Eighteen years ago my band, Staring at the Sun, was invited to play a show in Lawrenceberg Tennessee by this guy in a band called Melvin's Headtrip. We showed up and much to my delight this place was huge... and within a few hours was packed. I'll never forget that night because that was the night that I met Stacy Fleeman. While this is incriminating, he wouldn't care that I shared it with you. We were backstage and he had a joint in his hand. He offered it to me and I said "no thank you." He grimaced and said, "What, are you straightedge or something?" I had never hear the word straightedge before, but I instantly knew what it meant.
After this hugely successful show, we kept in touch and not too long after he moved to Nashville where we continued to swap shows, hang out and generally just have fun no matter what we did.
Within this time, we, me, whatever band I was in at the moment seemed to bond with Stacy and his band which had changed names to Dharmakaya. I can't tell you how many times I played with this band, but I can tell you that I have never seen a band play as much as I've seen Dharmakaya. As the years went by I got closer to Stacy, planning our musical futures together and even singing on two songs with his band. (Now called "Into the Pink" and "Synthetic Lies".)
He started Spat! Records with AJ Schafer and as I did my damnedest to support his record store located in the back of The Muse, we spent hours just hanging out and talking about everything and anything that came up. Spat! Records signed my band Fall With Me even though we were a raucous inconsiderate, brutish bunch bent on insulting the rising hardcore/metal scene. Still, Stacey and AJ stood behind us. Giving us most if not all of our accolades as a band. We hit #12 on the college metal charts because of them, our second record "Rise Phoenix Rise" was completely put out by them including studio time, record pressing and expensive cover art and distribution that we could have never achieved on our own.Dare I say that FWM was the first band ever out of Nashville to chart that high on the Metal rankings? Did I mention that they hooked us up with shows with every band we wanted to play with? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what these guys did for us, but the most important thing they did was believe in us, and what we did. And for that, none of us should ever forget what they did for us under the penalty of barbed lashings.
After the first incarnation of Fall With Me, did Stacey and AJ forget about us? Did they let us go on bad behavior? No. In fact they continued to support the new Fall With Me. Records, shows, preferential treatment... the list could go for pages.
The point is, that Stacey and I and my bandmates were friends. Good friends at that. Friends that supported each other in the best and worst times, personally and musically.
Stacey Fleeman died last night, August 23rd, 2009. My friend is gone forever with a mere 12,296 days of life under his belt, it's a rip off if you ask me. I've been thinking to myself, "Why didn't I say something to him?" "Why didn't I tell him to chill on the drugs?" "Why didn't I pay for him to got to the doctor or get him nourishing food?" "Why didn't I ask him what he really wanted out of life?" You know why? Because he would have said, "Dude, I'm doing exactly what I want to do, and I'm having the time of my life doing it." And that's the truth of it.
Stacey, I'll never forget you. You gave me hope when I had little, you gave me fun and good times when I needed them most. But most of all, you were a great friend that is a model for all other friends in my life. I won't forget, the house show in the basement, the Halloween show in your house, or the other thousands of amazing times we had together. Rest in peace my brother, I swear we are going to give you a sending off party that you will be proud of. I'll miss you and already do. Please enjoy this picture of Mr. Fleeman acting like he has his hand up my bum... or is he acting? Stacy, we'll always love you and life will not be as fun without you man.