Home > Uncategorized > RIP Mike Lambert – the “possessor of the magic touch…”

RIP Mike Lambert – the “possessor of the magic touch…”

lamdogMy friend Mike Lambert passed away last night. Musicians in NEPA are a pretty tight lot. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody supports everybody else. But I don’t think I’ll get an argument in saying that nobody was more supportive than Mike Lambert. And nobody had more friends.

Mike was one of those rare people who went eye-to-eye with you. If you were talking with him, you were the only person in the room. He wasn’t pretending. He genuinely gave a shit. And this is why today so many people aren’t just saying, “I knew Mike Lambert”. They’re saying “I was friends with Mike Lambert.” The difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

Because in allowing us to make that connection, he gave us a glimpse into how special he was. (He’d probably look at me over the top of his Lennon glasses like I was nuts if I told him that, which is probably why I never did.)

A monster talent it goes without saying. He could make 6 strings cry or scream, depending on his mood or the size of his amp. He could play just about anything. When most folks think about the Allman Brothers they think Greg or Duane. But cats in NEPA think “Lamdog”. He’s been gracing NEPA stages since before anybody knew who U2 or REM were….and nailing Peter Buck’s and Edge’s guitar parts the whole time. You remember The Bratz? Of course you do. Because you danced to them. And drank to them. And rolled home with their volume in your ears. And told your friends…”you’ve got to see this band…” If they weren’t the best they’ll surely do until somebody tells me who the best was.

He knew when to play, and he knew when not to play. He had taste, in other words. Of course you could learn from listening…..but for me it was even better to watch. He was, to quote the great Fairport Convention song “Come All Ye”…..the ” possessor of the magic touch…”

We talked about making a record together. He recorded a song of mine called “Old Chairs”, a performance I treasure. He’d send me text messages asking me when I was gonna write another song for him and I’d tell him…”it’s coming man…I got one coming..”

I waited too long.

A lot of us feel shitty tonight. My hands started shaking when I got the news…..and carrying on at work today was impossible. So I bailed and sat in my car for about an hour….then took an extra long way home. I played the Allman’s “Jessica” in the car to keep me company. The song seems sacred now. It made me feel better. Music always does.

Regrets? Hell yea. That’s normal. I don’t think many of us did for Mike what he did for us. And that’s not really a knock on us, but sorta lights up the fact that the rascal set the friendship bar pretty fucking high. And oh what I wouldn’t give for a do-over about now.

But to me the mark of a true friendship is being able to say…”I’m a better person for knowing Mike Lambert”. Shit, that’s easy. I sure as hell am. And I think I can speak for my fellow NEPA musician brothers and sisters in saying that you are too. Mike Lambert didn’t just say hello. He said….”How the hell are you?….and actually waited for the answer. He didn’t just shake your hand and walk away….he hugged you and told you how great it was to see you. And when he got up and played he damn near made you cry.

Cliches are cliches because they are mostly true. So when I say don’t wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today, I fucking mean it. Because there’s no guarantees. If you want to hug someone stand up and hug them. If you want to know how somebody is doing, walk over and ask them. If you’re wondering how to play that lick in “Little Martha”, ask the guy who’s up there playing it flawlessly before he packs up and leaves.

Because if you miss out, it hurts like hell.

There’s a few lines from “Old Chairs” that seem so suddenly sad now..

How many hearts come here to live
how many beggars come here to give
from what I can see
trying to separate me…from you
take me away from you

Old chairs pass through hands
making other plans
generations on the wall
high wire act for one and all
’round here

Good night Michael. Thank you for everything…

–tf

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

    beautiful

  2. Brenda Conlon
    August 19, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Beautiful tribute 💔

  3. Vince brunetti
    August 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Well said

  4. August 19, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Very nice. 🙂

  5. Elaine Hercher
    August 19, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Perfectly said. The world has lost a beautiful being. I wish you Peace Mike.

  6. Dianne Lambert Granahan
    August 19, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Thank you , you captured the spirit that was and is my brother Mike

  7. Lisa Malos
    August 19, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    peace

  8. michele lyman
    August 19, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Beautiful tribute!

  9. August 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    omg! i cried reading that.i used to see the bratz all the time at heil’s..i worked with mike when he worked at the spectrum gym…jesus received a down to earth, very talented soul…heaven is rockin’ for damn sure!!!

  10. Jan
    August 19, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I didn’t know Mike Lambert but after reading this I wish I did, I missed out for sure.

  11. August 20, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Thank you for making my night so much better compared to my very sad, shitty day at work where every single day I would see My Friend Mike Lambert on hall duty. I would always say Mikie my man how’s it going today? He would always have a cool, laid back reply and we would share a good laugh. I took his picture on the last day of school in June as he was swiping a brownie from my classroom. He wanted that to be his new picture for the yearbook.

  12. August 20, 2015 at 5:43 am

    loved the man dearly

  13. August 31, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Tom, very sorry for your loss man. I didn’t know him well, but he did record at the studio a few times during my tenure there, and seemed like a nice guy. Wiggy always spoke highly of him. Hope all is well with you otherwise.

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