Adam Cullum: 1981-2018
Having worked at New Brookland Tavern for over a decade, Adam Cullum has been a consistent reminder of the amazing cogs in the creative scene in Columbia, SC. On Tuesday, the city lost one of its most beloved musicians and all-around best humans. Like many of Adam's friends, I've spent the past few days reading about others' amazing experiences they've shared with Adam. Below you'll find some photos I've made of him over the years along with many of those memories and tributes to Adam and links to his music. I'm sure I've missed many links, so if you desire to add them in the comment section, I'll update the page.
Funeral services for Adam will be held at 4:00 PM Thursday, September 6, 2018 at Suber-Marshall Memorial United Methodist Church, 3900 Live Oak Street, Columbia, SC.
"Once we were rehearsing just he and I at his house on Oliver St., about a year and a half ago, and when I got there I walked into the kitchen and noticed he had made a lot of pumpkin bread. We played and hung out for hours working on melodies for numbtongue that needed special attention, and it was the first time we’d really hung out just the two of us before. It’s the night I think we became friends. As it got dark I wanted to get home to see my kids before the went to sleep. We had already said goodbye, and it was starting rain, I had already gotten in my car at started it when I see this silhouette running up behind on the rear view. Once I realized it was him I thought I had forgotten something. He ran up right as I rolled down the window and he said, or really rather exclaimed “here! Take some pumpkin bread home to your family!” With this grin as sweet as the gift on his face. I’ll never forget that. That was the first time I took a moment as I drove away and said to myself “wow this guy really is one of the kindest people I’ve ever known.”
"[Adam] was the most creative player and songwriter in Columbia and I defy anyone to name a sweeter man. It was as if he operated on a different plane than the rest of us. I remember the first time I met Adam. I was with my friend Ashley and we had taken a rather potent hit of LSD and we walked down to the Five Points Fountain to look at the water. And there we found this strange but sweet man playing an accordion. And we weren't sure if he was real or not -- how could he be? After meeting him again, in a more level-headed frame of mind, I still wasn't sure if he was real or not. The mind reels when you think of how many people he must have influenced over the years in this town. I'm not sure if he realized how truly loved he was by so fucking many people. Damn. Tell your people you love them."
"I don’t know why, but when I heard the news, the first thing that came to mind was that ridiculous tie you wore to our wedding. Then I started thinking about the effect your playing had on me during our wedding ceremony. I was so scared and stressed and confused and excited and happy and nervous. I remember you sneaking one of my melodies into one of the songs we asked you to play. And then you snuck in one of Erich’s melodies, and then one of David’s. Before I knew it I wasn't thinking about anything but the music you were playing. Maybe I should have been more aware of my emotions in light of the way I reacted when the music stopped and Jeanette walked in.
"We lost a friend and a bandmate and the sweetest most gentle man I have ever had the privilege to be around. I hope all the people he touched in our town can draw peace and strength from his music that abounds and how he led his life ,always patiently giving and always listening intently, to every word you said or every note you played, smiling all the way. Innocent- pure-childlike- sad- beautiful, he was the best of all of us."
"I’m not really sure what to say to those who knew Adam that you wouldn’t already know about Adam. We all experienced him the same. The unforgettable creative little light was within him- we all saw it and tried so hard to illuminate it brighter. The same big hugs, the same Counting Crows on CD listing party/craft time on the back porch at Shredquarters. It Was my home away from home where I could be me. So many times I’ll never forget. Thankful that he will live on through his incredible music but so, so very sad. I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to make music with him. I will miss him very much."
"Hi Adam, when I got to the internet today, I expected it to be a little darker because of your passing. Instead, I found the bright light of friendship burning very hot with the love you gave to each person.
I remember one morning after I'd forgotten to go to sleep, you invited me in for a coffee and an egg. From the back porch, you showed me which plants were winning in the battle for your back yard. You told me you've been working on an egg experiment, and invited me to stay for a second, wilder egg.
It was a good egg. You're a good egg.
Thanks for doing the things you didn't have to do. It means more than you know."
"Not quite sure what to say Adam Cullum. It has been at least 15 years since we spent several nights a week playing open mic nights across Columbia. So many great memories and songs which led to the last time I remember seeing you before I moved to Charleston. It was a songwriter’s night at Delany’s that we were both playing and we chatted about a song lyric that you had written at least a decade before but you never finished the song. I asked you why you never finished it to which you remarked “you seemed to like it so much back then that I figured you would finish it. So how is it coming?” You were so talented, so selfless and so kind. Truly one of a kind.
"Many years ago, as a impressionable (very) young musician in Columbia, Adam had a huge impact on me. His love of music, songwriting, and collaborating with friends changed the way I thought about local musicians. He inspired me to create in a way few others have done. I’ve watched for years as he did this very same thing for many many others. I’ve listened to his songs, watched his bands, seen him care for others and observed him make Columbia’s music scene a better place.
I could go on... but for now, Goodbye Adam. Thank you for caring about a young, naive musician. There is a hole that wasn’t there a coupe days ago. Much love old friend. I’m so sorry."
"I met Adam freshman year at Carolina in the Maxcy Residence Hall, now 18 years ago. We became quick compatriots through our musicianship and our love of Radiohead.
"One time me and Adam Cullum were at some show party and all night we kept saying weird shit to each other like ‘but the script was written before the script began’ and when someone spoke we’d look at each other ‘that was part of the script.’ And we’d giggle and it was like we were in our own world.
I love you Adam, whereever you are, I know it is your world."
"I wish everyone in the world could’ve spent an hour with Adam Cullum. That they could’ve known the joy of receiving a big, from-the-elbow wave or one of his back-breaking hugs. In a conversation, years ago, he told me he thought of his friends as arrows he kept in his quiver. He’s an arrow I’ll always keep in mine."
-Marti Hause Tordjman
"I just ran into you Friday at a dumb restaurant and we stood beside a gum ball machine and made small talk. As I was leaving you said, 'you taught me how to write songs, Erich and I thank you for that," but YOU TAUGHT ME how to write songs. You taught me how to love music. I don't know how he got it mixed up, but he always had a way to brighten up your day by saying something nice as you walked away with this big smile on his face. He was quirky and we didn't keep in touch enough. We were roommates when we were 20 and then again at 23 and fought about stupid stuff. I didn't know you were in pain and I'm sorry for that. I hope they have a nice piano wherever you are tonight, Adam Cullum @ Columbia, South Carolina
"It was about this time yesterday when the crying finally slowed down. Up with my daughter, just she and I like always right now. Every time I stand at the coffee maker on the kitchen counter, with her voice behind me in her high chair eating Cheerios, the way the sun’s light is coming through the window as a white haze ... it will all just be that yesterday that won’t stop happening now. Every bit of the mundane window sill where the succulents you loved so much, some I bought my wife for her birthday, the stare of the groggy morning just warming up ... it will all keep happening to remind me of the moment I heard you’re gone. How it drowned my heart and overtook my whole self; that raw arresting sorrow whose maw wants to swallow me up. Crying so long until my eyes hurt all day. And still today. I shouted the oh Adam, the no we all did when I read the words ... I wanted reach and tell you I’m so sorry.
"I first met Adam Cullum when, I guess, I was 20 and he was 19. I couldn’t mash down more than four chords on a guitar, but he played along through my screw ups and we yelled Counting Crows songs through the windows of DeSassure 301. We woke up the ghosts of that building that Sherman didn’t burn because it was a hospital during the Civil War.
"Friends of Adam Cullum, in our grief and emotion following his tragic passing many tributes have been posted and recordings come from out of the blue. Our old bandmate, John Bolten recorded adam when he showed up needing a place to crash - please Listen to this unscripted version of Townes van Zandt "Pancho and Lefty-" straight off the cuff, one of the most copied songs but I never ever heard it this original and this heartfelt/- his music will always be with us -- its the only cover i can remember him recording and it captures everything about him.. All this music has to be preserved-
Keywords: adam cullum , adam cullum columbia sc, adam cullum musician, carolina, columbia sc music scene, columbia sc photojournalist, photographer", photography columbia sc, south, south carolina photographer
This was so beautiful. I was really hoping someone would share a beautiful collection like this. Tears stream...thank you, Sean.
Adam's "Possum Song" ... https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QJ8ohLmtWiaWZj5dilfNEM45PIpuMOTa
thank you Sean
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