Today I watched a pro send a friend off the right way. Deb Hart told us of the passing of Larry Allen Estlack this morning. All that ran through my mind was there are a lot of ego maniacs in this profession. Larry did his show for almost 30 years without an ego. You could literally talk to him about anything. He was part music historian and part psychiatrist. He always made time to listen.
Nick Chase and I went to see Larry last Saturday at Sparrow’s I.C.U. I told Nick on the way up to see him “the last thing he needs to do is console a crying vistor.” The thing that kept me smiling all night and choking back the tears was Larry wouldn’t want to see me upset. He wouldn’t want his death to impact anyone’s growth or development. He wouldn’t want his death to be the thing that broke us. He saw something in us and took us under his wing. He let us in his “vault” and explained to us how we could be better people. He truly was a teacher. I am very grateful to have been one of his students. The laughs I gave him at the end were some of the finest moments of my life. I am so thankful I got those last two visits. Mrs. Pants and I took him a guardian angel, he really appreciated and enjoyed her.
There is no doubt the man was like the last Jedi or the last REAL D.J. There will never be another like him. He fought the “Dark Side” of hit radio until the end. I’m sure at least every Saturday he had some listener saying “What the hell is this?” or “Is he still talking?” What most people didn’t understand was he was giving you his voice. He loved turning someone onto something they never heard before. It’s hard to imagine how many concert memories he kept alive in people by playing the deep cuts NO ONE else played. He kept the music alive. Taz from Mt. Pleasant was a regular and shared some memories with Larry.
One of the last things he was able to say to me was “I’m scared.” I looked him in the eyes and told him, “Great men do not go to bad places.” Larry was a great man, who made the world a better place. Our entire industry owes him a debt of gratitude. Our entire industry is not the same without the great Larry Allen Estlack. Shine On You Crazy Diamond-JP