R.I.P., Chris Haney
Update, 11 a.m. 5/01/13: We just added a photo post tribute to Chris Haney containing some of the photos that will be featured in a slide show at the memorial this Friday at the Gothic Theatre in remembrance of Chris Haney. Keep reading for details on the memorial and for a few words about from Haney from some of his friends.
Chris Haney Memorial Details:
Update, 3:30 p.m. 4/29/13: A memorial and celebration of Chris Haney's life is due to take place this Friday, May 3, at the Gothic Theatre. A memorial is planned from 6 to 7 p.m., after which the bar will open; with Moe's BBQ providing food.
And then, beginning at 8 p.m., a number of locals acts will perform in tribute to Haney, including Speedwolf, Havok, Lola Black and the Limbs. There is no cover, but donations are being accepted, and all the money raised will be earmarked specifically for Lydia, Haney's beloved five-year-old daughter (a fund has been established for her already if you'd like to make a donation now rather than waiting until Friday). The band Undun will also be donating all of the proceeds from its merch sales this week to the Haney fund.
"He was the sweetest, biggest-hearted guy I have ever known," says Shelton, echoing a common sentiment among everybody who knew Haney. "He was always a peacemaker. It's going to be a poorer town without him in it. He was just an even-keeled dude, man. I never saw him mad. Never saw him mad.
"I asked him not long ago -- he was talking about something, and I said, 'Do you ever get depressed?" Shelton goes on. "And he said, 'Sometimes I get depressed. But I have so many friends, I can't stay depressed,' and that was an awesome thing. He wasn't bragging or anything. He was just like, 'Naw, I have so many friends, they just cheer me up.'"
Sounds like they were all merely returning the favor.
Original post, 4:30 a.m., 4/29/13: The Denver music scene is a state of utter shock and disbelief right now as it struggles to process the death of Chris Haney, who tragically lost his life on Saturday morning in a shooting outside Denny's at Alameda and Sante Fe. Haney, a longtime staffer at the Gothic Theatre, was killed in an altercation in which he had reportedly been attempting to peacefully intervene. While the violent nature of his death stands in stark contrast to his life, those who knew him well say that it was just like him to try to insert himself into a situation in an effort to calm things down.
"He was the guy that would help me cool people out and stop fights," says former Cephalic Carnage bassist Jawsh Mullen, who first met Haney at the 15th Street Tavern, where Mullen worked more than a decade ago and where Haney would show up every Sunday without fail for the Monster Squad DJ night. "He was always the guy, if there was ever any disagreements, he'd always be like, 'Man, it's just not...you don't want to do that.'
He was just that kind of a guy. It's what he did. He was not into people not getting along. And of course being part of his job, he was quite the mediator. Just trying to stop a couple of people from hurting one another seemed to be just right up his alley. He was all heart."
"He was the kindest, most genuine guy I've known," says a clearly shaken Jim Norris of 3 Kings Tavern, where Haney was a regular since the club first opened. "He didn't have a mean bone in his body."
As word of his passing spread through town on Saturday night and into the day on Sunday, everyone had a reaction similar to Norris, who says he just saw Danzig last weekend at the Ogden with Haney, a confirmed metalhead. The loss of Haney, a man who was universally loved by everyone who knew him, is beyond profound -- it's devastating. By all accounts, he was a gentle, inspiring soul who strived to be relentlessly positive in the face of adversity.
"Haney, that guy, man, he was one of the most positive people that I ever knew," says Emily Francis, who received the sad news from friends while she was out of town working at Stagecoach, the country counterpart to Coachella in California, this past weekend. "He was one of the first guys that I met when I started bartending and doing shows at 3 Kings. He was always a big supporter of everything I ever did.
"He never talked -- I never heard that guy say one bad thing about anybody," Francis continues. "He was no-drama. I think that guy got it. He got what life was about, about helping each other out and being passionate about what you care about. He loved his daughter, and he loved music, and his family, and just people in general. And now I'm starting to see stuff from people on Facebook on the positive side of things about what he did.
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"Somebody put something up today saying how they're just going to go out and do a random act of kindness and just be really positive today in the name of Haney," she goes on. "What a profound person to have that kind of effect on so many people. He had that effect on me."
Keep reading for more on from Haney's friends about his life
Facebook (click to enlarge)
Indeed. From the subsequent outpouring on Facebook, Haney clearly had a tremendous impact on a countless other people, and he personified all of the things that have been said about it. Haney recently put up a post on Facebook, presumably in response to the recent Boston Marathon tragedy, that now seems even more profound in the wake of his own death. With such a senseless act of violence, our immediate and natural reaction is to be prone to rage, but from the sounds of it, Haney would likely have advocated for seeking forgiveness.
"Bad things are gonna happen. I know this from what I know about the history of our world. Truth is they have always happened and I surmise they will keep happening. Which SUCKS because deep inside everyone knows how all of this is gonna end. Love wins. Love will always win. Remember the everyday heroes who only know to help. Forgive those who do harm. They are adrift and will know love soon enough. Rejoice in the good that happens whenever, wherever and see the worst as only a means to that end. Now go do some good. It comes back, ya know."
The fact that he was so vibrant, positive and full of life wasn't happenstance. Even during his own personal struggles, Haney made a concerted effort to find the upside of down. "He was absolutely positive as a person," says Mullen. "He had recently gone through a lot of life issues. Things were just not necessarily going his way, yet he still maintained this peaceful, positive vibe, and everything was fine all the time, even when you could see in his eyes that things weren't necessarily that great for him."
"There have been a lot of hard times that I've gone through in my life," says Francis. "And Haney and I would sit and have a couple of beers together, and he would give me the best advice and just have such a different outlook on it because I believe, like I was saying, he got it. He knew what the bigger picture was before a lot of us. You know? And he was just so positive about everything and saw the bright side of everything."
Haney's passing is a grim reminder of just how fragile life really is, and how important it is to push past the grueling moments of lives and set aside our petty differences and simply be kind to one another. This trait of Haney's is a big part of his legacy, something that Francis believes will be passed down to the beloved daughter he left behind.
"The one thing that breaks my heart more than anything is that his daughter isn't going to have that man to raise her. Luckily we can all be thankful that she has his genes, and she still has her mother and everything, and she's old enough to have that imprint of him on her. But it still chokes me up that he's not going to be around to make another beautiful person like himself. You know? And that's what kills me. I remember when he told me he was going to have a kid, he was so excited, and the first thought I had was, 'Man, you're going to be the best dad. And that's what kills me."
There's no word yet on when services will be held for Haney, but we'll keep you posted. A bunch of his friends gathered last night to grieve together and celebrate his life by sharing memories. Plans for a series of benefits are already in the works to help start a college fund for Haney's daughter. When we know where and when that will be, we'll share that information, as well. In the meantime, please feel free to share your memories of Haney below.
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