Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RIP, Aashid Himons

I didn't know Aashid Himons well enough to know what his last name was, or that he had been Archie Himons earlier in his life. A quarter-century or more ago I just knew that he was Aashid and his band was Afrikan Dreamland, a -- the only -- Nashville reggae band. He was quite a talent.

I saw him perform a couple of times on the Vanderbilt campus in the early '80s, and met him once at a Nashville club after a performance because I was there with a friend of mine. That friend had done some camerawork for the band for one of its videos, maybe even the one that appeared on MTV in the mid-80s under the band name "Dreamland," apparently because the channel was too lily-livered to use a scary word like "Afrikan."

Aashid was an enormous man. He had the largest hands of anyone I've ever met, before or since, and a surge of dreadlocks on his head. That night he was in the mood to talk about his experiences playing in the band, and somehow or other got on the subject of keeping track of how much tax was owed from the band's take for each show. At which point he offered some wise financial advice to those of us listening. "The only way to deal with the IRS," Aashid said, "is to pay the bastards."

Aashid Himons died earlier this month in Nashville at 68 years of age. More about him is here and here.

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