For a few hours on Saturday morning, it was unclear who was on the plane that crashed in Columbia, South Carolina. Early word to MTV News was that it might have been “I Don’t Want to Be” singer Gavin DeGraw, who performed on the same bill Friday night as Perry Farrell and DJ AM and Travis Barker’s project, TRVSDJAM, in the Five Points district of South Carolina at a free T-Mobile-sponsored show.
In a segment scheduled to air Monday night (September 22) on “Extra,” DeGraw said many of his friends and family also thought he was on the flight, which crashed just before midnight that evening, taking the lives of four people and seriously injuring Barker and AM .
“I got so many calls from people who were checking to see if I was OK,” he told “Extra.” “My dad got on the phone and he goes, ’Just say hi,’ and I said, ’Huh?’ And he said, ’That’s enough. I just wanted to hear your voice.’ ” When MTV News called DeGraw’s father Saturday morning, he was clearly upset and desperate to hear news about his son.
DeGraw said he shared the stage with AM and Barker just minutes before they boarded the Learjet whose fiery crash claimed the lives of Barker’s close friend and assistant, “Lil” Chris Baker, and security guard Charles “Che” Still , as well as the plane’s pilot, Sarah Lemmon, and co-pilot James Bland.
He said he’s still trying to make sense of the tragedy. “The people that you travel with when you’re doing this for a living, they become your family,” DeGraw said. “I was shaking somebody’s hand who was about to die. … That could just as easily been our reality too, and I feel terrible that those guys had to go through that. … You have no idea what your own fate or their fate is going to be.” DeGraw said the crash is one of the most traumatic events he’s been associated with. “This is a pretty bad one. Just being this close is already kind of too close.”
DeGraw also released a statement about the crash: “My heart goes out to the friends and families of those affected by this tragedy. I wish Travis and Adam the best during their recovery.”
Farrell, who also performed on the bill with Barker and AM, sent a personal message to MTV News with his feelings about the crash. “Come back to us soon Travis and AM!,” he wrote on behalf of his wife, Etty, and bassist Carl Restivo from Satellite Party. “We want to send our love/ healing vibes out to the two amazing fellows Travis and AM, who are at this moment very, very injured. The thought of what they went through and lived through is almost beyond belief. … We keep wishing it was just a bad dream. We want them to know that they are in our prayers wishing them a swift and successful recovery.”
The former Jane’s Addiction leader said the duo gave a “great performance” Friday night, one that made it seem like they were about to “embark on a very fresh style of music performance.” Focusing on their musical presence, Farrell dubbed AM a “tasty DJ” who “cuts his music very cleanly, and his choices are spot-on crowd ’wowers.’ ” As for Barker, Farrell praised him for adding a “mega-ton of energy to the mix” and delivering during shows, elevating the duo’s music from “good” to “top-notch music performance.”
“We’ll all be waiting for your return, boys,” Farrell said. “You are great guys and great musicians. Get well soon so we can feel that groove and be moved by you both again!”
If you’d like more information on the memorial funds set up to benefit Chris Baker’s and Charles Still’s families, visit the Famous Stars and Straps Web site.