The Seattle music community was shaken yesterday when news began to spread, first by phone calls and text messages, and then across social media, that Darius Minwalla died Wednesday at the age of 39.
The loss was as unexpected as it was untimely, and has left a resounding sense of grief and shock among the many people who knew and loved him. Though Darius had not lived in Seattle for several years, having relocated to Vancouver B.C. in 2008, he remained very much a fixture in the immediate and extended family of Seattle music from his time playing drums in bands (most notably the Posies, but many more besides), working at local clubs and bars, and generally being a warm, hilarious, enthusiastic, magnetic, and beautiful guy.
The cause of Minwalla’s death is still unknown (the results of an autopsy are pending), but we will report the facts as soon as they’re available. From the Facebook page of Darius's bandmate and friend Ken Stringfellow:
In the meantime, I encourage those who knew Darius (and those who didn’t) to take a moment to consider how much of life in the city consists of fleeting encounters with people you seem to see all the time, everywhere you go—people you see in bars, on sidewalks, and at parties—until you don’t anymore.
Darius was a guy I knew a little for a long time. We played music together several times, including on the mainstage of Sasquatch 2004, and spent several very late nights locked in absurd, hilarious, drunken conversations about our radically disparate tastes in music. Many people I know knew him far better, and counted him among their nearest and dearest. The affection people felt for him was radiant, unmistakable, unswerving. People loved him, and there was no mistaking why. To me, though, he was part of the fabric of everything that always made me feel lucky to live and work in the city.
The fact that he'd lived in B.C. for several years was incidental: He was a Seattle musician. I don't know if any of the Posies are living in Seattle these days; but they'll always be a Seattle band.
Before he jetted off to Toronto recently, Posies drummer Darius Minwalla revealed another facet of his genius, informing me of the theme restaurant he'd like to open called Spaghetti Lee's. A tribute to all things Rush, the menu would feature "Closer to the Hearty Meat Sauce," "Veal Peart," "Working Manicotti," "YYZiti," "Red Bruschetta," and my personal favorite, "Spirit of the Radiatore," among other hilariously named items. Drummers—so good in so many ways.
The last time I saw Darius was last month, on Pike Street between Broadway and 10th. He was in town to see the Replacements and Young Fresh Fellows play at the Paramount. He looked great. He looked the same. We were walking in opposite directions, both on our way somewhere else, so we only stopped for a minute, hugged, asked each other what we were working on, whether we’d seen a mutual friend—same as always. Of course, it wasn’t until I’d seen him and his big, sweet smile that I realized how long it had been since the last time I’d bumped into him, and thought for just a second about how strange it was that he didn’t live in Seattle anymore.
As if I'm ever going to think about anything else when I walk down that block.