I started off trying to write this just as soon as I heard of the news. I then found myself having to stop writing and take a break. Something told me to go outside and sit on the swing and breathe in that frosty Carolina air while admiring the stars in the sky. It was way too cold to be sitting out as long as I did, but I was clearing my head. The news hit me like a ton of bricks and it was all I could think of.
Stephen Crocker was a high definition ray of light who was a local musician from the rich historical history of Spartanburg, SC. He went by his stage name of Crocker and co-founded Lovelorn Records, which was a family of greatly talented musicians who were hard working and changing the world. Crocker was a white rapper who lived in my small southern two red light mill town of Pacolet, SC. The city was filled buzz as Lovelorn Records was putting out singles at a rapid pace, with Crocker writing many compositions of life the way it really is. I have never been a big fan of hip-hop music but always knew what he was doing was something special, unique, and most importantly honest. Lovelorn recently had a three-year anniversary show that showcased its artists who were doing the most punk rock thing you could do and get away around here. Crocker made the news when the local Spring Fling festival gave him the boot at the last minute due to the stage being in front of a church and the church would misinterpret the message Crocker was expressing in his art. The story was picked up by a Nashville, TN news crew in what would be more a blessing than a curse for his career. It got many of people talking. I guess the saying is true: “There is no bad press”.
I wanted to do a story on him for I thought this was something way different and it’s good. I knew he liked to debate everything from politics to religion. I exchanged a few messages with him through the magic of Facebook and we agreed to meet up one day to talk about it. We decided to meet at the local Hardees in our small southern mill town of Pacolet. I know that seems like a odd place to meet up for such an occasion, but that was the magic of Stephen Crocker as he kept an open mind about everything. I met him and his girl friend Hillary Keene who was also a singer/songwriter for Lovelorn. We talked about everything from history of modern music to hate crimes. I had my audio recorder and just let it go for about a hour of our conversation. I got to really know him as a pure artist who loved music and had a goal to change the world. He was very intelligent and charming as he held his ground with any topic good or bad. I would put money on him in any intellectual debate over anything and become a rich man if I could. He keep calling me “Sir” and his manners were very proper and would always end his conversation with “God Bless”. He told me he credited Bon Scott of AC~DC who fueled him to begin his musical journey.
Crocker was a visionary who wanted to join us all together by the power of music. I recall walking one night in the city and seeing a Crocker sticker on the side of the local paper box in the downtown area and smiling to myself. I think he liked being the intellectual rebel he was. He invited me to many of the shows he was preforming and I am now kicking my self in the ass for missing him every time. Something always came up and I never made it out. It has been one week today that I learned that Crocker took an attempt on his life. I was shocked and my thoughts all became a fog. I couldn’t think about nothing else but his well being. He was sent to the hospital and wouldn’t wake up. I prayed for him to wake up and for the light to shine again. The news got worse as I learned his chances of survival were now very slim and if he did make it by a miracle he would be brain dead. I went to visit him at the hospital to find a huge out-pour of love from family, fellow musicians, and friends. Everyone was very emotional and knew the end was near. I got to go back to see him one last time to tell him “I love you brother”. It was hard to seem him in this state and to know what the outcome was going to be. Leaving the hospital that day I begin to try to live in moments and to in the immortal words of Warren Zevon “Enjoy every Sand-which”. That phrase by Zevon to me is so simple yet poetic as all give out. I begin to think you know we all have ups and downs, twists and turns in life. I think I need to focus on the tiny moments and cherish them even more with all my heart.
So, going back to sitting out in the cold and having much gratitude from which I spoke of earlier. I have been thanking the good lord above for all the blessings big and small that he gives to me everyday. I hug my kids tighter before bed, I reach out to my friends who just need someone to talk to, I enjoy the sound of silence, and I am even feel blessed for akwards moments. The guy who was bright full of life, love the city, fought tooth and nail for his beliefs, enjoyed the sport of pro wrestling, and touched many hearts is now gone from this live. However his spirit is very much alive in this life and his impact was left in a very short life which ended too soon. Stephen Crocker if actions are loudern than words then you Sir where as loud as hell. You were God’s own prototype and your going be missed. May God Bless you on the other side and shine down upon us from the heavens.