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Eat Your Birthday Cake - For Alex

Marc Neibauer writes: 

Hi Mark,

Last week a childhood friend of mine passed away. Growing up, we played music together throughout elementary, middle and high school. Alex was one of my musical role models. I can remember Alex displaying a natural talent and ability to play the guitar and any instrument he could get his hands on. As time went by we grew apart.

Last week I got a call from an old friend, John. That particular day was an in service for Philadelphia school teachers. More or less this means you have a day to clean your room, attend professional development or twiddle your thumbs, as students had finished their school year only days earlier. Having nothing better to do, I got back to John on my phone and he broke the news immediately. Our childhood friend, Alex, had died only hours earlier.

Alex, John and I came up together right outside of Philadelphia. At around 12, Alex decided that we were going to start a band. Alex was going to sing and play guitar, John would play drums and I was going to play bass. We started out like every young band should - butchering Nirvana songs in garages, basements and occasionally in public.

Over the years, we grew into becoming a pretty decent metal band - decent for a couple of high school kids, I guess. I smile and cringe when I listen back to our records.

Alex was our leader and the creative force in the group. He could play all of our instruments as well as or better than any of us at that time. Supporting him and his songs, we cut two records, gigged more than most kids our age and learned some lessons about life and the music business (some good, some bad and some ugly).

The older we got, the more we grew apart. After high school, John joined the military, Alex went to college and I went off to music school. Alex was always strong willed, opinionated, defiant and something like the leader of the pack among us. Yet while John and I found a way to adjust and adapt to our new surroundings, Alex nearly fell apart a few short years later.

That phone call from John nearly knocked me over. The truth of the matter is that I’m full of regret for not reaching out to Alex in recent years. I had heard he was having problems but I was knee deep in my own struggles. A call from me probably wouldn’t have turned his life around or cleared his head, but I cannot help feel that I didn’t do enough. It only took one phone call to change my life last week.

This past week, I haven’t been able to do much but think about Alex. Writing this song has helped me cope. 

Lastly if you knew Alex you’d know this song just had to have an epic guitar solo. This one’s for you buddy. 

Alex, you are loved, and you are missed.


Read more Letters to YVYNYL

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  7. trapkeep reblogged this from eatyourbirthdaycake and added:
    A song my friend Marc wrote for a friend of his that passed away recently.
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