Dewey Tucker's immense creativity was matched only by his love of life, his friends said Thursday as they considered planning a concert in his memory.
Tucker, a 24-year-old rising musician from Vallejo, was shot and killed Tuesday while driving on Interstate 80 near Crockett.
"He (was) always talking, goofing and always, always smiling," said Taliah East, 27, who first met the musician when they were both band students at Bethel High School.
A flute player, East spent much of their early relationship shushing Tucker and the rest of the school's rowdy trumpet section, East recalled.
Tucker, a bass player who had toured with Lauryn Hill, was en route to band practice in Oakland on Tuesday when he was shot multiple times. His beloved bass guitar was found in his bullet-ridden Nissan Sentra.
Tucker's slaying appears to be a random act of violence, and no suspects have been announced or arrested, California Highway Patrol officials said. Tucker had no criminal record.
His death has devastated his family and friends, several of whom met Thursday to discuss the possibility of a concert in tribute to his memory.
"Music was his life, was his passion, and I don't think there's any other way to remember him but through music," said Tim Barger, 26, a piano player, drummer and former schoolmate.
Barger last talked to Tucker in December, when the bass player invited Barger to a show he was playing.
"I never got to go because I let life get in the way. Now he's gone," Barger said, breaking into tears.
It's been a year since friend Camille Cotton, 27, saw Tucker. He was instrumental in her buying a bass guitar and was supposed to teach her how to play the instrument.
Now he can't.
"I never, ever met anyone like him. He was one of the most creative people I ever met. He'd turn conversation into poetry," said Cotton, who first met Tucker in church in Benicia and later worked with him at Costco.
East last saw Tucker on New Year's Eve in Vallejo as the musician, bass guitar on back, went to a church musical.
"I just was so proud of him. I never heard a bad report. I'm just so proud of the guy he'd become," East said.
The tribute concert for now is just a thought as his friends develop the idea. But it will also encourage others to seize life just as Tucker had, East said.
"Dewey knew what he wanted, and he went for it full throttle. He got more out of life in his 24 years than most people do in 100 years," she said.