stage, LeRoi would never go anywhere without wearing his sunglasses.  He would lay down amazing sax riffs for songs such as “Lover Lay Down”, “Stay”, “Too Much”, and was a great flute player, offering flute fills for “Say Goodbye” and a host of other songs. The photo above was taken from a 2000 show at Giants Stadium, where, if you look hard enough, you can see LeRoi without his sunglasses. This, was a momentous moment indeed.

On his off time from Dave Matthews Band, he was part of a jazz project called Code Magenta with Greg Howard and Dawn Thompson, a collaboration that resulted in a EP released in 2002.

His bio on davematthewsband.com talks about his love of jazz, and how his life in Dave Matthews Band is almost better than a jazz gig.

Most of all, he was a nice guy.  He did a lot for the fans, put himself out there, and always was a gentleman and a true lover of his craft.  During a taping of Vh1 Storytellers in 2005, LeRoi talked about his family, and along with Carter Beauford (DMB’s drummer), talked about how family made their tour lives possible and how much all of the band meant to each other, and how much the band meant to him.

Last night, the band played a sold out show at LA’s Staples Center, and Dave Matthews paid tribute to his lost friend:

“We all had some bad news today,” Matthews told the sell-out crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles after the first song. “Our good friend LeRoi Moore passed on and gave his ghost up today and we will miss him forever.”

Fans shouted Moore’s name in tribute as the band resumed playing. Two songs later, Matthews once again made reference to Moore, saying: “It’s easier to leave than be left.”

Similiarly, the DMB crew, on a tour blog updated nightly, encapsulated their thoughts in an entry:

As we sat this afternoon contemplating the loss of our brother, we wondered how we could possibly do a show today. Dave put it into perspective stating, “There’s no place I’d rather be than here with you guys right now.” We cherish special memories of our lost friend. Tonight, Dave told a story about LeRoi at a bar in Virginia where the cash register was near the stage and LeRoi leaned on the register because “standing had become a chore”. Roi proceeded to play the most beautiful version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Dave said, “that was the day I fell in love with him. And I’m still in love with him.” It’s safe to say we all were in love with him. “It’s always easier to leave, than to be left.” -DM

Today, Dave Matthews Band, their fans and crew paid tribute to the lost, through a simple photo on davematthewsband.com

My heart is heavy as I write this. R.I.P. Roi and thanks for all of the great times and music. You will be missed.

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