The first track on my album THOSE WHO SURVIVED is a sound collage I created in honor of my deceased friend Will Fridlin.
Will was a dude I palled around with during my stint living in Atlanta 1996-1997. We lost touch but the memories of that winter always stuck with me in a super intense and vivid way. Learning of Will’s passing was very heavy because I always thought we would meet again and have more great times and conversations. Even a year after his death I still find myself a bit more affected that I’d expect to be. We only hung out for a few months and we never saw each other again after May 1997. For those many years we didn’t talk I always felt a little reassurance that he was out there – a flash of magic dotting the continent far away but still shining.
I hope I preserved a tiny bit of Will’s magic and the time of our friendship together in my music. Here’s the pieces of “For Will” and how they fit together.
This is a sample of my song “Too Much Love” from my 1997 album JEREMY’S WONDERLAND. After a big fight I wrote this song for Will, recorded it on my 4 track, made a cassette, printed out a lyric sheet, and couldn’t wait to go play it for him.
When I did he looked at me and said “I don’t deserve this”. The lines you can hear “I love trains they don’t got no town…you’re a lot like them no one can hold you down” are used a couple more times throughout THOSE WHO SURVIVED. During his memorial service Will’s friend Molly quoted those lines.
This is a sample of the song “Untitled” by the band Necrolust, which Will fronted. The screaming you hear is Will himself. This song was released on a compilation called “Audio Terrorism: The Soundtrack For Weirdness And Blind Hostility”
I remember a day I truly considered joining Will on a train jumping adventure across the United States. That’s why I put the train whistle here. I often wonder “what if…” Every time I see a train or hear one I think of Will.
Will drove this huge beat-up brown car. It was always a bit frightening because the car was so huge and he was so tiny. We had some great times cruising the Atlanta highways and listening to music. Will’s favorite at the time was a live performance of Erin Johns captured on cassette for Will’s sister Melissa. After Will passed away I found Erin’s music online and her voice was a direct portal to times lost and missed. This is a sample of Erin Johns singing.
While living in Atlanta I worked at WalMart and this beautiful song would play over the speakers. This was 1996 – just before the internet made life so easy. Eventually I tracked down the song to be “Love Thy Will Be Done” by Martika.
I was super stoked when I found the CD with this song and I played it for Will. One of our greatest debates was over which Martika song was the classic – I said “Love Thy Will Be Done” and Will said “Toy Soldiers”. I inserted a sample of “Toy Soldiers” here. Will, you win.
A turning point in me and Will’s friendship came the night we drove down to Florida. Necrolust was playing a house show in Gainesville and Will invited me to tag along. I don’t remember many details – but I just remember I was a bitch the entire trip and we fought the entire time. My memories of that night we always burnt orange and hazy. A white house. A grassy driveway. Nearly an overwhelming feeling of remorse and terror.
Last July (2015) my friends Chris and Caitlyn assisted me in locating that house. It was a full moon when we pulled up. The house looked just as I remembered it but there were no sweaty kids screaming through the windows. Just silence and the moon. I broke down.
The sample you hear here is some crowd noise taken from a video shot at that very house show in March 1997 – at the Cuban Embassy house in Gainesville Florida. Can you hear Will’s voice in that crowd? Can you hear mine?
It found myself wishing I could go back in time and tell my 22 year old self to stop pouting on the back porch of the Cuban Embassy house – to chill out and enjoy the moment – because I wouldn’t return for 18 years and Will would be gone.
Our main meeting spot was a 24 hour diner in Atlanta called Dunk N Dine. There was a jukebox, a four-fingered waitress named Wanda, and another sassy waitress named Vera. Will would play “Freebird” on that jukebox three times in a row or more. That’s Will’s song.
I had a really vivid dream about Will last night and I woke up feeling pretty sad. Here’s to you my friend.
Photo courtesy of Mary Z