- Published: 20 February 2014
I usually use this blog to share my feelings and thoughts about living clean and sober in the weird world of rock n roll......
But, today I will share my feelings and story with you about my dear friend, Tommy Lund.
Tommy Lund was a very close friend of mine and many in this world that has left us too soon.
I met Tommy in 2009 while on tour in Europe. Our first meeting was at a club in Holland. He was very nice and excited and gave me his card. He had taken pictures and offered to send me the images in an email. I met Tommy again in 2010 at the Moulin Blues Fest in Holland. This time I knew who he was and he came back stage before the show. We spoke about music and such and really hit it off. He was very excited about me, my band and my music. He offered to help me in anyway possible with building my career in Europe. He told me he wrote for Bluesnews in Norway (where he is originally from) as well as other mags and online websites devoted to blues in Europe. He was also a tremendous photographer and always had his camera with him to capture the shows. We began to stay in touch regularly online through email and of course, Facebook. Every trip I made to Europe, Tommy found a way to get to a show and take pictures and write about the show or my new albums. It didn't take long for Tommy and I to become fast friends, not because he was offering to help me, but because we shared an awful lot in common. I was very happy that Tommy had taken an interest in helping me with my career, very grateful, but very happy to have a new, real friend. It is not easy to make friends later in life, you know what I mean. With family, work and such, you really don't get much time to find new friends and seek out people with similar interests, that is for the young.
I am not always a good friend. I am so busy with my touring and writing and 5 children, I do not always reach out to people or take time to ask how they are doing. I forget to write people back, call people back and that rubs some folks the wrong way. I understand. I just don't have as much time as I wish I had for a vibrant social life. Tommy was the kind of friend, who understood and didn't really care about all of that. He would work past my shit and keep plugging along in our friendship.
Within a year or so, I was talking with Tommy everyday, every week, via Facebook, Skype, text, emails, you name it! We loved a lot of the same music and he had a wide appetite for the arts. We both agreed that "reality" in art was most moving and really appreciated the artists that didn't hold back. The ones that shared it all and were themselves, not trying to put on a facade. We quoted Bruce Springsteen to each other and lines from 80's movies. Before I knew it, I had a new brother in life.
He really jumped into my career and took over posting on Facebook for me and starting my fan club, "Zito Nation" with my good friend Joan. The two of them became a force and worked together night and day to promote my music and new albums and endeavors. Tommy continued to attend any european tours he could and promote me like crazy. The BEST photo's I have of me performing live are from Tommy Lund. Tommy's photo of me at Moulin Blues became the photo of the Blues Music Award Nomination and Win in 2010 for "Pearl River". It was also the Fender Musical Instruments photo on their artist website. He got great shots of RSB and of me performing with Warren Haynes. All of this time over the past 5 years, we spoke everyday in one form or another. We joked, teased, laughed, argued (not really) and dreamed together. Tommy had this belief in me and in my music that I don't think I had. He convinced me that what I was doing was worthwhile and necessary. He encouraged me to let it all out. Every time I thought I was sharing enough with the world, Tommy told me I was holding back and needed to share more. He got me to believe in myself in the biggest way. He saw something in me that I did not see in myself and he made me a believer.
But Tommy did not just do this for me....... he did this for many, many great artists.
He was a TRUE BELIEVER. He saw through the shit and found the diamonds.
He promoted many new and unknown artists. He lived for turning people onto new music,
new art. He was a gentle, kind, sweet, warm and funny man who wanted world peace.
He pointed out when the world was wrong politically, racially, ethically and stood his ground.
He believed in the power of music and he was my friend.
Tommy was not well this past year.
His back was really hurting him and he had to stay in bed or laying down for quite a while.
He had a hard time walking or getting out and it really bothered him.
He couldn't get out to the shows like he wanted to, so instead he worked harder online,
bugging the shit out of me everyday!!! I miss that.....
We spoke so much that I took for granted our relationship. It would last for a long time I believed.
He was one of maybe 5 people that I spoke with everyday for the past 5 years.
The last I spoke with Tommy was on February 10, 2014.
Ironically that is 2/10 - 210 is a song I wrote that I have never recorded for fear that it was too personal, but Tommy LOVED and BEGGED me to put it out someday, now I guess I have to :)
He sounded weak. He told me his back was really bad and needed to stay in bed for months.
We laughed at how much that sucked and he said he would get through it.
We made plans for him to come on tour with me in the fall in Europe.
He was sweet and said he would get better soon. We laughed and said goodbye.....
I received a message on Sunday Feb 16th in the evening that Tommy Lund had passed away.
I was in shock and total disbelief......and then it hit me
He had not sent me a message in days, he had not texted me or called me. He had not posted anything online.......thats when I knew it was true.
Tommy Lund left us the week of February 10-16th. He died in his sleep.
It was of natural causes. He is being cremated and brought back to Norway to be buried with his grandfather, his hero.
Tommy was my same age.
He was funny and vibrant and strong.
He was a true believer in life and in music and the arts.
We laughed a lot, and he believed in me.
He encouraged me and promoted me.
He pushed through my wall and got very close to my heart.
We made plans to rule the world.
He was my friend and I miss him.
Tommy would not want us to cry or be sad.
He would want us to celebrate life, listen to music and especially take time to appreciate the lyrics. Seek out art in all forms and encourage others.
God bless your soul my brother. I know you are at peace in the warmth of the Spirit.
Please take time to look at Tommy's personal photography and writings: