It was a very sad day when Jeff Hodges took his life on April 29, 1999, in Austin, Texas. Jeff, also known as Little Calvin and The Auger, was a longtime bandmate of both Chris Duarte and John Jordan. In 1986, Jeff, Chris, and Paul Babb formed the original Bad Boys. Jeff was the one who introduced John Jordan to Chris. Jeff, Chris and John played together in the Bad Boys, as well as other gigs with Junior Medlow, Sandy Allen, and the Vanguards, throughout the 1980s and early 90s. A great drummer, Jeff was also a songwriter, terrific singer, and artist. He wrote two songs, Prodigal Son and Jody, on the rare 1987 Chris Duarte and the Bad Boys album. In 1990, when Chris hit rock-bottom and left for New Hampshire, it was Jeff that loaded his drums and cat on his motorcycle and drove up to join his friend for the summer. Jeffs friendship and his musical companionship were invaluable to Chris during that time. Playing as the Chris Duarte Band, and as Rebop, they tore it up in the Northeast. Jeff did most of the singing and when he went back to Texas it kind of forced Chris to step up and do vocals. When Chris came back to Texas in the fall of 91 he joined with John and Jeff to form the Chris Duarte Group. In the last few years Jeff had been playing with Tracy Conover, Miss Lavelle White, and Appas Blues Power. Two other songs of his, I Wanna Know and Rich Mans Daughter, appear on a 1998 CD by Appas Blues Power. A memorial jam was held at Joes Generic Bar in Austin on May 18th. Jeffs drums were set up and Chris, Scott Chester, Paul Mills, Walter Trout and many other friends came to play and celebrate his life. Jeff Hodges played a big part in the development of the Chris Duarte Group and his relentless energy is in view every time Chris and John hit the stage. Here are some thoughts from Chris and John on their friend, Jeff Hodges:
The very name speaks many memories to me. He was also known as Calvin to his immediate family, to old friends probably Curly, either way Jeff, as he is fondly remembered to me, is a friend that contributed more in my life than just the special music that helped shape the Chris Duarte Group.
Ive known Jeff for just about thirteen years and even though we havent been close the last five, the bond was always there when we saw each other in a club or on the streets. Jeffs energy was almost boundless; its amazing what he could do and how long his stamina sustained when the good times rolled in. His wired Cajun idiosyncrasies and his tell all eyes were both captivating and infectious. Ill never forget his stubborness that he displayed at times with that hard head of his, which no doubt has endured more knocks and hits than humanly possible. When he set his sights on an immediate goal, his course stayed true and the full brunt of his tenacity was brought to bear upon achieving that goal.
I consider myself lucky, for I was able to get to know his whole family, sit down and break bread with them. His parents took me in as one of their own and let me sleep in their home on numerous occasions which made me feel very proud to be accepted. I feel the hurt that is caused by this senseless and regrettable taking of his life. For George, John, Jennifer, Joe and his parents, plus all the spouses and children; I also grieve with you.
The one thing that I truly loved about Jeff was the giving and kind spirit he possessed. He would mix in his riotous, left-of-center humor with a crazy anecdote to relate his point, and before you knew it you were smiling again and the sun would start to shine once more upon the gray day you were just having. Jeff was constantly giving his great days away just so there would be more happiness in the world. If Jeff was having a great day and you were having a bad day, Jeff would give you his just so you wouldnt be sad. I just wish that I couldve been there with Jeff that day so that I could have given him my great day. - Chris
There are two major categories of friendship: there are the friends you can call when youve gotta move a piano or a deep freeze, and there are the other friends that are not going to move a piano or a deep freeze.
I remember you helping me move a big dresser and a bed into my daughters upstairs room - through a window, because the spiral staircase was way too narrow. You were holding on to a fire escape ladder with your toes, hoisting furniture up with a rope, scraping skin off your back, blinking sweat out of your eyes in the 100-degree heat of Austin in August. You were singing a Stevie Wonder tune, occasionally interjecting that there had better-by-God be some cold beer in our foodgerator.
I remember how you lashed a huge coffee thermos to the engine well in the van, driving 15 hours straight, then staying awake to keep me company when it was my turn to drive.
I remember what a great storyteller you were.
I remember how passionate you were. How impulsive.
How brave. How true. You were a tiger in a world of kitty cats.
A man gets busy, and loses track even of people he loves, and I lost track of you. Im so sorry, Jeff. I truly thought that you were immortal. I miss you.