By TARMO HANNULA
I am deeply saddened to learn that my friend Richie Hansen, owner of Hansen Feed and Pet Supply on Freedom Boulevard, has passed on. He was only 65.
I got to know him through my job at the R-P. I wrote several articles about his business and how he expanded and built his new warehouse, among other things. Always polite and warm, Richie offered a friendly welcome to his business and was quick to share a humorous story about day-to-day affairs.
I was lucky to hear his guitar playing at various venues in his band No Respect. A darned good guitarist, Richie knew his way around the fret board of his guitar, but he was never boastful in the least — he played music at such ease with evident love.
It’s worth noting that a few years ago I asked Richie if he had an old “beater” electric guitar he’d be willing to sell me. Anyone who plays electric guitars — especially in a band — most certainly has a closet full of old guitars, and some of them are commonly referred to as “beaters,” still useful but they’ve definitely been around the block and commonly go for $100 or so.
Richie said he didn’t have one, but that he’d keep an eye out. A couple days later Richie called me at the R-P and told me he had managed to round up a guitar for me — a powder blue electric guitar he’d dug out of his garage.
“This is the guitar for you,” he told me, “and the price is right — free.”
A couple hours later we met in the parking lot of the Green Valley Christian Church by plan. To an outsider our interaction must have looked like some form of illegal exchange: Richie went to his vehicle and pulled out the guitar and I swung open my rear door and he tossed in the guitar. I love that instrument. The first thing I did was rush down to Union Grove Music in downtown Santa Cruz and buy a new Fender Twin Reverb amplifier along with all the cables and hook ups.
This brought back so many memories of my high school and college days when I played in a bunch of pretty bad bands. I never knew what I was doing but people told me I played good bass and guitar. I was self taught and just kind of knocked around on the various guitars I had. For me, guitar playing was therapy; it got me through my awkward teen years and gave me direction.
Richie was so kind.
It’s sad to hear of such a kind soul leaving this world. If you’ve ever wandered into his business you’d know what I am talking about.
I owe a special thanks to this man for reawakening the music in me. Richie was a good guy and I’m sure there are a lot of people, like me, that he touched, in some way. Good-bye, music man, and we’ll keep the music alive for you. Thanks for all the goodness you brought to this fine Earth.
Tarmo Hannula can be reached at 761-7330 or [email protected].