To say that the Savannah music scene is a close knit one is the understatement of a lifetime. In a community where locals instinctively hold close to each other, it’s hard not to notice a new face. And as often as John Bowen went to shows, you probably saw him or met him at a show in the last few months. Unfortunately, being so close also means that losing a part of that community always hits close to home, especially when that loss is unexpected. Last Wednesday’s memorial for John featuring some of his favorite local bands is the kind of sendoff I’d imagine that he’d want. Good people coming together over good music.
I’ll admit, I didn’t get to know John very well in his time here in Savannah. We’d run into each other on occasion, share a few words, usually about bands, and then go our separate ways until we met again. In the interactions that I had with John, I could tell a couple of things though. He had good taste in music, not an accolade I get to throw around too often, which makes me wonder why he liked our band quite as much as he did, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
Secondly, if I was hard pressed to put a definition on punk and what it meant to be a punk, John’s name would definitely come up. It’s hard to boil down what being a punk is, and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that defying definition is part of the punk culture, but whatever the key is, John had it. It’s not about what you wear, or even what you listen to if we’re being really honest. It’s about supporting your scene and each other, two things that John did. Lastly, and most importantly in my head, John was genuine. No airs, no pretenses, just a good guy that liked music — something that our scene, Savannah, and pretty much everywhere could use more of these days. So let’s all strive to remember John in the best way possible: go out and enjoy some music and each other.
Here are a few shots from the tribute show at Sulfur Studios: