Remembering Frank ….

When this showed up in my ‘Memories’ on Facebook today, I had to remember to start breathing again after I saw it peering at me from my Facebook Timeline.

Having to report Frank’s passing a year ago today gutted not only myself, but everyone here at DBAWIS, plus Frank’s lengthy list of friends, readers, and admirers. 

I was no less gutted today upon seeing this show up in my FB Memories.

My first reaction, as odd as it sounds, was to message Frank to tell him how much he is still missed …but then I realized that his Facebook page, the one place where he should still be present, so we could reach out to him, and/or re-read conversations and comments from the man, silenced though he may be on this plane of existence …his wit and curmudgeonly snark and sense of humour could still be enjoyed, remembered, even responded to, but tragically, the page was taken down, deleted, removed, and we are lesser for its sad and unnecessary demise. All his observations, recollections from the members of the bands and artists he had become friends with over the years, all the little tidbits and pictures left out of his columns and shared only with friends on Facebook, lost to the swirling mists of time and distance …a mistake at best, as tragic as losing a library and the footprints left by a man who breathed life into music, places, and people, and enriched not only their lives and legacies, but ours as well. 

Editor’s Note – It appears I was in error and there are actually TWO Frank Gutch Jr. Facebook Pages still accepting posts, Comments, and Replies. 
They can be found at – 
https://www.facebook.com/frank.j.gutch/about… 
and 
https://www.facebook.com/frank.gutch
Just in case you want to revisit our good and well-missed friend.

It is telling that Frank’s prodigious columns are STILL represented in DBAWIS’s daily top 10, usually more than one, and often, at least half of the most popular columns, that date back to 2008, which makes me proud of the writers who have put pen to paper here, and whose articles still engage new readers years after they were written.

Darrell Vickers, who actually got to spend some time with Frank, will be back here next Tuesday with the first chapter of another one of his books, which he has graciously aloud to be serialized here like his last two. …but this Tuesday is once again, Frank’s. Frank …who entertained and informed us for years, every Tuesday, rain or shine.

In honour of the man, I sit here with a Tall Boy of Coors, a bag of Lays Original Chips, and a selection of Frank’s favourite artists blasting through the Logitech 5.1 speaker system connected to my ‘Puter.

Here’s the tribute I wrote to Frank on May 4th of 2018, followed by the link to my favourite column of his. Just click on the link and see why this man was not only a great writer, but a great man.

Miss you Frank. We all do. Miss you lots. – Bob Segarini Toronto On. Canada April 23rd, 2019

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“When we were living in Colorado there was snowfall. Our cat — I’m a cat man — wanted to get out of the house so I opened a door for him but he wouldn’t leave. Just kept on crying. He’d seen snow before and I couldn’t understand it. I kept opening other doors for him and he still wouldn’t leave. Then Ginny said, ‘Oh, he’s looking for a door into summer.’ I threw up my hands, told her not to say another word, and wrote the novel The Door Into Summer in 13 days.” – Robert Heinlein

Since he passed away, I kept wondering if Frank ever read this book. I didn’t realize why until yesterday….

I have found it incredibly difficult to write about Frank Gutch Jr. and I must admit I am a bit puzzled by it. A lot of it has to do with how all of us who worked with Frank for the past 7 years, scribbling our thoughts and feelings about the pop culture we all are connected by, became terribly fond of him. So fond, in fact, that we unconsciously (or subconsciously) refer to him as “Our Frank” whenever we speak of him, and lately, that seems to be all we do.

Sweet Home, Oregon

For a man who lived 1000s of miles away, whose presence was nothing more than FaceBook messages, emails, and the odd phone call, his character, wit, and passion for his subject matter endeared him to us. And yet, except for Darrell Vickers, (another of our number who lives 1000s of miles away), none of us ever got to spend even a second in the same room with him.

…and the frustration of knowing we never will is very hard to accept.

On the one hand, we all know that Frank has left this mortal coil without so much as a ‘see ya later’, but on the other hand he is still here…it feels like he’s still here, or rather in Sweet Home Oregon, rooting around in the fridge in his trailer looking for a beer to drink while he finishes his latest 5000 word opus for DBAWIS, and hits ‘send’ so I can edit and publish it in the morning.

Next Monday night/Tuesday morning is going to be hell for me, finding myself waiting for his email, then realizing that it won’t be coming.

Last Monday/early Tuesday morning, I thought it unusual that his column hadn’t shown up yet, but knew he would have a good reason, and it would be here when I got up on Tuesday with an explanation and one of Frank’s usual shots at me, my age, bourbon-love, and wheezy grumpiness. We trash-talked each other regularly, two old farts who could laugh at themselves with ease, because we knew the secret of life and friendship…that none of this bullshit really matters if you can find the humour in it, an unspoken agreement to keep it light, keep it manageable, and take comfort in knowing you are not alone or a fucking freak because you actually care so much about so many things, that you still believe in miracles, that even in your wistful and sad acceptance of the unfairness and randomness of life, in those reflective moments in the solitude of closing your eyes at night to get some well deserved sleep, you can still smile to yourself and have a chuckle of the absurdity of it all…and know that you are not alone.

We are family, this little band of writers. We aspire to writing, to improve, excel, educate and entertain. It is our conceit to consider ourselves a Round Table of sorts. a cadre of young, fresh faced dreamers, eating hard-boiled eggs for lunch, drinking too much, dreaming waay too much, and planning on becoming rich and famous and owning a mantle full of Pulitzer Prizes, Letters of Praise, and awards, all before we hit 30.

That is how this feels.

And we know it sounds delusional.

But it is not delusion.

It is how we feel.

…and if what you do doesn’t make you feel like this…

…find something that does, and find the people who feel the same…

…and fucking do it!

Frank and Darrell inspire the rest of us. It was appropo that the two of them would meet in person and have a wonderful day sharing their love of records, collecting, discovering, and enjoying the width and breadth of music that people stuck on Classic Rock or the worship of BeatleStoneZeppelinJimi could never understand.

I am making a promise.

Frank will be here in the pages of DBAWIS as long as we are here.

=0=

Frank passed away alone.

He caught the flu.

It became pnuemonia.

It brought on a massive heart attack.

The manager of the trailer park where Frank lived found him when he went to check on him after not seeing him for a few days.

The brutality, randomness, and absolute shit life can dish out with cold and uncaring abandon is almost impossible to bear. I have to believe that Frank felt his family, his friends, his worth and his legacy comfort him as he left for parts unknown.

That he found the door into summer and walked through it to a better place, that he didn’t have time to call or drop us a note to tell us, but knew we would understand.

The artists he championed, the music he discovered, his passion, his joy, his incredible  spirit. The man is irreplaceable.

=0=

When I first read this column he wrote, I was so touched. It made me realise what a treasure Frank was and still is. Just click on the link under Frank’s picture.

I hope he is in this moment, in this place, and gets the happy ending he deserves.

Summer.

Safe travels Frank.

https://bobsegarini.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/frank-gutch-jr-hot-damn-summer-in-the-city-i-knew-a-girl-named-summer-once/

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Contact us at segarini@rogers.com

dbawis-button7giphyBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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