Longtime Athenian musician, chef and friend Damien Schaefer passed away the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15 after battling cancer.
Although he was largely known for the past several years as a spearheading presence on the Athens—nay, the Southeast—food and drink scene, his first forays into Athens culture came over two decades ago when he was an undergrad at UGA. His two main musical projects in the 1990s were the pop-punk trio The Pull Outs and the second-wave emo band The Walt Lariat. This is when I met him. We knew each other through our bands, which played shows together, and a veritable gaggle of mutual friends.
Through the years, our interactions became less frequent, but significantly, I can't for the life of me recall a single unpleasant interaction with Damien in the almost 25 years I knew him.
I do remember the last joke we ever shared, though. I guess it was about five or six years ago at one of his Four Coursemen dinners. During a very brief respite from his cooking and presenting duties that night, we talked about his transition from music to food and laughed about how it wasn't terribly different, except the foodie house shows he was throwing were a lot more expensive!
My best guess is that everyone who knew Damien has at least one similar story of a shared laugh or thoughtful conversation. I, for one, am glad I have this one.