"The Lost Refrain"

 

I just found out that Charlie Chesterman, the frontman of Boston-based roots-rock pioneers Scruffy the Cat and the Legendary Motorbikes, lost his long battle with cancer in November and died at age 53. Although I just heard the news today, I must say that it has hit me pretty hard.

I didn’t know Charlie personally, although I did interview him for Amplifier magazine when his solo record, Studebakersfield, was released in 1996. At the time, I naively assumed that Charlie was a gainfully-employed musician and was a bit surprised to learn that our conversation would take place while he was on his lunch break from his job at a picture frame company. No matter his main source of income, Charlie’s love of music and enthusiasm for life was evident throughout the course of our chat.


My previous band, the Marlowes, had the privilege of opening for Scruffy sometime in the 1990s at the Living Room in Providence, R.I. They had just driven straight from Nashville to make the gig and although I could see the strain of every mile on their faces when they crawled out of their van, the entire band, especially Charlie, was more than willing to share some road stories and even thanked us for opening the show for them. Trust me, as the opening act for many national acts during that time, we were rarely thanked for anything! I still recall that encounter fondly and whenever I find myself sharing a bill with another act, I try to show the same respect that the Scruffy boys’ did to us during our salad days.

Do yourself a favor seek out a copy of Tiny Days or Moons of Jupiter and discover why Charlie’s music is so lasting and influential.

A fund has been established at http://www.gofundme.com/552yw8 to help provide a cushion for Charlie’s wife, Juliann, and children Clementine and Woolsey. Please consider giving.

Thanks for the music, Charlie. May you find eternal peace.

 

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