I'm sad today. It always amazes how bad news can just hit you so unexpectedly and put a damper on even the brightest of days.
I'm sad at the news I received on a BlackBerry alert this morning with the message "Travis Barker and DJ AM critically injured in plane crash." The news totally sideswiped me - as bad news always does.
It was only a few days ago that I saw DJ AM, just a couple of weeks after running into him while I was filming the live post-show at the VMAs. Undoubtedly one of the hottest club DJs in the world, AM was in New York just last week to DJ at my favorite NY nightclub, 1OAK. That night, 1OAK (which is already one of the hottest nightspots in town) was extra-extra packed by the time I walked in - a testament to the popularity and huge fanbase of DJ AM, who was the special guest DJ of the night. As soon as I walked in, AM, who was talking to his close friend and acclaimed hip-hop producer the Alchemist, saw me and said hi, and immediately joked warmly about how I surprised him with cameras whilst live on-air at the VMA post-show just a few weeks ago. We laughed at the fact that, in the moment during the live VMA post-show, I said, "Hey AM, you can't run away because we've got no one else around to talk to" - a total slip on my part and not what I meant! Don't worry DJ AM fans, he called me out on my slip-up there and then on TV, and again when I ran into him in NY. That night he played one of the best sets I'd heard in a long time ... it was a pleasure to be there.
I've known Travis for a few years now. Most of the time we meet through work at shoots or events, but every now and then over the past few years we have had the chance to kick it in cities from London to Vegas. All I'll say is this, and it's something I've said many times before: Travis really is one of the nicest people I've had the pleasure to meet. I have the utmost respect for this man, and I promise that I am not just saying this for effect or because of what has happened. I really mean it.
It's one thing to be great at what you do - and we've all seen him play the drums. The guy is dynamite. I don't know much about drumming, but what I do know is that I haven't seen anyone play the drums with as much passion and versatility as Travis Barker. From his old work with Blink-182 to the YouTube videos he posts up (check out his remix of Soulja Boy Tell'em's "Crank Dat") to his latest "Dope Boys" track with the Game, Barker is simply out of this world.
But then there's the guy. On face value, Travis is pierced up and tattooed so heavily that you don't know whether to talk to him or read him - which, when you first meet him, can be a little intimidating. But I'll say it again: He really one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He has a fantastically calm demeanor and a real kindness, which I think comes from being the devoted father that he is, and his unquestionable passion for music of all kinds. Travis is a true gentleman and a musician.
Little Chris - who was not just Travis' best friend and assistant but like a brother to him - will be dearly missed by all that knew him, and our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of all who were involved in this horrible crash. at this time. Travis and DJ AM, get well soon ...