Yesterday, when wrapped up in angst over some stupid wedding detail, I learned that Steve Wiley had died.
How quickly we are reminded of what’s important.
I knew Steve as the owner of Hoodlums Music. Back when Hoodlums was in the basement of the MU (Memorial Union) at Arizona State University, my sisters and would go there for new music, special orders, and shows. That was where we saw Paolo Nutini for the first time, where I bought Carnavas, Between Earth and Sky, and so many other favorite albums.
When Hoodlums moved to South Tempe, in a storefront you could actually drive to and park without paying an arm and a leg, it was wonderful. My sisters and I were there all the time. We saw more shows, we attended a movie screening, we spent hours perusing the music. It seemed like we always were there when Steve was. He called us the Sisters, and would ask after the other two if we came in singly. He was always willing to look up my latest random request, and loved to chat. The store was small, so conversations could start at the register, continue as we wandered the store, and finish up at the register. Even when discussing little things, I remember him being very thoughtful. He didn’t just fill the room with words to pass the time, he’d actually thought about what he was saying and said it because he meant it.
The night Hoodlums closed was a sad one, but the Sisters got to go have one more chat with Steve, and left with the hope that we’d be chatting with him again soon.
I am so sad for everyone who knew him better than we did, his family and friends. He was a cool, kind person, and Phoenix will be poorer without him. We never said a real goodbye, so I’ll repeat what I said as I left Hoodlums.
See ya, Steve. I hope wherever you are, they’re playing good music.