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Smiley Smile Stuff => General On Topic Discussions => Topic started by: rn57 on April 12, 2019, 10:08:52 AM

Title: Gary Stewart RIP
Post by: rn57 on April 12, 2019, 10:08:52 AM
This morning news came of the sudden death of Gary Stewart, longtime employee of Rhino Records (first at its store, later at its label as A&R head and Vice President) and for the last 14 years working at Appleís iTunes.

His career is on topic here because he was involved in every appearance of a BBs track on a Rhino compilation...not to mention those two three inch CDs of BBs music he put together in the late 1980s.

One of the all time great record men, as they used to call Ďem, and a very good guy. RIP.

gives some background on his career up to the time he joined Apple.

Title: Re: Gary Stewart RIP
Post by: Don Malcolm on April 12, 2019, 04:18:38 PM
Shocking news...I remember Gary from my days at Rhino in the mid-late 70s. He was the gangly kid obsessed with rock'n'roll and the local music scene who talked his way into a job and went on to be a guiding force in what became a valuable (and lucrative) reissue series. An immensely likable guy, huge Elvis Costello fan (this was at the time of his emergence, which was genuinely exciting to many at the time)--I remember conversations upon my return to Rhino in '77 about the strange goings-on with the BBs and his evolving enjoyment of Pacific Ocean Blue (I remember encouraging him to keep playing it, which he did).

From another co-worker who also had a lengthy career in the record industry comes the sad detail that Gary took his own life. Apologies if some might find the following too maudlin, or to contain too much detail, but it may be of some value to those with friends who suddenly manifest symptoms of depression:

"I met Gary Stewart circa 1975, when I was a clerk at Rhino Records, and he was a customer.  We became close friends pretty quickly, and eventually I was able to convince him to leave his job at McDonalds (he was a management trainee) to join us at the Rhino store.  Gary had confided in me about his struggles, and I wanted to write this for his friends. 

Just so everyone knows, Gary knew how much he was loved. He may have brushed it aside when told so, but he knew it. A few months ago at lunch we had a very frank discussionóhe was depressed, lamenting not having a job, relationship, having spent too much of his Apple money and not knowing what the next chapter of his life was. He was obviously suffering, but didnít sound remotely without hope.  I emphasized to him how unique and employable he was, knowing an impossibly lot about music, and having come from Apple, and that there would be many companies that would want to know about their inner workings. We spent a long time brainstorming ideas for a new job (he took notes), and he referred to his next chapter in subsequent email as Gary 4.0.  I invited him to write something for my blog which he wanted to do and was working on. I told him again and again how beloved he was and how much good karma he had.  He also told me that he owned his house and had enough money for at least 10 or 15 years, and that he was cutting back on going out and spending to make it last.  He was fully engaged in finding solutions to his issues, and wrote me the next day "And yes, I know just how ok I am-and how much, on every level, I've got-I always have really.Ē  A week or so later he wrote apologized for not getting the blog post to me sooner, saying he was working on it and íthatís on top of two networking calls/meetings a day-with exercise and meditating thrown in for good measure.'

I followed up with him regularly; he went on a meditation retreat (which he didnít love that much, but was doing more meditating on his own), and he was definitely getting mental health care. He alluded to a medical thing, but told me it wasnít serious, and that he was fine. 

Last week we had dinner, went to see the Rolling Stones Rock Ďní Roll Circus film in a theater, and sat in the lobby for an hour or so afterward talking. He was again upfront about what was going on, seemed to be somewhat better, and said he was. We talked about ketamine being approved for depression, and he was going to ask his therapist about it.  I am pretty sure he told me he was seeing his psychiatrist the next day and was going to discuss changing his anti depressant, but Iím not positive about that.  We discussed and I sent him a link to an Israeli film on a study where PTSD survivors were dramatically helped with MDMA/ecstasy. He wrote me an email this Monday telling me he really enjoyed it, and how it gave him a deeper understanding into a similar therapy a friend of his had tried.

Iím writing this to let his friends know that Gary knew he was depressed, had reached out to me, and Iím sure to others, was talking about it, trying to find a solution, and getting mental health care.  In no way did I think he was suicidal, but obviously I was wrong. But he was doing his best to try to help himself.  Gary was always working on himself, trying to be a better person, of service to his friends and humanity at large. 

I loved Gary and always will. In my modern Buddhist worldview, reincarnation isnít about being reborn into a new body.  Itís about how the departed continue to live on in those they loved, taught, or touched in some way, and how their energy is carried forward by those they leave behind.   I canít think of anyone who put more great energy into the world, and so Gary will be reincarnated in each of us."

RIP Gary--you left us too soon.

Title: Re: Gary Stewart RIP
Post by: CenturyDeprived on April 13, 2019, 12:52:15 AM
 I did not know the man, but reading these posts, and other posts around the web makes me deeply sad. Clearly he was a really good man. RIP.

Title: Re: Gary Stewart RIP
Post by: adamghost on April 13, 2019, 01:11:29 AM
I did know Gary, though not nearly well enough to know the struggles he was going through. I wish I had known, because I've gone through some of the same inner struggles, found some solutions to them, and I would have shared them gladly with him. It may not have done any good - probably not - but I really wish I would have had the chance. I had no idea he took his own life, though I understand very well why a fulsome amount of love and respect were not enough to fill that hole, and that the things that had kept him going for so long were no longer sufficient. I get it, completely.

The guy was just a complete mensch. Besides his work with Rhino, everybody in the independent music community owes him a huge debt as a patron. He supported many of us fulsomely and wholeheartedly and singlehandedly kept a few bands going through some tough times. He was just a very, very good man. Although he was, as I've already said, a casual acquaintance - I wouldn't quite presume to have called him a friend, because he had so many - this news has hit me harder than many other similar recent events. His loss will be keenly felt.

Thank you for the very insightful and illuminating post to help us better understand what happened.