I knew something was up when I saw several people hanging around the front door. I asked why they were out there, but I knew the answer. There was no reason to be inside now. My brother, Danny Stefacek, had finally died in the middle of the night.
I walked in and found his wife Laura. She took me upstairs to see Danny who was in her bed. He had been in his own room through most of the ordeal. He had gotten so small, even his smallest daughter could have carried him there.
Danny’s eyes were open. I kissed his cold forehead and told Laura, “neither one of us was very emotional.” We both almost cried.
I had been planning what I was going to post for the last year and a half, but when it finally happened the wind was totally out of my sails. I’m having trouble talking about it now.
There were many Facebook entries about it and for some reason it made me a little angry. I felt like FB should have shut down in his memory. I know everyone loved him and felt compelled to share it. Maybe I just didn’t want to see his death confirmed.
About a month ago Danny had finally gotten fed up with the needles in his arm and pulled them out. It was a turning point. The hospice nurse said his body was already in the process of shutting down and he could only last a few days. Laura came the closest I’ve seen to crying.
Danny’s sister took me up to his room to see him. His face was barely exposed under the blankets. He said something I didn’t understand. I asked, “What?” His sister said, “He said he loved you.” I knew he did, but my mind wouldn’t let me process it.
I wanted to talk about the adventures and trouble we’d gotten into over the years, but I can’t. Every morning I start the day thinking, “Danny isn’t seeing this.”
Danny was incredibly lucky to have found Laura. I can’t begin to describe her sacrifice and devotion. It’s truly humbling.
Our last adventure was the Wax Theatricks Reunion. Tony Patti video taped it, and I’m assembling it right now. Danny had already produced about four songs and I’m picking up the project from there. It’s going well and I hope we have a party for its release.
Our original intention was to use it to promote a prog rock tour in Germany. There seems to be a market for it right now.
I was getting excited about being in a band again. So was Danny. I can’t believe we let all those years slip away.
Danny was the best song writer I’ve ever known. My son has been discovering his lyrics on the Name Magic LP. It was really a Wax Theatricks record, but we were breaking up at the time. Danny even described it as the sister record of the last Wax LP.
Danny left behind a huge body of work including graphics, literature and music.
I was able to get him to lay down piano tracks for unfinished Wax Theatricks songs. I hope we can finish them.
He was in the middle of 2 CDs. Tony got him to lay out the order of the songs and even found the lyrics on Danny’s laptop. I couldn’t believe the luck. Danny had already recorded the music tracks and he had a habit of incorporating the melodies in his piano parts. I thought this would be a cinch!
Danny’s studio is still up and it feels like his specter is in the room. His laptop was on and in the middle of the room.
Someone has stolen his laptop. I can’t tell you what a personal tragedy this is. He labored over his lyrics more than anything else. I found 2 songs printed out and he’d finished his voice work on one of the songs. I’m going to search his other computers, but Laura assures me they were all on the laptop.
I’m going to do my best to finish the recordings and start web sites for his art and prose. He was incredibly gifted and his work should be out there!
When he pulled the needle from his arm he was supposed to only last a couple of days. He lasted two weeks. His blood pressure was 120 over 60. He had the heart of a teenager. He had the heart of a lion!
He donated his body to St. Louis University Hospital. He insisted there be no funeral. Unfortunately the chemotherapy rendered all but his retinas useless for transplant.
Our friend Dan Holt posted his film Doctor Ignarantia on YouTube. It was made in 1982. Danny and I play Ignatz’s friends who freeload and steal his beer and food. We’re also in the dream sequence. My friend Sharon pointed out how great it was to hear Danny laugh. We were 23 or 24. We’re about 8 minutes into the film.
Check it out-------
Everyone’s been thinking about what would be a fitting tribute. I intend to get his work out there which should speak for itself.
I would like to propose “Perform a random act of kindness for Fojammi” in whatever way works for you. Danny would not have approved of anything that caused stress.
Something small and beautiful------ like Danny.
Pics are----Danny's original referee profile pic for the St. Louis Arch Rivals---- Wax Theatricks plays Webster College Halloween '81 or '82---- the back cover of our last LP---- Danny's groomsmen at Graham Chapel-Wasington University. I think this was late '80s. Check out the flare bottom tuxes. Left to right---- Tracy Wynkoop, Dominic Schaeffer, Jimmy Voss, Fojammi, 2 guys I don't know (one of which is Laura's brother), and me---- Fojammi, Joanie Thomas, Stephen Martin and me circa 1985.