top of page
  • Writer's picturecrystallinemythos

What Champion Meant to Me

Updated: Jan 11

Today is January 11th, 2024. As I write this, I'm overcome with incredible grief. I have to get some thoughts out, so I'm just going to write them down.

I met Champ when I was five. He was four. Valor was five. Vickie and Essence were real little. I learned to draw pictures from practicing with Valor and Champion. We drew characters. I distinctly remember drawing ninjas with backward hats on. We dressed as clowns with a bunch of other kids and made balloon animals. Later we ripped our action figures apart and hot glued them back together into monstrosities that would make Sid from Toy Story jealous. We made little home movies starring alien figures we bought from the quarter machine outside of Spencer's groceries. We ran around the neighborhood and made friends with a lot people who we still know to this day.

When Champion, and Austin, and Chris and John Joe started playing music in Junior High, I was inspired to ask my parents for a drum set, hoping to keep up. I watched Jolly Roger play a bunch of songs, and wondered if I could learn to play music too. I remember, sometime around then, Champion basically convinced me that maybe George W. Bush was actually kind of lame. I remember we would play Mario Bros 3 or Rampage—he showed me Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, and stuff like that.

In high school, we were pals, and we worked on a whole lot of video and art projects together. We hung out on the hill and made a lot more friends. Later, when I started at Hancock, Champion and I still made a few more movies, but we both decided to spend a lot of time making bands and playing local shows. We would sit around and draw all the flyers. We would go to Kinkos and make prints a lot.

I suppose I was always trying to keep up with him with my own projects. I never really could keep up. If I had recorded a song, he would have recorded two. If I sat down to draw a picture, he would easily pop out two or three drawings. To be clear, I don't think he was all that competitive with me. He just made a lot of stuff.

By this time, he was writing incredible songs all the time. Jolly Roger turned into Cub Scout Day Camp, and Cottlestone Pie, and Bloom and Embark. I made a bunch of recordings with him under the name Dino Control. Those were fun to make. I thought Champ and Hailey’s Goddess Zilla music was really clever and fun.


Later, during the pandemic, we wrote short sci-fi/horror stories together for The Crystalline Mythos. We ended up writing three of these short stories (which I’ll send around). They are stranger and funnier and more surreal in tone than the main Crystalline Mythos stories that I normally write on my own. I am so grateful for those three stories. We even made a couple of tie-in rap tracks and a solid batch of illustrations to accompany the tales.

I always loved Champion's visual art style. When we were kids, he drew a lot of character art like I do—but as he got older, his drawings became increasingly complex and psychedelic. While I spent tons of money on art supplies, he would just take a ballpoint pen and draw huge portraits in his surreal style with all these layers to them. I always felt he deserved more recognition for his visual art. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. It's really very good.

I liked talking with Champion about philosophical and metaphysical things, but a lot of the time we just goofed around too. We talked about hard things and hard times. We speculated about projects we would like to do in the future. He's someone I would have enjoyed traveling with if the chance would have arisen. But yeah, eventually, he got sick.

I've never lost a friend this close before. It's awful. Totally awful. But I loved him. He was like a brother to me. But, he was also like this with a lot of people. For instance, Valor—his actual brother. But, also John Joe, Austin, Chris, Avery, Joe and Dizzle and many others.

He loved the hell out of Hailey and his two kids. He encouraged Essence to be creative and individualistic. His parents have always been super supportive of everyone, as well. They really have done a lot over the years to foster a real sense of community for people.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who liked all of Champion's videos rapping from his car while driving around Santa Maria. Champ was good at wordplay. One example: Last Saturday, from his hospice bed, he was talking about the similarity between the acronym "NASA" and the word "Nazca" (like the Nazca Lines.) while joking with Dizzle and me about the similarity of the two words. He was basically alluding to a possible connection between the two words. I thought it was a bit of a conspiratorial idea, but the word play was pretty good. It was definitely the kind of thing Champ would put into a rap song. His various rap personas were pretty dope—Filipino Poseidon, Gombi Poseidon, Chumpstain, Peacho Bush. I'm sure there were probably more of these.

I'm thankful I got to spend time with him, even as his condition worsened. Chemo is obviously a very scary difficult thing, but Champion was about as tough minded as a person could possibly be in that situation. He had a warrior mindset. I know this for a fact, because I used to go with him to the gym, and one thing I noticed was how disciplined he could be about working out and lifting weights. I really think his experiences working out gave him mental strength in this last fight that he faced.

He was also a real class act in saying goodbye to everyone. The way Joe said it to me—Champ had a lot of grace. I'm glad I got to hold his hand and talk with him this last week. It meant a lot to me.

I'm going to miss him.


Jan. 11th, 2024



Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page