Archive for Jimi Hendrix

Happy Holidays

Posted in personal with tags , , , , on December 24, 2009 by barryshapiro

It’s Christmas Eve and I am thinking about this past year and the year ahead. This year has been just awful on a number of fronts. On the plus side I have my health, my relationship and there have been no hurricanes in Florida. But the big issue in my life has been lack of work, the disappointments in business ventures, the inability to get my art work sold and the serious depletion of my life savings. All this makes me think of one person, my dear, departed friend Frank Fava.

Frank was a jolly old soul and he loved Christmas. Every year we’d put on a benefit for underprivileged kids in Harlem and Frank would dress up as Santa. He was Santa for many. Frank had an amazing life and career. He started out as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix. He built Jimi’s studio in Woodstock and when the legend passed on he turned it into Bearsville Studios and churned out hits. He produced a Gold Record for Looking Glass with Brandy (you’re a fine girl, what a good wife she would be…) ran backstage security at Woodstock and all the Woodstock revivals, and somehow became an insurance salesman. 

Frank and I met in the early 90’s and we immediately hit it off. He went through a lot together. I was his confidant and he was my most trusted advisor. We went through girlfriends, bought houses, drank fine wine and laughed a lot. A whole lot.  With Frank handling my finances I made a ton of money. I was never good with money but Frank watched out for me and my portfolio and my cash reserves grew. I wouldn’t say I was a rich man but I was comfortable. I earned that money but Frank made it grow.

When Frank died it was a tremendous shock. Personally I lost one of my best friends. Financially I lost my most trusted mentor. I’ve never really recovered. Frank’s body was discovered at home (he lived in the apartment above me on 53rd Street) he was sitting in his favorite chair watching tube. His heart had given out. He was terribly over weight and had a heart condition. His God-daughter, Abby, had come over to fix him dinner and thought he was asleep. It took a while before she figured something was wrong. I spent the entire night in the apartment with the body and a cop while Abby and Patricia cried down at my place. As I looked at his lifeless figure laid out on the floor and waited for the coroner’s truck to come I felt sorry over the loss of such a great friend. I didn’t realize then that over time the effect of Frank’s passing on my life would be so profound.

I’m still a lousy businessman, I don’t get finance. I’m a right-brained art-boy and numbers make me dizzy. Since Frank’s passing my business tanked, I’ve lost a fortune in stupid investments and I’ve pissed away a couple of million. This never would have happened if Frank were around. He always looked out for his friends.

So this Christmas I am going to think of Frank. I’m not going to dwell on the things that have happened since he left us but try to concentrate on the great things that happened when he was here and I’m going to try as hard as I might to recreate many of those things that Frank showed me. I’m going to make 2010 a banner year and I’m dedicating it to Frank. Tonight when I raise a glass of wine the first toast is to my old bud. Thanks, man for all you did for me. I’ll try to do better.

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