August Golden was known for “making stuff happen” in the DIY punk rock scene in Minneapolis.
“If I could just pause August in a place where he would feel his most fulfilled self, he would be standing in the corner at a basement show,” said Bryan May, who is Golden’s best friend and bandmate. “Maybe twisting the PA knobs to make sure his friends’ band has the best sound they could, drinking a really sh---y beer and just, you know, in the zone.”
The local music community has been mourning Golden, 35, since he was shot and killed during a late night punk music show at a house venue known as Nudieland in south Minneapolis on Friday. Six others were injured during the mass shooting, but Minneapolis police declined to name them or give an update on their medical conditions on Monday.
Golden had just moved to south Minneapolis from New Orleans over a year ago and was living at Nudieland with May. May said he had plans to buy a house and settle down in Minneapolis, where his girlfriend, Caitlin Angelica and close friends live.
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He was always “building collective joy and doing all the goofy things we like to do, like punk shows and basements and just making all this stuff happen so people could enjoy themselves,” said May.
May met Golden in 2010 when they both lived in a “beautiful, giant, Victorian mansion with like 25 housemates” in Santa Cruz, Calif. The two immediately connected over similar interests in music. They’ve lived together in five different houses and played music in Portland and Minneapolis over the years.
Golden was a talented artist, songwriter and photographer, according to May. He has played in three bands and was most recently the lead singer and guitarist of Scrounger, a three-member punk rock band Golden recently formed with May in Minneapolis.
On Monday, Hennepin County’s medical examiner identified the victim as Nicholas Golden, a name May said Golden hasn’t used in a decade. According to May, August was a chosen name inspired by August Spies, which resonated more with Golden.
Spies was a radical labor activist who was killed in the aftermath of the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago, a worldwide symbol of the struggle for worker’s rights. He also said Golden wasn’t very concerned with gender norms, as is common in the punk scene.
“August, as with everyone in this community, felt it was very important to create safe spaces for trans and gender-variant people, young and old,” said May.
Outside of his love for music, he was a brother, son, friend and partner. On any given day in Golden’s life, May said you’d find him trying to fix an old record player he found, writing a new song or sitting on a porch with a beer in hand trading stories into the night.
“He was in a really good relationship and had this band he was really excited about — the first one in eight years that he had been in or started and just felt really connected to the people here and the music, the music community and underground music community,” said May. “I feel like I've seen him smile more in the past year than I have in 14 years.”
May said Golden helped him see Minneapolis through new eyes.
“I can get a little cynical, and he showed up and was just like, ‘This place is incredible. Everyone supports each other's music. There's so much love that all these like all the punks have for each other and whatever anyone's working on.”
Close friends and loved ones have been gathering privately since the mass shooting to mourn Golden and plan to host a ceremony in his honor.
“He put friendship, art, music and connection above the rest,” said May.