Where to begin?
I have a heavy heart today.
This news broke on Wednesday: "Mike Finnigan, a keyboardist, vocalist, and session musician who performed with an impressive array of artists including Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Jimi Hendrix, has died. He was 76. A source close to Finnigan’s family said he succumbed to kidney cancer on Wednesday morning at Ceder Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles."
I met Mike in 1992, when I first moved to Los Angeles. We became friends immediately.
I had no idea at the time how accomplished he was as a musician, only that we could relate, but what drew me to him was his honesty, warmth, compassion and humor.
My political awakening happened in 1999, during the Gore v. Bush election and then what followed afterwards in Florida and the Supreme Court.
That's when I received an email blast from Mike about the state of affairs in America. Out on the road, he spent time researching articles and sent them to 50 friends or so.
These emails had a big impact on me, especially when he introduced me to the new concept of blogs.
During the summer of '04, I wanted to start a website to voice an opinion and was looking for a name, when I remembered something in one of Mike's emails. There was a phrase that stuck with me. He called the Bush administration "crooks and liars." And that was that -- Crooksandliars.com was born on September 1, 2004, and hasn't stopped since.
After the site gained popularity, in honor of his influence and mentorship, I asked Mike if he wanted to transfer his email roundup onto our site. He agreed, and we called it Mike's Blog Roundup. Mike linked to many wonderful sites and writers over the years -- including our own Fran Langum! -- and when he left to go on an extended tour we continued with MBRU as a tribute to him.
Candy, Mike's wife, told me how proud he was of the work we had done and his participation in the process. He was so happy that his legacy of progressive views carried on and made a real impact on the country.
Finnigan will go down as one of the greatest musicians of all time, but to me he's also one of the great human beings to have ever walked the earth.
He taught me how to be a better man and how to live life the right way.
Here's to you, Mike and Candy.