Mason, who had just moved back from living in Vancouver, would be there every other week for the jam night, if not every week (Wednesday night). He shared my interest, at the time, for bands like Led Zeppelin, Tragically Hip, and Pearl Jam; those of a classic rock nature. Classic rock was like this hidden treasure in Prince Albert, the town itself being immersed in Country Western culture with it's farming and ranching roots. Also brewing in the town, under the surface of country grit and old-time religion, was a weak gang-infused and high-school nurtured sense of hip-hop, and a strong wave of folk music. Both of these styles were interests of Mason's at the time as well. Bob Dylan stationarily controlled one whole cd-tower in Mason's basement suite when I first visited it. His chess interest was a further common thread of mine and his so we became really good friends. I moved to Saskatoon to move furniture and when I came back 6 months later to find the same old dull land of opportunity to get a really red neck, Mason was one friend who hadn't escaped the miserableness of it all yet and so we became even stronger friends. He and my friend from high school, Tyler or "Gersh", and Sarah, and a different handful every time it seemed, would get together in vigilant McKee's fashion for those remaining 8 months I would live in Prince Albert. I became, more or less, Mason's guitar sensai, guiding him with how to play the Tragically Hip's Ahead By A Century or Pink Floyd's Fearless. Usually he impressed me with either his drive to master the riff, or his perceptiveness to choose a song that was easy to learn in the first place.
Mason moved in with me in September '07 here at the bachelor pad. He has been studying to be or working as an electician for the entire time I've known him (see second photo - just after receiving his journeyman certification, with Ed our building manager). He is not only an inspiration financially, since he obviously has the material world within his reach any time he needs something new or used. He is an inspiration physically and mentally for me, reminding me that if I do need to sacrifice a few years from my upward climb to some kind of musical notoriety and devote time to getting some kind of ridiculously paying full time day job, it will only benefit and nurture that musical interest and flame within. Mason is currently on a 3 month (or more) holiday down in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. He went to Costa Rica this past November and couldn't get enough of the tropical weather so he went back this summer. Thanks Mase, for either pushing me to do better, or just being ok with where I'm at. I love and miss you buddy.