Photo credit: Bruce Gilbert

I really barely knew “Homeboy Steve” Antonakos. I played a couple of gigs with him, backing up Sean Kershaw, more years ago than I can remember. One of those was a Christmas party for an all-cop biker club in Paterson, New Jersey. I remember their clubhouse was called the Pigpen.

Anyway, Steve was a funny guy, and a really good guitar player. Judging from how many of my New York musician friends are mourning right now, he was a hell of a person.

He died, from COVID-19, yesterday. Probably just a few years older than me (I’m 49).

Steve shouldn’t be dead. This shouldn’t have happened.

It ain’t right, we’re told, to make politics from someone’s death, but the fact remains—if Donald Trump hadn’t dismantled the CDC, ignored warnings from his own intelligence services about the pandemic, and pretended there wasn’t a growing problem, Steve would be alive today.

That’s just a fact.

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