26th March 1957 to 14th May 2011
My relationship with Bill was special. I
knew him in a way most of you didn't. In fact, I'm going to be so bold
as to say that I knew him in a way that none of you did. Don't think
so? Well, let's just say that he let me ride his Commando. More than
once. See what I mean?
Beneath that gruff exterior was a teddy bear of a man. Yes, Bill had strong opinions, and he shared them freely, but he also listened to the opinions of others. He might not agree with you, but if your opinions were thoughtful, and you could back them up, then he respected them. Yes, he gave me a hard time about the "Kerry for President" sign I had in the front window of my house, but our disagreements were NEVER heated or personal--that's rare. And why? Because we agreed on the thing that REALLY counts: morals. Loyalty, honesty, having a strong work ethic—being a good friend. And he was not afraid to show his emotions—something I've always thought made a man strong, not weak.
And Bill was a great teacher. When I met him in 2004 I could do little more than ride my bike in a straight line, but as we rode miles and miles of canyon road together over the next seven years, I busted my butt to learn from him, and he knew and respected that. And when one day a year or so ago he complimented me, telling me that I had become a really good rider, I know he meant it. Whenever Bill complimented me, I knew really meant it—that is was from the heart—and it meant the world to me.
Bill was also an extremely generous person. When I was married and owned a vintage home in Anaheim with my ex-wife, Bill came over and helped me install some lighting in my newly remodeled kitchen, as well as a new exhaust fan in my bathroom. He wouldn't let me pay him for his work, so I took him to lunch and bought him the Yes CD box set. You see, Bill loved music more than anything—motorcycles even. And, so do I. I think if Bill could have done anything, it would have been to play guitar - the guy just adored his rock 'n roll. When my band played at a dirty little bar in Anaheim, Bill was there to see me, and he was proud - he told me so - and again, it meant the world.
He took me to his secret camping spot out in the desert near Willow Springs with his buddies a few years ago. We shot our guns (Bill hated my Glock 9 and always told me I should buy a .45), cooked some killer steaks and had a blast around the campfire. We also shot some skeet - something I'd never done. And that was another thing about Bill - there was no need to talk shit with him, to tell him you'd done stuff you hadn't, because he didn't judge you. He'd just say, "BRIAN! Oh my GOD! You HAVE to (go there, do that, etc.)!!! And I when I ended up being pretty good at it, again, boy was he proud! He bragged to his buddies and even posted about it on the Forum. Such an awesome guy, my big brother.
I'll miss my big brother Bill more than
you could ever know. He won't be there anymore to give me advice, to
give me help, to teach me things. But, I have pictures, and I have
video, and I have memories. And, I can still talk to him, and I can
always ask myself, "What would Bill do?"
So long, Big Brother; I hope you are at peace.
Brian Wilcher (Aladinsane)