25 Years after the death of my friend and mentor Jeff Fisher and 25 years after the night I sat at a keyboard and this tune came out of me and after years of people hearing it and asking me to do something with it and after years of procrastination I'm reaching out to kickstarter for a little funding, perhaps an opportunity to connect with people who can help create it and a platform to share this piece of music and a little bit about the person who inspired it.
I called the piece of music 'You Left Before I said Goodbye'
I was about 14 years old when I met Jeff Fisher, his Son (Paul) was an amazing guitarist looking for a sInger and he'd heard about me from some school friends, we met at Paul's house and I met Jeff the same night and instantly we got on, I was a pretty precocious kid, who loved to argue and was determined to make something of myself and Jeff was a great foil, raconteur and equally argumentative and I suspect surprised by my drive and extrovert nature.
My Parents had gotten divorced a couple of years earlier and myself and my brother and sister were now living with my Mother and Step Father and I was pretty angry at everyone, pretty estranged from my Dad and looking back, generally 'acting out'
But Jeff didn't treat me like a kid, he listened, considered my opinion and sometimes agreed and sometimes didn't...I sang in a couple of bands with Paul (with Jeff as manager) and even when I was singing with other bands I was always made welcome by Jeff and his wife Pat and over the years our relationship became a strong friendship, he was always there for me to chat about life, love, career, girls, problems and successes and always ready to listen and offer advice, a friendly verbal slapdown or a cheeky grin
Eventually (frustrated by un-motivated band members and with a burgeoning love of special make up and creature fx) I decided to focus entirely on the film industry and I quit singing, Jeff supported my decision 100% he always backed any artistic endeavor I undertook...and when I landed a job at Image Animation at Pinewood Studios he was thrilled for me.
I moved to London and continued to speak to Jeff on the phone or visit when I came home to Staffordshire.
Then, just when things were going SO great for me Jeff was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it was a pretty harrowing time for Jeff and his family (as it is for anyone diagnosed with any form of this awful condition) only made worse by the fact that Jeff's youngest son Mark had just gotten over throat cancer after years of worry and treatment.
We would talk on the phone and I would visit when I came back to Staffordshire, Jeff was always upbeat and always positive, I'm sure most of that was Jeff simply not wanting to worry or concern me, he was always strength and honor personified.
I then got an opportunity to work in Toronto for about 6 months and when I came back, I got the biggest break of my career, to go and live in Los Angeles, I came home to see my family and visit Jeff before I left, he was weaker now and although he was still positive and stoic, Pat (his wife) pulled me aside to tell me that things were not going so well.
He walked me to my car, we stopped and hugged, I told him I would see him soon and for the first and only time I ever saw, his eyes filled with tears and he told me how proud he was of me and how he thought of me as another Son, I couldn't handle it, I didn't know how to, I just smiled, swallowed back the lump in my throat and said 'I'll see you again, it'll be okay' and I left and headed to Los Angeles, looking back (as I have many, many times) he obviously knew what I was too blind to see.
A few months later I got the call from his Son that Jeff had passed away, I was mid way through directing my first film and simply couldn't leave to attend the funeral.
Honestly, initially I almost had no reaction, I put the phone down and carried on with life, there was no flood of emotion like you see in the movies, I didn't drop to my knees and scream to the sky with open arms 'Noooooo!' and if I was confused by that, my girlfriend at the time I think was downright shocked and horrified that the death of this person who I spoke of with such adoration and respect seemingly meant nothing to me,
Then...about two months later (after I had finished filming) we were driving back from dinner in Hollywood, travelling up the 101 freeway to our home in Woodland Hills, suddenly a wave of emotion hit me like a freight train, the simple realization I would never see or talk to Jeff again. I managed to hold it together till we got back, my girlfriend went into the house and I went back into the garage and literally dropped to the floor and I wept, sobbing my guts our for about 20 minutes...she eventually found me and just said 'Jeff?' and I nodded.
Later that night, feeling very clear, peaceful almost I sat down at a casio keyboard I owned, I used to just play chords and tinker on it, but within minutes I had a tune, a haunting melody that just found it's way out of me, I'm sure it sounds sill and bit artsy but that's what happened and over the next few days the song manifested into a full blown piece and I layed down a simple multi track version that I copied to CD.
That CD has kicked around ever since, It was played in my workshop, it was on my girlfriends ipod and whenever anyone would hear it they would say 'What is that?...is that Vangelis?' and then the story would be told, usually book ended by the person saying 'You should do something with that!'
And that is where we are at today approximately 25 years later.
Trying to raise a few dollars to turn this heartfelt casio composition into a full blown song.
Jeff was the wise sage in my life, always had a positive spin on every situation, now don't get me wrong he was also THE most mischevious 'devils advocate' willing to argue the opposite point just for the sheer hell of it...but once after a brutal break up from my first longtime girlfriend when I was 18 Jeff simply smiled and said
'It's sad I know and yes you're hurting now but you'll write a great song about it, the very best songs or at least the ones with the most power come from emotional highs and lows, so get to work kiddo".
He was right, I ended up writing this very well liked love song we used to perform called 'Remember' about her...how ironic that years later, after his death I composed this piece of music, born out some of deepest sadness I have ever felt, this composition literally just spilled out of me, even when I hear it now, I don't know how I did it.
The money raised will be used to record the song with professional musicians in a studio and then mixed and mastered. I have several great relationships with some incredible musicians who have over the years offered help and assistance, The song will be a piano composition with string accompaniment (pizzicato violins and Cello etc) in the style of John Barry and Vangelis, the current version is around two and half minutes long, the final version will be closer to four or five minutes.
Once finished digital downloads will be sent out via email, we also create website to include more information, making of and for people to be able to download the song.
If we reach the funding goal and go over, additional money might be used for real, studio recorded string musicians (at the base funding level we are at we are probably looking at 'keyboard generated' strings parts) any monies above and beyond that will be donated to cancer and hospice charities in Jeff's name
Here's my rough..on cassette (if you can believe it!!) recording!...I did have it on an ipod but it died...we are after all talking about 25 years!...but the scariest thing is, sit me at a piano and I can play it perfectly every time...so here is the rough recording from cassette to iphone LOL...I guarantee the finished version will be much better, already talking to people about possible orchestration and choir
Risks and challenges
Hopefully the hard part is done, the piece is composed, once its re-done at the highest level we can, thanks to the marvels of the digital platform (and much to the chagrin of Lars Ulrich) get it to you directly for your listening pleasure :-)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)