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Friday, October 10, 2014

Jed Hershon 1964-2014

I could ruminate for weeks to months over what to say about Jed Hershon. Everyone whose life Jed touched in one way or another surely never forgot the experience. He was a true, full-blooded NYC character—cantankerous bookstore clerk, prankster, outrageous grump, loving-generous friend, true artist, and nasty S.O.B. all rolled into one.

Jed was the only NYC-based friend I've ever had who made the NJ-transit ride out to Essex County (the horror!), met my son and visited my home, more than once. I've had Manhattanite / Brooklynite friends who I've known a lot longer who never made that trip, so I'll always remember Jed for that consideration.

We became fast friends in '08 or '09. Born three days apart in 1964, both raised in the NY area in semi-secular, Jewish families, both music freaks, with a shared interest in the occult, a lot was simply understood between us, and that friendship quickly led to Jed co-hosting the My Castle of Quiet program on WFMU with me several times over 2009-2010. Archives of those shows can be cherry-picked and listened to near the bottom of this page.

I thought Jed and I had a great, natural-if-somewhat-crusty rapport; we were one another's ideal foil for a time, though my practice of being 100% real on mic, "bringing the outside in," as Jed called it, caused some friction but also made for some great radio. ...I won't go into the details of our subsequent "breakup," as that's our business, and all was forgiven several months ago. We were talking again, and I'm glad, especially in light of his passing, that the guy knew I loved him and that our fences were mended.

Finally, to epitomize my friendship with Jed Hershon, it's probably best to say this:  I created the outline of a screenplay, back in 2010, for a film to be called Disposal, where characters based on Jed and myself "decide" to become killers, fed up with the many and constant challenges of NYC life. In a filthy, noisy Brooklyn brownstone, the characters first fall into, and then delineate, however crudely, a plan to be the 21st-century Leopold and Loeb, on a mass scale. ...Eventually, the bodies start to pile up, basement-burial space runs low, and "we" spend much of the film arguing about body disposal, whose turn it is to do what, etc. Eventually, one of those arguments crests to a head, and the character based on Jed ends up killing me, burying me along with rest, and moving on, with the police slowly closing in. ...

We shared equally the joys of lives lived with no holds barred, and the gnashing jaws of frustration, misanthropy and isolationism. Jed lives on in all our memories; I for one will never forget him, and I recall our friendship without the slightest regret.

Below are two collections, albums of Jed's sound art, shared on the Free Music Archive via the My Castle of Quiet curator portal.  I had a lot of fun designing the cover for Nine Rings of Hell, grafting the head of an odd photo-potrait of Jed onto the body of legendary conjurer Eliphas Levi.

Below also is our one collaboration, a piece I've always been proud of, called "Hitler Is Dead."

If there is an afterlife, Jed is there, stoned out of his mind, and laughing at all of us.


8 comments:

  1. Jed and I were very close. Years ago. Is he really gone?

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  2. Jed was unique. A person you could love and hate at the same time. And miss terribly

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  3. 1 of a kind

    goodnight sweet prince
    ; ________________ ;

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  4. I heard the news today. Oh boy, even though I didn't know him long, I'll miss our conversations about music on Court Street. Faretheewell, Jed.

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  5. I'm shocked. As kids, Jed and I were close childhood friends, and I last saw him in the summer of 1976 when we were both 12 years old. That year, my family moved several states away, Jed and I lost touch, and I never saw him again. I have fond memories of us going to school together and hot summers with Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights as our playground. Part of my childhood died with him. So I lift my glass, remember him, and utter a phrase only he an I would understand: "Kids...now."

    R.I.P. old friend.

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  6. Wow. I am deeply hurt by this news. I was very close to Jed for many years.We hung out together constantly. He was at my wedding. Last time I spoke to him he was broke in Oregon, this was about 7 months ago. He was down on his luck, depressed. Does anyone know about his death and the circumstances surrounding it? I have to know what happened to him. Any info is appreciated. I can be reached at: martinlandau@martinlandau.net Thank you.

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