The holidays brought tragic news for local indie pop band Rogue Wave. Former bassist Evan Farrell died in a house fire in Oakland on December 23, according to an article in Billboard . Farrell, a father of two, left after recording Rogue Wave's Descended Like Vultures disc, but remained good friends with the band.
SF Weekly freelancer Ezra Gale was good friends with Farrell, and wrote this remembrance of his friend:
This isn't an ordinary obituary, but Evan Farrell wasn't an ordinary guy. Farrell, a phenomenal musician known as the sometime bass player for Rogue Wave and a key member of the long-running avant-bluegrass band the Japonize Elephants, passed away at the age of 31 on December 23.
Charismatic and ubiquitous in the music scenes of his native Indiana and the Bay Area, where he lived for a few years, Farrell was out here for only a week recording an album with the Japonize Elephants. After an Elephants show at the Starry Plough in Berkeley on December 20 he slept at the home of Graham Lebron from Rogue Wave. When the basement furnace caught fire he woke everyone up in the house, but tragically was not able to make it to safety himself and died from his injuries three days later in the hospital.
Left behind are his wife and stepchildren and a grieving community of friends and musicians (including this writer) struggling with the Hows and Whys of a universe that plucked Evan from among us, and so suddenly: Tuesday night we sat around Jason's kitchen table ladling leftover keg beer into glass jars as Evan entertained us with stories about drinking beer with Jason's dad back in Indiana. We laughed as he told us that a long-awaited check from Rogue Wave went straight to an expensive pedal steel guitar that he had no idea how to play. Friday morning I listened to Jason tell me the doctors gave him virtually no chance to live. Sunday we all packed into Amnesia on Valencia Street, a planned Elephants show turned into a memorial/wake/celebration of Evan by a family of friends now forced to live with his absence. We watched hilarious videos Evan made as his lounge singer alter ego, Gogo Yaya, tried to drink as much whiskey as Evan would have wanted and marveled that even just a small slice of people affected by him was enough to fill the place on a moment's notice. Which came as no surprise- as one friend noted, if you went to dinner party with Bono, Little Richard and Evan, you would have told your friends not that you hung out with an Irish rock star and an flamboyant black rock and roller but that you had met this crazy guy named Evan who made you laugh so hard beer came out your nose. Evan Farrell, RIP.