It was with real sadness that I learned my dear friend Wes had died. It was only weeks ago that we were chatting and laughing over lunch on Sunset Boulevard. He always stuck to a rigorous fitness regime and strict diet, for months after we first met I never saw him eat anything but protein bars, but at lunch last time I saw him, he was both happy and amused to order two different fish on the same plate. He seemed full of hope for the future, despite having had a very difficult couple of years.
Wes was an extraordinary person. He used to spend a lot of time alone in his room when we were on tour - it took me quite a while to figure out what he was doing for hours on end - and then eventually he showed me his computer... He had stored and meticulously catalogued thousands and
thousands of images, including many beautiful photographs that he had taken himself. This turned into a real passion, so Wes and I shared the desire to capture that elusive moment every day on film. He was in the digital domain, but I stuck firmly with celluloid. I also admired other great wonders in Wes's archival collection, such as the curious 'Toxic Mullet'.
He had many other seemingly conflicting talents, hockey and chess come to mind. It was the latter for which I frequently threw down the challenge, often at my expense, the former I could not comprehend, yet Wes assured me that it was not simply an excuse to whack someone really hard with a stick.
Wes was fragile, sensitive and intelligent, all great attributes for an artist to have. As a musician he was able to play virtually any instrument to a remarkable standard. During the time he spent on the road with us, I don't ever remember him making a single mistake. I know how much he enjoyed playing the shows, Duran Duran had become an important chapter in his life, yet when the time came to part company he could not have been more gracious. He came to almost every concert we played in California since putting the original line up back together and always came back to see us afterwards filled with generous compliments about the performance.
I have so many fond memories of our times together, but most of all we laughed and laughed. In the darkest moments Wes could always find humour. One story that he told has always remained with me, I'll leave you with it too....
Wes was really late and speeding down a highway in LA, when to his great dismay he saw a traffic cop waving him down. He pulled over and the smug cop said to him "I've been waiting for an asshole like you all day." Without missing a beat Wes responded "I'm sorry, I got here as fast as I could."
Photo Courtesy Nick Rhodes