Life is an interesting journey. You meet many people along the way. Some you like, some you don’t. Then there are those special people that come into your life that are something more. They provide inspiration. They make you feel special. And most of all, they change who you are for the better.
Rob Cranny was one of those people.
On Saturday, April 21, the world lost one of its true shining lights. Rob – known to his friends as Rab – was one of the most unique, fun-loving, and just plain beautiful people that I have ever had the esteemed honor of having in my life.
Rab’s passion was metal music. He traveled the world to experience and share his love for it. The first time I had ever seen Rab was at the inaugural 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. He stood out as a guy who was having so much fun, and of course, the guy who kicked everybody’s ass in the belly flop competition! With how I was running around like a headless chicken, I never got to have a chat with him on that cruise. He was also on my return flight back home from Wacken (a festival he had attended multiple times) in 2011, and again, I never got the opportunity to have a chat with him. Something I dearly regret, as I didn’t get to know him sooner.
Finally, on 70,000 Tons of Metal 2012, I finally got to meet the guy. We recognized each other from the previously mentioned Wacken flight, and we were instant friends. I believe this is how it was with anybody that met Rab – such an easy person to get along with. Who wouldn’t want to be friends somebody so real and downright silly in the best possible way?
His knowledge of metal was outright amazing, and his obvious dedication to it was quite impressive. Rab was in a band (an awesome black metal parody group named Detsorgsekalf, which is Frosted Flakes spelled backwards with the F in “frosted” replaced with a G), ran a strong independent label (Northern Storm Records), and was heavily involved in the Canadian metal scene – especially in Toronto.
Transcending his deep involvement in all things metal, however, was what a ridiculously funny, warm, caring soul that this man was. He literally never had a bad word to say about anybody, and would do just about anything for anybody he knew. That’s just the kind of guy he was.
On said 70k 2012, Rab got to perform with one of his favorite bands, Alestorm. This wasn’t the first time that he had done so. Detsorgsekalf had opened for them before, and of course, Rab became fast friends with the dudes from Alestorm. So much so that he got to perform on stage with them, in his amazing Detsorgsekalf garb, of course.
Well, he got to do it again on 70k this year. The show was on the pool deck, and I spotted Rab to the side of the stage before Alestorm’s set was to begin. We immediately flashed the horns to each other and traded smiles. He got to come on during the song “Leviathan,” and the crowd absolutely loved it. That huge smile on his face never faded during his time on stage with them – and nor did mine. It was one of the best memories I have of the cruise. Here’s a fan shot video of that performance – and you can spot me in front, grinning ear to ear, at the sheer fun that it was.
I really got to know Rab well on that cruise, and the subsequent months after, our friendship grew with many Facebook chats about all things metal, random silliness, and life in general. The more that I got to know Rab, the more apparent it became how amazing of a person he was.
When I went through my pictures of 70k this year, I believe the best ones that I took were of Rab performing with Alestorm. When I finally uploaded them to Facebook, he absolutely loved the pictures I took of him, and even stated his desire to have me one day take pictures of his band. And I planned to definitely do that someday. Little did I know, 11 days later, Rab would no longer be with us.
There were many that knew Rab better than I; there’s no doubt about that. However, the time of which Rab was involved in my life has left a permanent impression. Rab was one of the most authentic, caring, and joyful individuals that I ever had – or will have – the pleasure of knowing. It saddens me that our friendship was short-lived, and I had looked forward to more fun times in the future.
His time here was far too brief, but the amount of lives that he touched was staggering. Upon news of his untimely passing, the outpouring of emotion for him was unreal. Countless people from around the world who knew and loved him all grieved his loss together. I don’t think many realized until now just how many people’s lives he enriched, and just how loved he was by anybody that had any contact with him.
If Rob Cranny taught me anything, it was to enjoy your life and love those closest to you. If there’s anybody I’ve ever met that made the most of their time on this planet, it was you, Rab. You were a fun loving guy who always took the time to make everybody who was lucky enough to know you feel special. I am honored to have been your friend and to have been a part of your life. People like you don’t come around very often in this world, and it tears me apart that I will never share another fun moment with you again.
Thank you for making me a better person by knowing you, and you will always have a place in my heart. Your zest for life and infinite love and passion that you portrayed in everything that you did and towards every person you met will forever be a true inspiration. If I can be even half the person that Rab was, than I think I’d be doing pretty damn well.
Thank you to Rab’s family, as well. You brought one hell of a wonderful person into this world, and you should be – as everybody knows you are – very, very proud.
Goodbye, my friend. I love you and will never, ever forget you. May you rest in peace, and always, to the max!