In the words of Ryan Adams, “…In essence, what a person loves is what they are”. I love music, and I feel that I am the music I love, as psychotic and obsessive as that may seem to some. And that’s why the news of the shocking passing of bassist Chris “Spacewolf” Feinstein hit me so deeply. Because in a certain kind of way, I am part of the Cardinals. We all are. Everyone who has ever driven (or flown) out to see a show, knows the significance of red and blue cave shows, the plateau, DJ Reggie, and Halloweenheads knows Spacewolf. And I would never claim that the grief felt by his fans is anywhere near fully shared with his family and friends, but I do feel grief.
Chris Feinstein was there when I saw the Cardinals for the very first time. I flew to Vancouver alone, found my place in line amongst truly wonderful strangers, and saw what was my first dream gig ever, and still one of the very best and most magical life-changing moments of my life. I remember watching this band on stage, their musicianship, their brotherhood, their inside jokes and cameraderie, and I felt a sense of pride and community; here was my favourite band, and I was sharing that moment with fellow fans who understood a true love of the Cardinals, and the band themselves.
Again, one year later, another dream gig; the Cardinals, Matt Costa and Oasis, this time shared with two of my very best friends, was a memory that was extraordinarily significant to me, so much so that its dreamlike energy seems unreal to me now, was shared with him. He was there, and I was watching, once again in awe of my favourite band; Ryan Adams, Brad Pemberton, Jon Graboff, Neal Casal, Chris “Spacewofl” Feinstein… those were the Cardinals. Without him, how could the Cardinals ever be the same? How could those pieces fit so neatly ever again?
Easy Tiger was an album that summed up 2007 for me; a year of peaceful surrendering and beating demons and sunshine. Cardinology was equally significant, coming along at an empowering time of my life that I always associate with that album and its single greatest quality; that of combined efforts by a group of friends making music together.
In short, both of those albums that Spacewolf helped create, both shows he played that I was lucky enough to be a part of, are me. They are a part of my life in a big way, they are deeply me.
To Chris Feinstein’s fans, friends and family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. I feel it. It’s in a very very very small way, my loss as well, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this man’s talents, good nature, efforts and musicianship.