Rest In Peace
Posted 08 February 2007 - 06:29 AM
Posted 08 February 2007 - 07:19 AM
Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:28 PM
Longtime local DJ dies unexpectedly
Erik Hayes spun at Backstreet, The Eagle
Friday, February 16, 2007
A tropical backdrop and a budding love made a jaunt to Hawaii especially memorable — even for travel industry veterans like Erik Hayes and Doug Rist, who traveled to the islands in 2000.
Hayes, 40, died unexpectedly Wed., Feb. 7, at the home he and Rist shared in the Cheshire Bridge area of Atlanta.
The Hawaii trip, taken in celebration of the couple’s first anniversary, is Rist’s fondest memory of the life he shared with Hayes.
“It was for our first anniversary. We went for 10 days to Oahu and Maui, and fell in love with each other more,” Rist recalled. Before they fell in love, Rist and Hayes had been friends for years. It was only after both were working as travel agents that, according to Rist, Hayes accelerated the relationship.
“He just asked me out one day,” Rist remembered.
Hayes, who was born May 3, 1966, in Staten Island, N.Y., moved to Atlanta in 1990 from Asheville, N.C. He brought with him a best friend, and dual passions for entertaining others and softball.
“I spoke with him at least four or five times Tuesday [the day before he died]. I kept waiting for somebody to call me to tell me it wasn’t true,” Lauren LaMasters said of news of her longtime friend’s death.
When LaMasters and Hayes first popped up together as neophytes in the bustling, energetic early 1990s Atlanta nightlife scene, they brought with them a shared determination to have fun, and make a mark.
As LaMasters became a force in drag cabaret, Hayes held down long-term stints inside the DJ booths at legendary Atlanta nightspots like The Eagle and Backstreet.
“He would go to work at 5 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday and get off at 2 p.m. the next day,” Rist recalled of Hayes’ decade-plus stint as a Backstreet mix master. “If you went to Backstreet before it closed, you probably danced to his music.”
In addition to Rist, Hayes is survived by his mother, Margaret Reno, who lives in Florence, Ky. Hayes was remembered by close friends and family at a private memorial at the Wages & Sons Funeral Chapel in Stone Mountain shortly after his death. A public celebration of his life is planned Feb. 20 at The Eagle.
“He had an infectious smile. Oh, there’s so many stories,” laughed Rick Springer, a longtime friend of Hayes.
The two played together on a local gay-league softball team.
“We were actually short a player one time, back in like 1997, and he had a life-size cutout of a Power Ranger that he put out on the field to fill the gap,” Springer recalled of Hayes.
Hayes was in apparent good health and his death suprised his friends and partner. Their grief over his loss remains palpable, though, as Hayes would prefer, they say they are trying to lighten the mood when they remember him, Rist said.
“He was someone who could brighten up the atmosphere. He was always joking around, like a clown,” Rist said.
Hayes’s body was cremated. At press time, the cause of death was unknown. An autopsy of his body was conducted by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office and results are expected in approximately six weeks.
ATLANTA'S 1st DRAG IDOL
MISS ATLANTA NEWCOMER '05-'06
Posted 21 February 2007 - 02:24 PM
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