My friend Chris Loe was in the depths of chemotherapy induced depression when he called me and instead of asking me to give him a pep-talk or talk to him about how I beat a deadly form of cancer myself (the usual topic of our conversations); he told me he needed to get his mind off of everything and could I distract him with any stories I had from the interviews I conduct with famous musicians.
This wasn't like him at all. I heard the fear and the near panic in his voice. I did what he asked. I had just shot an interview with legendary bassist Doug Wimbish (Living Colour, The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Mos Def, Annie Lennox, Depeche Mode, James Brown, and countless others). Doug was one of his biggest influences as a musician and he owned a signature Doug Wimbish bass at the time.
I told him all about the interview and my conversations with Doug. Doug Wimbish is a musician's musician, a true gentleman and mentor, he's a rock star and sincerely one of the kindest, nicest, most professional and gifted people I've ever met.
Towards the end of the call I could tell Chris was feeling a little better. I asked him how his treatments were going, how his wife and kids were holding up. He broke down into tears and said he worried at times that he was just not special enough to make it.
It broke my heart. How do you tell someone in that horrible situation that they do matter? Chris was a music teacher who has taught and nurtured countless young musicians.
I got an idea... I got on the phone to every musician I knew. I emailed those I couldn't reach. I briefly told them about Chris, a teacher, a father, a truly giving and loving person, and how as our brother in music, he needed us.
I asked that each musician simply write a quick note on a sheet of paper. Something simple, like "You Will Win"- and take a photo of themselves performing or in the studio or where-ever - with that image.
I then planned on putting them on a webpage as a surprise for Chris, to show him that he has made a difference and he does matter.
I asked Doug Wimbish if he could do one of these photos, to which he immediately responded "Absolutely!" He was in the middle of recording a new Living Colour album while he was touring with Ms. Lauryn Hill. He had no free time and was exhausted when I spoke with him.
A week went by and I started getting emails with photos... from Dirty Ray (Bret Michaels Band), Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), Abe Millet (Third Eye Blind), Dave Moody (Billy Ray Cyrus), Actress and Musician Jessica Pimentel (Orange is the New Black), Marty O'Brien (Methods of Mayhem, We Are The Fallen), and many, many more.
But nothing from Doug. I hated bothering him, knowing how busy he was, so I sent his wife a quick email. I knew how amazing a photo from Doug would be for Chris.
It was 3am on East Coast when Doug texted me and said he had just sent me an email. What he sent me - blew me away. He sent a video instead of a photo. In the video he told Chris to keep fighting and once he was better, he invited Chris to come to a Living Colour concert as his guest and join the band on stage. Doug was exhausted and I could tell he was dead tired - but he took the time to make a video for Chris.
To see the page I created and the professional musicians who contributed photos and videos to show Chris support (over 80) - visit this page - http://www.spectorcentral.com/chrisloe.html