Yesterday, a dear friend passed away. Taylor Nudo was an old friend- one you regret not talking to if you lose contact with. We had known each other for years now, ever since we were in sixth grade. He was a motherfucking guitarist, through and through. He had the energy and talent on the guitar to just send electricity through the room as he performed. Hair always shaggy that flew all over the place as he bounced his head about. And I’ll miss him. He always managed to bring a smile to my face. no matter what. The shock has yet to pass- i still think about when the last time I spoke to him, and I regret not talking to him before he died. Those “what if” moments fleeting through your head trying to think of what you had done wrong before his passing, and realizing the mistake to even try and delve into every scenario possible. One of my favorite memories was when I took him and two other friends to go see the Video Games Live concert at the Hollywood Bowl. As we were both lifelong gamers, the whole event was amazing for us to experience- one of those surreal moments. Taylor’s face lighting up every time he started to recognize a song was probably the best memories I had of him at that concert. He would become animated, pumping his fists into the air and screaming as the music came to a crescendo. When music from Final Fantasy came on, cosplayers dressed up as iconic characters started to come onstage- to everyone’s delight. Taylor had a different reaction as soon as two of the most -well, arguably, most iconic characters- came on stage- Cloud and Sephiroth, from Final Fantasy 7. He started screaming at them to fight, throwing his arms into the air again and demanding a battle between the two, even after the music had ended. “SHANK HIM, CLOUD! HE’S RIGHT NEXT TO YOU!” Taylor bellowed, demanding the cosplayers to fight. And we were close enough that they heard him, and I could see them shifting around nervously as he continued to yell out demands for a fight to occur. He was larger than life. Through and through. The penultimate moment of the night came at the very last song- the theme song to Halo. Everyone cheered for the song, but Taylor cheered for an entirely different reason- guitarist Steve Vai came onto the stage to play with this guitar that could only be described as science fiction- it had light up struts that seemed to glow as Vai played- almost elegantly so. As Vai played the guitar riff heard during the soundtrack, Taylor went batshit crazy. He lit up and cheered like no other as Vai played his riff. He was grinning ear to ear as Steve Vai (and the concert finished.) but Taylor turned to me and the party with an announcement. “I’m going to go steal Steve Vai’s guitar.” Everyone in the party went silent as we looked at taylor and realized- * he was stone dead serious*. “Taylor, no.” We all said, calmly. He seemed adamant to back down from his position, glancing at the guitar less than thirty feet away from us. I finally had the chance to bring him down. “Taylor. Look at you, you’re a skinny white guy. Those-” I motioned to the guards on either side of the stage “are big security guards. They’d have no trouble taking care of you.” Taylor finally gave up, slumping his shoulders. “Fiiineee”. For a good moment, I really did believe that I would have to speak to his family on why he rushed the stage at the Hollywood Bowl for just a guitar. “It wasn’t just a guitar- it was Steve Vai’s sci-fi guitar.” I would have to explain to them. I’m going to miss you. Take care, Taylor.