It's funny what us with no chops folks like me and possibly you will do to make it as a something!Better story than mine, I was just in high school jazz band with Barrett. Teacher tossed me out pretty quick as I was more into chasing girls and smoking pot than practicing the saxophone..
Sorry to hear about your loss SH!One of the worst ways to learn of your friend's passing is by reading about it in Rolling Stone. This one hit me pretty hard.
I first met Van about 12 years ago, doing live sound work for his friend's punk band. At the outset of the pandemic, when all the "non essential" stores were closed, he contacted me on Facebook to see if I had any bass strings I could bring him. I have a side hustle doing guitar and amp repair so I always maintain a stock of parts and materials.
He agreed to pay my expenses so I hopped in the car and made a trip out to Camano Island. He offered to let me crash at his place that night as the last ferry back to the mainland had a tendency to fill up, leaving travelers stranded. I declined but took him up on his offer to blaze a joint before leaving. We kept in pretty regular contact on Facebook after that.
This last part is purely conjecture as I have no first hand knowledge of Van's drug habits. When Mark Lanegan met his untimely end, Van took it really, really, really hard. The Conner brothers had a very publicly visible falling out with Mark, mostly due to heroin and infighting but Van in particular always hoped that they could some day settle their differences and reunite the Screaming Trees. When Mark died so too did that hope. I believe that Van had started using again and the pneumonia he died from was caused by that.
Rest in peace, Van Patrick Conner. Thanks for the incredible music.