Remembering Chris Cravens, a Young Drummer with Many More Dreams

Chris Cravens drummer

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Born: Sept. 16, 1983
Died: June 20, 2004
Remembered for: His kindness, confidence in the future.
Survived by: Parents Joyce and Brent Cravens and sister Crystal Cravens, all of Carmichael.
Services: Have been held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made in his memory to the Sacramento Children’s Home.

Like many young people, Chris Cravens was excited about the future, even if he hadn’t settled on a career.

As the drummer for Avington, a Sacramento rock band, he contemplated becoming a professional musician.

Other times, he thought of joining the U.S. Air Force and being a pilot, or simply staying in college to pursue a business degree.

Mr. Cravens’ dreams ended tragically the night of June 20 when he died as a result of a motorcycle accident on Antelope Road.

The California Highway Patrol said he lost control of his 2004 Yamaha motorcycle and it slid into a steel pole—ejecting Mr. Cravens. He was transported to Mercy San Juan Medical Center, where he died of his injuries minutes later.

He was 20.

“My son was my hero in every way,” said his father, Brent Reid Cravens. “Sometimes I looked to him for guidance on certain things, because he had an uncanny ability to see certain things a little clearer than I do.”

For instance, Cravens said, he sought his son’s insights on how to relate to today’s youth.

No one could have asked for a better son, said Mr. Cravens’ mother, Joyce Cravens.

“Chris was truly too good to be true,” she said. “He was just a happy soul who loved everyone.”

Christopher Reid Cravens was born in Sacramento in 1983.

Initially he played the piano but switched to percussion in middle school.

An “A” student, Mr. Cravens graduated from Rio Americano High School in June 2002 and enrolled in American River College three months later.

He was considering various professional avenues.

One option, he told friends, was to obtain a business degree, then open a club where young people could meet and hang out.

Or would he be better off studying engineering before joining the Air Force, where he might become a pilot?

Mr. Cravens was also exploring the music world as the drummer for Avington, an indie rock quartet that formed last fall.

The band had recently completed a six-song extended-play CD and had performed what may have been its final concert on June 19, at the Underground Cafe in Roseville.

News of Mr. Cravens’ death was posted this week on, the band’s Web site.

Along with a photo tribute, the site contains an announcement that Avington is on a temporary—if not permanent—“hiatus.”

Neil Irani, the band’s lead singer, said he and the group’s other two remaining members, Matt Jones and Josh May, are grieving and haven’t discussed whether to remain together or break up.

“We haven’t talked about it, but I don’t see how we could continue playing in the band without Chris,” Irani said. “Chris was really an important part of the band.”

Irani, 19, said Mr. Cravens “was almost like an older brother to me. He was a really great person.”

Irani remembered that Mr. Cravens loved extended drum solos.

“When our morale was low, he was always there to keep everyone happy,” he said.



Originally published by The Sacramento Bee, by Edgar Sanchez, Bee staff writer