A Few Lessons Left In The Wake Of Garrett Lockhart’s Untimely Death

a selfie with Garrett, me, Josh, and some other guy

The Universe has been particularly crystalline in the message lately: life’s precious, don’t wait to do anything that matters.

For the record, as I write this I’m battling with a voice in my head telling me that this is a dumb thing to write about a person that you weren’t best friends with. But I’m going to push through that and hopefully offer something of value here.

I’ll never forget the first day I heard his music. I sat down at the local hipster coffee shop and began my usual routine. Open computer, headphones in, sip my coffee, take a bite of my avocado toast – I told you it was a hipster coffee shop – and press play on whatever new music set had been uploaded to the music podcast I followed.

Six minutes into the music set, I stopped the writing I was doing and immediately tweeted at the artist and the label that had put this set out. What I was hearing in my headphones stopped me in my tracks.

screenshot of a tweet
I found Garrett Lockhart’s music early on in his career under his alias i_o (pronounced eye-oh). It took a part of my spirit that had been wilting for a decade and breathed new life into it.

We all probably have a genre of music, or a particular band, that made a deep impact on us. For me, it was techno. It wasn’t mainstream back then so if you don’t know anything about electronic music (other than the fact that the kids today call it “EDM”, which is not the same thing as what I’m referring to), I would understand.

I grew up in the Chicago house and techno scene, making it a point to go every weekend to see a DJ, back when DJs actually carried in crates of records for their set. To say techno left its mark on me would be an understatement.

How do you describe why a particular artist or genre of music means so much to you? It might be related to a time in your life that was very good or very bad, or it might not. Passion for music is one of those intangible things for most people, I think.

As time passed on, the music scene changed, or so it seemed. And I was having an impossible time finding electronic music that felt like it was for me. Whether the familiar dark and heavy beats of techno dropped so far underground that I just couldn’t find them, or whether the torch just got set down as artists shifted to the new trends in music, I couldn’t say.

But there was a span of a decade where my spirit for music died a bit. Until the day in the cafe when I heard this as yet unknown artist’s music set.

Garrett Lockhart was playing music that felt like home to me. He was honoring the tradition of techno and bringing it forward by putting his own unique spin on it.  And the amount of music he was putting out right from the jump was immense. Though his body of work is far smaller than any of us would have preferred due to how events have unfolded – what he put out in the time he spent as i_o was incredible.

Even how he crafted his marketing for i_o, I was blown away. It was like taking a masterclass in how to get people to pay attention and to keep them hanging on for more.

He was a prodigy, no doubt.

Go Do The Thing

The first time I met Garrett in person, I was a bumbling idiot. We’d driven six hours down to Vegas to catch a weeknight rooftop bar show of his.

Why would someone do such a thing? Because one of my core values is to have rich experiences in my life. It’s why I teach people how to make their bodies feel and and move well, so that their body isn’t the thing standing in the way of them having all the experiences they want to in life.

As we finished up dinner in Vegas, a group was seated next to us. I glanced over and immediately noticed the tuft of blond hair. Holy shit, it’s him. My brain became mush. Do I say hi? Do I leave him alone? I decided to say hi. If it’s annoying, he can just tell me so.

We paused at their table. “Hi, aren’t you i_o?” I was so nervous that my guy, Josh, later said he was baffled as he’d never seen me so flustered before.

We did the basic hellos and when I mentioned that I was constantly tweeting his music, he said “oh yea, you rock climb!” (There is a photo of me climbing on my profile on twitter).

This was something that I – and I think every fan of his – valued about him. He always took the time to pay attention to who was supporting him. In his wake, Garrett left countless people who felt seen, simply because he always took the time to pay attention.

Garrett on stage at the Vegas show, with no special lighting or stage production
I’m so glad we said fuck it to all sense and sensibility, said ‘yes’ to doing the thing, and drove down to see that show with no more than 100 others. Because after those early days, he blew up so big that our next opportunity to see him was at the famed – and massive – Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

“Worth It” Moments

Only you can decide for yourself what’s “worth it”. When I saw he was playing Red Rocks, I was hung up by the concern about the cost of a whole weekend trip with hotels and eating out and the ticket price. But Josh encouraged me to get us tickets and we’d ‘make it work’. I’m so glad he did.

In case you don’t know, Red Rocks is an outdoor venue. It was going to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit that night. Thank god we didn’t miss that night out of worry for the money or the discomfort of the cold.  We got to meet Garrett again, have him sign a poster for me, and I was no less of a bumbling idiot the second time around. This is apparently just what happens when someone makes something so wonderful that your spirit is brighter than its been in years.

getting my poster signed

remember the good old days when you could hug people?

Garrett on stage at Red Rocks, a much bigger production this time around
We’d get to see him one more time before COVID shut everything down. Again, there could be so many reasons to say ‘eh, let’s go another time’ – not the least of which including the fact that these club shows don’t get going until way past my bedtime. I drank a coffee at 9pm and we headed out to the show.

I know that every fan of Garrett’s who made it to his shows has similar stories. And I know each of you out there is as grateful as I am that you went and had the “worth it” moment despite whatever you spent – time, money, sleep – to have that experience.

Make Your Thing

You never know when time is up on your trip through this Universe. If you’ve got something to make in this world, make it. No matter how dumb or a waste of time you fear it might be. You never know who it might impact – and the act of making it will certainly impact the most important person in this whole thing, you.

I think that’s one of the lessons that the dead leave for the living. You are not infinite. Do you really want to leave something unfinished in this lifetime? Not if you can help it, I’d imagine. You owe it to the world to make your thing.

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