The Legend of Larry Jack, The World’s Greatest Music Fan

“Remember, the best way to support live music is to actually go see live music.”

– Larry Jack Sammons
[photo by tom cartmel]

There is a massive hole in the Savannah music community, one that will never properly be filled. Long-time contributor and our great friend Larry Jack passed away on Sept. 10. 

On Oct. 1, per his wishes, the community gathered at Starland Yard to celebrate his life. It was evident from the gathering how many lives he touched with his infectious personality. His family and closest friends eulogized him with warmth between sets of live music. The perfect ceremony for a man who spent the majority of his life in search of the next show. 

Larry Jack not only attended a lot of live music—Guinness World Records figures—but he was the ultimate fan, cheerleader, and archivist. He found something early on in his life in live music that he cared about a great deal and did that thing with all of his energy. Even when he was fighting off cancer, going through breakups, or exhausted from working long hours. He was dedicated to the thing he loved most. 

His personal record for live shows in a single year was something like 766 individual concerts. Which is a world record, by far. He averaged around 400 a year (sans 2020, because there wasn’t much to attend). He kept a running log of every show in his phone with the date, venue, and band. If for some reason, we wanted to know the last time we saw a band play, he could consult the archive and remind us of the exact date. 

At live shows, for years, he would setup his digital voice recorder somewhere, or hold it in his hand, recording nearly every show he attended. Not for profit. Not to sell to people and, definitely, not to rip off the artist. 

He would take that recording, burn it on a CD, create his own album cover with the name of the band, venue and date, and then give that CD back to the artist the next time he saw them. If there were five people in your band, everyone got a copy. 

Among musicians in Savannah, you were not truly a Savannah band until you got a Larry Jack Demo thrust into your hands by a smiling, squirrelly, grey-haired dude who was at every single one of your fucking shows. He never wanted attention for this or payment. He didn’t chase popularity.

He was there for the music, and he always knew someone at the show. Because he was everyone’s friend. He bought t-shirts and vinyl records and CDs, or whatever the band was selling. He was the ultimate fan of everyone who played music. 

His house is a museum to live music in Savannah and beyond. There are demos, drum sticks, set lists, show posters, and so much more, that he saved, archived for no reason other than his own appreciation for the shows he attended. 

A number of years ago, hissing lawns was a thriving blog that was a response to a thriving music scene full of bands. In those days, Larry Jack saw The Accomplices and Train Wrecks over a 100 times each, two of his favorites. Larry Jack didn’t even want to contribute to this blog at first. And for years, he continually forgot his password.

But soon he became, as stated on Facebook, the heart of hissing lawns. When all the other writers and photographers dropped off, you could depend on Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour post each week with that week’s list of shows. And Larry would have his picks ready, the shows he most recommended, the ones he was guaranteed to be at. 

While most of us normal-abled people might make two or three or just a single show in an evening, by the time you saw Larry Jack, he had already seen three bands. And that was his love and his life. And he did it with the energy of a toddler into his early 60s, putting those 20-to-30 years his junior to shame. He had a zest for living we should all be envious of and strive to replicate. 

In his memory, in his honor, we will continue posting Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour to the best of our ability. But to truly honor Larry Jack, go see some live music. And stand up front, because “it’s a different experience up front,” as Larry would say. 

We are all better off for having known Larry Jack Sammons. We will miss our dear friend a great deal. 

See you at the show. 

PS: Larry Jack’s daughter, Lisa, is still in need of help financially. If you can, please donate here.