Ed “Big Daddy” Roth…
10 years ago today, one of the good guys got called back home. Now, I didn’t know Ed personally. But I had met him on a few occasions. All of which I’m sure didn’t make nearly the impression on him, that it made on me. In a roundabout way, I once got Ed on a Chicago talk radio program for an interview back in the 90′s. I kinda knew the DJ, who was a Roth fan, but he had thought Ed had long since died. I told him, “dude he’s very much alive and lives in Utah, hunt him down”. Lo and behold, the next day, there was Ed on talk radio. DJ guy let me ask the first question. Which consisted more or less of me thanking Ed profusely for his inspiration and then it ended with me babbling like an idiot, cuz i was soo nervous. I have it on tape, somewhere…..
See, Ed was a childhood hero of mine. He was a monster-maker. A hot-rod builder. A lowbrow artist extraordinaire, even before the term “lowbrow” was invented. A modern day Da Vinci, slinging fiberglass and paint. I remember I used to build all his models and send off for his catalogs in the mail. I’d order all kindsa Rat Fink stuff, some of which I still have to this day. All of which I’m sure my mom thought, was a total waste of money.
But I didn’t care. She just didn’t “get it”. You either “got” Big Daddy and Rat Fink, or you didn’t. Period.
It’s been a great barometer for me all my life, especially in social settings. Ya see, regardless of how cool I might actually be, I’m not the most social of cats. I like to keep to myself. When people ask, “so, what do you do for a living…?” and the subject of being an artist comes up, I occasionally slip some lowbrow doo-dads into the conversation. Rat Fink being one of them. Then, I wait for a reaction. If I’m met with a glazed, blank lifeless stare, I wrap it up and head for the chips and dip. If a slow kindred sparkle and glow comes over their face, I know I’ve met somebody I can really hang with.
Anyway, the man was an inspiration to me.
Even moreso now that today, I read his response to a question asked of him a year before his death.
Posted by his wife Ilene “Trixie” Roth:
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE MOST REMEMBERED FOR?
“We are all trying to get to heaven. Everybody is born with a talent. Use the talent. I encourage a person to use their talents to the best degree. Take the talents you were born with and use it. If somebody has a problem with it, then you say.. Man, I just know this and that’s all I know, and Big Daddy told me to use it. Encourage people to use what they got. There is nothing else to be remembered for.”
Wise words indeed.
R.I.P. – Big Daddy.