For most of you readers, Chris Fletcher is an alien name. For a select few, it’s a name we’re all too familiar with, though none of us ever associated it with anything else but catchy pop-rock sensibilities and a demeanor similar to Ben Gibbard. That’s why many of us were shocked upon hearing of his recent death. This past Tuesday, at his grandparent’s home, Fletcher passed away from undisclosed reasons. He was 25.
There’s a story here and one I’m sure even those closest to him won’t mind re-visiting…
A while back, we talked about five songs that no one had ever heard before. One of the bands mentioned on that list were a little known act out of Gainesville, Florida called The Most. For three solid years, the quirky quintet created an eclectic blend of intense musicianship, catchy melodies and all-around fun to behold on a typical Saturday night — or even a Monday morning. In plain hindsight (always existing in 20/20), the University of Florida never knew what it truly had in retrospect to these guys.
During our time at Florida State University, we played together in the band, The Pax Romana. From time to time, our band and The Most would perform together, both in Tallahassee and in Gainesville, and it always led to a great time full of happy people and just all around good music. Why the back story to such great times? Well, at the helm of The Most’s musical genius laid in the heart of its guitarist, Chris Fletcher.
After The Most bowed out in their hometown of Gainesville on January 11th, 2008, Fletcher and Co. parted ways to work on brand new projects. Lead singer Charlie Honderick went overseas for work, while Fletcher embarked on his own solo project, complete with guitar diddies and well-rounded compositions. For the past year or so, Fletcher worked on his debut album, Friends, Foes & Lovers. Throughout his work, he would frequently update his MySpace on the status of his record with anecdotes and tales from his personal perspective, some that would inevitably shape the record. On tunes such as “Crushed” and “A Tale Of Two Lovers”, Fletcher proved how great and underrated his abilities were as a guitarist and a composer. Fletcher gave his soul into his compositions and revealed a softer side to his otherwise social and rocking persona.
While the guitar inevitably became his weapon of choice for the composition of music, Fletcher bravely ventured into other aspects of music not many tread. His friendly demeanor, eloquent stage show and ferocious but subdued guitar playing will forever bind the man to his music and without question, his recent death has affected Mr. Roffman and I. What more fitting way than to pay tribute to a fallen musician and a great friend? You tell me. For now, enjoy the wonderful sounds of Chris Fletcher.
Editor’s Note: Shortly before they released their debut, Mostified, in fact at their album release party, I told Chris that I wasn’t too hot on “Believe in the Dream”, and that I felt it didn’t have the necessary punch that he promised. We would give each other shit for our songs sometimes. I would always let up, mostly because I’m self deprecating and hate about everything I do, but he’d never let up. In fact, he only said one thing, “Just give it time.” It’s still my least favorite song on the record (somewhere he’s shaking his fist at me), but something about his devotion to his own music really stuck with me.
Hell, why else would I be writing this, right? The thing is, Fletcher never doubted his music, not once, and there’s something to appreciate there. It’s just a shame things ended the way they did. In fact, earlier this year, I think I even put a Most reunion right above The Kinks on my never ending wish list. Hey, believe in the dream, right?
Let’s step outside the music for a minute. The truth is, we lost a friend. Sure, things might have been rocky towards the end there, but that’s why we’ll remember the good things, right? Those times when we’d share a beer after playing a set, debate about The Beatles, or help each other carry equipment to and from the venue. Sigh. Well Fletcher, you did it…you got me to shed some tears. Son of a bitch, man. We’ll miss you. A lot. It’s hard to think you’re gone and the realization won’t be easy to stomach, my friend. Charlie said it best, “I love you, and you, and you, and you”, and so on. We’ll keep firing in your name pal, but we won’t forget. Ever.