Beautiful words from Jeff, posted on his myspace page:
Here I sit just short of 24 hours since receiving the most devastating news of my life, as anyone who has experienced loss of this magnitude, you know words are never enough to express the pain, hurt & emptiness of losing someone so close. I have been playing Talisman music for the past few hours now & I just felt compelled to write, in need of this as a therapy of sorts…its what I do…I write. Whether it be lyrics for songs or ideas based on mine or others experiences. I didn’t mean to write as a blog but as my brain is processing what I need to get off my chest, I realize it might be something to share with the rest of the world who are interested in my thoughts & feelings about my dear friend, Marcel Jacob.
It’s a strange coincidence that another musical influence who broke my heart in his passing shared the same initials, 2 MJ’s lost within a month from each other!
It’s all slowly sinking in as the 1st hours of getting the news about Marcel were spent calling those who were close to us, those who needed to know before the word spread like wildfire on the internet or even through the miniscule world of music. I was the appointed one to do this since I was not only linked to Marcel the closest musically but also personally, especially in the past years & even days.
Marcel was battling many years of health matters, most of which puzzled doctors as well as all of us. It started a few years ago with major back pains that led to unbearable torture in doing the simplest things like sitting & walking, forget about picking up his bass or touring. He seemed to overcome it little by little but other things set in such as feeling lethargic, sensing he could faint out of nowhere from simply standing still to losing complete equilibrium. He was never one to moan & groan, play the sympathy card for his personal grievances so most had no idea he was going through this. But much in how dogs who are suffering in pain or are on the verge of passing will go find a corner to hide in & be on their own until they get through their ailment or pass, Marcel lived his last years this way. He became sheltered, passive & somewhat of a hermit to most of his friends. Only his family were his strength as they always were, but I know he just didn’t want to burden others with his plight. My 1st indication of this was back in late 2005 when a few asked where he’d been, had we spoken, etc., They showed concern something was wrong & since I was swamped with career oriented items, I hadn’t been in too much contact with him but knew I had to reach out. We finally had long discussions about all he was enduring but I knew the 1 thing that would lift his spirits is to put the band back in the studio & let him do what he does best, create new Talisman music!
We blasted out one of our best albums to date, ‘7’ (appropriately titled as our 7th studio album), & I saw my friend come back to life, if only for a moment. I knew the next stage would be to get us back on stage but he displayed concern his body would not hold up & didn’t want to risk it. As timing would have it, I started with Journey weeks after the album was mixed (2006) & the release was delayed until a time it made sense for this album to finally come out where I would be free to help promote it. He seemed to be getting stronger physically then, although personal dramas continued to surround & haunt him including financial matters. I actually presented him my share of the Talisman advance as since I was with Journey I knew I was more financially secure & he could use it more than I would. We announced our Farewell Tour in 2007 & I couldn’t be more right on this, if I only knew how true to the sense it would be! I wish now we had made the proper adjustments & planning to include all members of the main line up as it would have been the proper ‘farewell’ to the fans.
Marcel saved my skin much in the same way many years ago, this is when I knew I had a brother & not just someone with a musically ventured interest or even someone looking to make a buck. In 1991, I was going through a divorce & was financially strapped. I was still a young pup to the industry so the doors weren’t necessarily being kicked down for me then, naturally I was still in the starving musician category. Marcel came over to visit some friends in LA, just a simple social visit. This was a year after the Talisman debut album was released & we’d done some touring throughout Sweden but I stayed on with the band Eyes (of which Marcel played bass on as well) as there was a lot of hope things were about to take off. I sat with Marcel & explained how desperate things were, I had no money to get to the next step & had no idea what was next. We then reminisced for hours about the tour & album which led me to say ‘I wish we could do some more’. He was taken aback as he thought the 1st album was truly a one off & that I wasn’t interested in continuing. When I convinced him how serious I was, he asked if he could use the phone…within 2 hours he confirmed a new album (which would be Genesis) & secured me a monetary advance on our publishing from our good friend Hans Desmond at Warner Chappell Music Publishing. He snapped his fingers & made it happen, lifted my spirits & set the course for the future of a band that would have been celebrating it’s 20th anniversary next year, 2010.
I have to reflect further before continuing this, if not only for me but also it makes for interesting reading to those who loved this band & our partnership. When Marcel & 1st met in 1984, it was when Yngwie Malmsteen was just solidifying his latest incarnation of Rising Force. He & I couldn’t be more different, in fact, we didn’t really get along too well mainly because of musical issues. Back then, Marcel found it difficult to respect someone who didn’t share his views on musical integrity which translates to, if you listen to crap you must be crap, haha. I loved things like Motley Crue, Ratt, Prince & Maiden, he loved Thin Lizzy, Purple, Rainbow & the more Classic Rock stuff so we clashed heads instantly. Naturally we had ‘some’ musical similarities but then even personalities didn’t mesh as I was just a naïve, young, red blooded American with no sense of culture or experience outside of my world. He was the typically strong-headed European with nothing but criticism on how things were done in the US…naturally through the years we both learned, absorbed & accepted what both worlds had to offer!
