News broke on Friday that Jonathan Athon from Black Tusk and his girlfriend Emily were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. The first reports said that he was in a medically induced coma, which is never good news. We held our breath hoping that the next updates would show an improvement. Sadly, that was not to be. We heard on Saturday that he had passed away from his injuries; he was thirty-two.

I met Jon at a one-off Black Tusk date. This was one of those criminally under-attended shows that makes you cringe for the band members that have to get up a play to practically no one. You know they notice the dead crowd but try to play as if they don’t care that no one is there. Jon really didn’t seem to care though. He was friendly and enthusiastic no matter what.

In person he was a huge teddy bear—super warm and outgoing. He introduced me to one of Invisible Oranges’ past contributors, Kim Kelly. Kim was on the road extensively with Black Tusk and considered Jon like an older brother. She was one of the first to hear the news of his being injured.

Jon truly seemed to be happy being on the road. He just loved to tour and play, and like the other guys in Black Tusk, he wanted to play rock and roll however he could. Few bands toured harder. The guys in Black Tusk and Jon in particular, lived for it. They went for it 100 percent. Jon was a serious player too. He wasn’t Tony Levin, but his bass attack was intense to watch. Jon was a great showman and the joy he experienced in playing really came through.

Our hearts go out to Jon’s friends and family. His passing is a loss and he will be sorely missed.

—Joseph Schafer


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