Meet James Larsen.
James is my middle brother. (I'm the baby of three sons.)
This weekend was James' 50th birthday.
He was born July 3rd 1970 in British Columbia.
James died Dec 7th 2003 in New York City living his dream.
I'd like to share some of James' life with you today.
This is James displaying his "deadpan" humour in Hollywood. Or is that Leo DiCaprio?
Clearly I'm not the only one in the family with a sense of humour. James was super funny. He was forever making faces. He'd bug his eyes out and stretch his mouth to opposite sides of his cheeks. It was terrifying and hilarious. He'd make up dumb songs, repeat weird catchphrases, and he was a king of sizing up a scenario in public, then leaning in to your ear and dropping a stealth bomb of hilarious mischief.
James grew up to be a bonafide 80's rock star drummer. James moved to New York City and was a part of music projects across multiple genres as a drummer and producer. He also worked for ABC & ICM as a music booking agent and eventually got married in New York. That's James and our childhood cat Tiki. Tiki was the best cat and lived with us for 19 amazing years.
James & I inside a Hewitts Farm-Market corn stand just north of my hometown Orillia. I worked for Hewitts during high-school summers. They have the best sweet corn, butter tarts, and fruit pies in the land. James was visiting from NYC.
The Larsen brothers. I'm the ham in the middle of a rockstar sandwich.James is staring dreamily into your soul on the left and my older brother Chris Larsen and his famous hair are posing for a guitar string magazine ad on right...or is that Jon Bon Jovi?
Suns out, guns out!Actually it was night and we were having a flex off. Three boys with our uncle Florida Joe (not to be confused with the Tiger King). James on right looking like a young Bill Skarsgard practicing his Pennywise smile.
Another flex off, but this time synchronized swimming Cirque de Soleil style. My dad Fred providing the base. James flexing so hard in the middle. I'm the cherry on top. As kids we spent summer days dawn to dusk in that pool. One of James' favourite pool routines was to grab the paddle from our rubber dingy, swinging it like a battle axe while flexing & posing like Arnold Schwarzenegger yelling "I AM CONAN...THE CANOE-IST!!!". It always crushed.
The whole famjam. Mom and dad on left. Funkmaster Chris in another album cover pose on right. I'm upfront hosting/mcing? James is in the middle melting hearts with that smile.
You can't quite see my frosted tips but they are there. Dad in the middle. Rockstar brother Chris on lower left. Or is that Sammy Haggar? James is top left.
James Larsen 7/3/70-12/7/03 ❤
Thanks for getting to know James. He was a special guy with a unique ability to change the molecules in any room. He was also one hell of a talented drummer.
James' last show was at BB Kings in Times Square NYC a week before he passed away after a brief but brave & inspiring battle with an aggressive cancer. James died at a time in his life when he was getting to do most of the things he dreamed of doing. He was living in New York City immersed in his passion, working as a musician, producer & booking agent making bold moves in the music industry.
While it is tragic when someone dies young while in the midst of their prime, it is also inspiring. Shouldn't we all aspire to die while living our dreams? We all die, but we don't all fully live. Too often we hold back, living caged lives, only keeping our dreams alive in our heads but never taking the risks or doing the work to make those dreams reality.
Sometimes we'd rather keep a dream alive in our heads, than risk the attempt and face potential "failure". But the only real failure is to not go all-in on our dreams. Those persistent whispers in your head are meant to be acted on. Those dreams gifted to you and you alone and to ignore them is to ignore your highest self and your best life. How much sadder is a funeral of someone whose unrealized dreams are buried with them?
When I think of James, I'm proud of him & inspired by him for taking the bold steps & big swings necessary to work towards the life of his dreams.
I hope meeting James today will help you do the same.
PS - If you liked this post, please share it with friends, family or anyone you think might benefit from meeting James. Be sure to tag @LaughingVikings or @LarsClassington.
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