Wednesday, September 19, 2007

R.I.P, Jeff Wood

I meant to make mention of this several days ago, but ... here's what I submitted as a comment to a local memorial site for Jeff, the barnburning rock drummer who passed away several days ago:

It's hard to believe that Jeff, such a powerful force of life, is gone, and that we're talking about him in the past tense.

I first got to know Jeff shortly after I moved to Tampa, in 1988. I watched him play with the Forgotten Apostles, The Fugitive Kind, Joe Popp and yeah, a million other area bands. He always blew me away with the sheer joyful exuberance and aggressiveness of his playing, not to mention his rock-solid sense of time.

I interviewed Jeff several times for the Tampa Tribune. Offstage, he was funny and outgoing, quick to turn every acquaintance into a friend.

Jeff played on a couple of tracks on the Liz Back on Booze tape. Later, we played and recorded together in a short-lived project called Thrive. I never had the opportunity to play out with Jeff. But, in rehearsals and in the studio, he was the most generous drummer a bass player could ask for, in terms of his creative ability to drive the music full-throttle AND send it off in unexpected directions. I always thought of Jeff as a mainstay of the TB rock scene, and I had hoped for his full recovery and return to music.

Here's hoping that his family realizes how much he meant to everyone, as a musician and a friend, and that his contributions to the scene won't be soon forgotten.

I attended the memorial on Monday night at a Methodist church in Brandon. It was great celebrating Jeff's life, and running into so many people I remembered from the rock/altrock scene of the late '80s/early '90s. But, naturally, it was quite a sad occasion. The service closed with a prayer given by Jeff's father. I can't imagine having the strength to do that.

To visit Joe Popp's Jeff Wood Tribute site, click here

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