Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fojammi






Sunday before last, after posting my blog, I went to my studio at Fojammi’s house. His home is a large, converted convent and my studio is in the chapel.

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-------

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2TEsALEsXU

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.

7 comments:

Tony Patti said...

I can't really express the feeling that finding out his laptop was stolen gave me. It is such a betrayal, it is a desecration beyond any I've ever heard of. I thought about letting people know, on facebook and everything else, but in a way, it's a death of his immortality, a death of what should always remain. I'm still too upset about it to think.

Susie said...

I've never met Danny, but his death touched me in a way that surprises me. I guess it's because of the love that you and Dom have for him. My heart breaks for you, his family and other friends. The good new is that there are many significant and joyful ways to keep his memory alive.

Dorothy said...

David, that is awful news about the laptop being stolen. One can only hope it is making some kind of strange, beautiful and philosophic journey through various hands that Danny would approve of..... If Danny, in parting, had anything to do with it, we know it will. Also, your words are beautiful. I know that feeling of anger, thinking the world should just stand still, while the one we love ebbs away, and we stand in sorrow. Wishing you peace, and looking forward to more wonderful Danny stories in the days to come. Dede

Carl Weingarten said...

David, this is the first I am hearing about this. I'm really sick about the news. I've met a lot of great, crazy, creative and wonderful people, but Danny was among the most unique and creative of those spirits. He was a brilliant man with an unending creative drive, and a beautiful human being. I'm so glad I got to see him on my last visit. peace to you, his band mates and family. --Carl

...Sharon said...

...such a sweet request.
oxo
-sharon

ps... his spectre, his energy is real and with you now.

Walter Whitney said...

Just like Carl W. I just heard the news and didn't even know he was sick, which makes me regret my neglect at keeping in touch with old friends. As we get older we enter a land where we start loosing our friends due to time and unforseen occurence. It's bad enough when they are 80 or 90 but when they go way too soon as is the case here it really hurts. Danny was such a positive creative spirit with a quirky sense of humor and vibe that always said "let's do something wonderful today" I sincerly believe that someday I will see him again and I really hope that his family and friends also believe that. I will do a random act of kindness in his honor! Take care all! Walter Whitney

Anonymous said...

David and Patrick have lost so many of their friends in the last couple of years. Lora Steffan was a dear friend of many years duration. In the couple of weeks before Danny's demise, I said to David, "I should be getting used to the idea. I don't know why it's so hard."

He replied, "It's because he's one of the kids."

Yes.

David and Patrick's Mom