Glenn Sorvisto: the Soul and the Beat of a Different Drummer

Glenn Sorvisto in Bordeaux, France.
Glenn Sorvisto in Bordeaux, France.

On Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, the world lost a bit of its sparkle, and the sun shone a little less brilliantly. Glenn Sorvisto lost his battle of more than two years with cancer. He passed peacefully in my arms, his suffering put to an end.

As someone who has written hundreds of stories — most recently, for the Georgetowner — I still cannot begin to piece together the words to describe the beautiful, gentle psyche and the magical person that made up Glenn.

Truly a national treasure, Glenn was a special being who loved all, a drummer and performer whose true genius reached beyond music. He had the passion of a madman, and the unbridled and uncompromising spirit to always do things his own way with a sense of style and flair unlike any other. His heart was a precious jewel.

I cherish every moment we had together, our adventures, explorations, the fun times, the good stories, the laughs, the smiles and tears of joy. Glenn’s time on this earth was short, but he touched so many.

Some say he marched to the beat of a different drummer, but Glenn did more than that. He was his own drummer, who wrote his own song, always staying true to himself, always an individual, unfettered by others.

Glenn will always be a part of all of us. I remember my solo travels, when Glenn would hide notes and gifts in my bag. I would venture with a basket, collecting experiences, photos and stories we could share together when I came home. I would eagerly anticipate Glenn waiting for me at the airport, wearing a goofy outfit, holding a funny sign or bearing a silly gift. I hope Glenn received an equally marvelous greeting when he arrived at his new destination: an existence free of pain, in a Willy Wonka-like place filled with drums, flowers, plaid pants and birds. I hope he found the paradise that we both dreamed about — a beachside cantina with perfect bodysurfing waves, ice-cold beers, ten-cent tacos and Glenn headlining the entertainment every night.

Glenn will live on through his music. He was a talented drummer and singer appearing on dozens of CDs. His first band, the Hates from Houston, were on the cutting edge of the punk movement in the late 1970s. In San Francisco in the early 1980s, his band Arkansas Man was a critical favorite, touring with Johnny Lydon's post-Sex Pistol project, Public Image Limited. Their band posters are featured in "The Art of Rock" by Paul Griushkin, and their debut album was recently released on CD and iTunes. Later in New York, he toured nationally and throughout Europe with the groups WOO and Happy New Year. His musical talents are featured on albums from the Molecules, The Three Terrors and Rev.99. His most recent collaboration was with the Baltimore-based Pleasant Livers, which was named by the Baltimore City Paper as "the Best Band to See Live."

Born in Arizona, Glenn, 51, spent his childhood in Vancouver, Canada, Australia and Colorado. A traveler throughout his life, he ventured throughout Europe, Latin America and the South Pacific. He travels still.

Jody Kurash, a writer for The Georgetowner, is part-owner of a Georgetown business and a retired Associated Press photojournalist.

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