You Never Know When...

That day, Friday October 14th, took a serious nosedive. I was on the phone joking with a friend of mine. Suddenly, he had to drop for an incoming call. Shortly thereafter, I also received “the call”. My knees nearly buckled. I’d been standing in an airport parking lot feeling the warmth of the sun and suddenly the world seemed so cold.

One of my dearest friends, Joyce Sims had passed. I received the word from her husband. I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. She’s gone.

I’m not going to reflect on that now. Rather, I steady my thoughts with memories of our conversations over the past decades.

We talked about so many things. Naturally, we talked about music. The various singers, the musicians, the technologies, the business. The politics of our times, the ways of the world and the people who walk upon it. Best of all, I remember her laughter at the things that amuse us all.

I remember, one night I was up late watching a movie on cable that I’d seen  – jeez – I dunno how many times. It was “Species”. In one of the scenes, a red BMW rolls into the frame. The car radio is on. This one time, I actually listen to hear what’s playing on the radio. To my surprise, it was “Come Into My Life”. Next thought: “How come I never noticed that before?!?”

Soon after, I asked Joyce about that (we were discussing royalties and how artists don’t always receive them). She was like ‘yeah that’s me” (as in no big deal) in her typical down to earth way.

That’s my friend Joyce. Internationally known, industry recognized, uber talented musician and vocalist just as down to earth as anyone I’ve ever known. No pretense, no “attitude”, no conceit, none of that “I’m all that” vibe.

She’d relate experiences with the people who’d crossed her paths along the way with much respect. But she’d do it just as she would if mentioning the mailman dropped off the mail. Never to impress, just to relate.

Every year we’d wish each other happy birthday (ours are a week apart). No problem if belatedly because we knew it was the thoughts that count.

Her honesty and faith are examples for us all. I remember doing an illustration for a 12″ single once. It could’ve been better and I appreciated her honesty in letting me know. (The finished product was much better!! She let me know that too!).

She would send me her new tracks and I’ve had the honor to be the first to stream them on the ‘net. Some may think I was doing her the favor. No. I believe WBPM NetRADIO benefited much, much more.

She gave permission for me to stream my remix of “Wishing You Were Here” and explained why she liked it, going into the instrumentation, timing, levels etc.

We’d talk about the changes in tech, going from analog to digital, favorite tools, hardware and such. I remember her surprise when I told her I would sometimes play my basses through guitar effect pedals.

We talked about the news of the day, the world, the trends and the times. She was concerned about the wars and the pieces that were left behind.

Joyce was a fan of freedom, justice and love.

Now, looking back and knowing what I know, Joyce never ever complained. About anything. I could go on as I can’t say enough good things about her. So I’ll end with this:

Those of you who aspire, those of you who are inspired to attain, to those of you who dream, who wish or look forward to, know this: Joyce is an example of faith, humility, purpose, persistence, positivity and all those other good qualities we should embody if we are to be considered a real human being.

I will always keep her memory in a special place and I, like you, miss her already.



p.s.: I note the outpouring of response to the news and it is truly appreciated. But, I can’t help thinking – and this is not just about Joyce – beyond those who’ve always showed the love down through the years, why is it so easy to acknowledge someone after they leave us?