Tears covering up the dark bags under my eyes caused by the news of Nikki Sudden’s ‘sudden’ death last early Sunday morning in New York City. His host and friend heard him arrive at the apartment and take off his jewelry. Later that morning Nikki was found dead with a book in his hand, a very Nikkiest thing to do, as he loved reading as much as he loved playing music. Nikki was a hard working rock and roll star. One of a kind. Not many can brush their shoulders with pride and do such extensive touring and live gigs as Nikki did and that is what he should be remembered for. A hard working musician who was comfortable playing in front of 1000 people as well as to 10 people only. As long as there was a stage, Nikki was always happy to grace it with his dandy presence.
This morning I listened to his last online radio interview from NY where he played live with his band, joked around about himself and his music, plugged a few upcoming shows before he mentioned his ‘Farewell gig at the Knitting Factory’ on Saturday night. He meant Farewell America and not Life. There is a lot Nikki left unfinished: a new album that will come out in May, the artwork for his front cover (as Nikki mentioned the cover must represent the album) and in July to support the Rolling Stones in Hannover, on the day he would have turned 50 years of age. Nikki left in the middle of all this but at least his life ended with a fine concert at the Knitting Factory. This is the light he should rest under!
A real loss to his fans and friends who loved his music over the years. Nikki’s ego was big but so was his heart and he was one of the last of his generation who didn’t sell out or was bothered by being on Top of the Pops. Nikki stayed in musical shape by playing whenever he had the chance. In Berlin he was a regular crooner at many pubs, clubs and parties. We will miss his grand entrances: scarf blowing behind him trailing the scent of a gentleman’s perfume; walking tall with either a top hat or a barrette holding in one hand a guitar case and in the other, a burning cigarette; his aura surrounded by his faithful entourages which he gathered from a backstage or another.
But more than missing his eclectic and elegant fashion sense, I will miss his presence. Wherever you are Nikki alongside your brother Epic or not, I love you and thank you for putting your hand out to me when you introduced yourself that night, a long time ago in Café M.