I left Yngwie’s fold in 1985, then again in 1987, Marcel abruptly left in ’86 & got back on his feet in Sweden with John Norum, who was embarking on a solo career after splitting from Europe. In ’99, I finally heard from Marcel after not speaking for a few years, again, we were never really close but it was his departure from Norum that led to calling me for a solo album he was working on called ‘Guitars On Fire’. He originally asked Goran Edman from Norum’s band (later to join Yngwie’s band) to sing on it but Goran said he would be staying on with Norum & didn’t want to upset him by moonlighting with Marcel. That’s where I come in. It was nice to hear from him & cool that he wanted me to sing on this album but I was locked into an exclusive contract with Eyes & knew there was no way I could do this album. Just to recap the Eyes thing, we had signed our publishing off as well as got no monetary advance (only studio time as they owned the complex) in exchange for having a deal as this was the ONLY one on the table for us. So I was broke & wanted to the opportunity to earn my keep as I had a wife & 2 year old son at the time. I pleaded with the label to allow me to do this album as it was a one off with an old friend, on a tiny label in Stockholm which would probably sell a few hundred copies within the parameters of the owned territory in Sweden. They resisted at 1st until I reminded them I am working my ass off for no money & how else could I pay my bills if they weren’t offering any assistance. They finally did & the rest is history. Guitars On Fire was changed to Talisman & the rest is history, a new partnership that would extend to the next 20 years was set & Marcel would become one of my best friends, period!
Now fast forwarding to this year, 2009, I found my friend in the same if not worse predicament as in ’05. Once again, I knew…I felt I had to reach out to him as the only way to bring him out of this hole was to insist it was time for a new Talisman album. I asked him initially to join me in appearing in some videos I was shooting for the new W.E.T. project I had just completed & since the ‘T’ of the bands name comes from ‘Talisman’, it would make sense for him to appear with me representing ‘our’ band. From that I talked him into a new album, which we would have been starting in August for an early Spring release in 2010. I am so glad now I got him to appear in these videos with us, it is the last moving visuals of him holding & playing his bass! While shooting the videos, we took a day to meet with Jamie Borger, our 3rd & other longtime member of the band to discuss timing as well as agree on having my recent guitarist from my solo band, Jorge Salan, join us for this new installment of Talisman. As of mid July, a slight delay came about in starting things up but I spoke to him the night before his passing about how we would get through them & forge ahead accordingly…I was to hear from him in a few days to discuss budgeting instead I was given a blow to the head that my friend simply gave up!
He didn’t sound disparaged when we spoke the night before he left us, not any more than I have experienced in the past…he hid behind this mask of pain all too well. We even joked about things, 1 of them being a running gag about ‘how we aint quite what we used to be’ in regards to getting older & things not working the way they did when we were reckless kids. I knew he was having difficulty with his fingers, with his attention to detail as a player which really put a huge spike into his confidence. As musicians we always want to be better than we were, but the idea of not even being as good as we once were is a huge blast to our egos. It now makes sense though, I cant help but think Marcel was creating new material for us & reailty hit him that he couldn’t live up to the standard of how he played & wrote in the past. All he ever wanted to do was play music, to create songs & be on a stage somewhere but I think his fingers & his body gave up on him. I never got hear any of the new ideas as we were going to finish them together, much in the same way we did the Humanimal album back in 1994. Instead of going to Sweden next week to work with my friend again, I will be going there to bury him.
I still have a ‘christmas list’ of emotions that continue to hit me in waves, so many ‘what if’s, how’s & why’s’ which I know will continue to haunt me for some time to come. One thing that is helping tremendously aside of the support & love from those who were close to him/us is seeing the floodgates of condolences from the fans all over the world. If Marcel only knew, if he could only see what the past 24 hours have generated from those who loved his music & his playing, I truly believe he would have been able to hang on to life. I thank you ALL for the pouring of comfort during this time. I am trying to stay strong for his family, friends & fans alike. This little blog is a mere tip of the iceberg of what I COULD write, of what I feel, but it has helped me remember him the way I always will, a man with strong convictions, musical ability like no one I have ever known & passion for doing the one thing he always wanted to do, play his bass. No one, and I mean NO ONE can play how he did in my eyes. He reinvented how to treat the bass guitar in a song/band. His signature sounds was in every song he played on. His style will be an influence for centuries to come, he had no idea how inspiring he was to so many, I am only happy to live to see it myself & continue to uphold what he left behind for us to enjoy forever.
I have said in many an interview through the years, as long as Marcel & I are alive, there will always be a Talisman…I never thought I would live to see the demise of the band under these circumstances! My eyes are welling up as I try to wrap this up, seems the more I write, the easier it is to help me realize he is gone. But as the end of any song, any book or lyric, it makes you realize there is a fade to black coming. I miss you my friend, my ‘partner in crime’, I miss you Marcel!