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Someone – a friend – is walking beside you, and suddenly he falls away – he’s no longer there, his existence has stopped, on the physical plane you’re never going to meet that friend again. Tom Komárek was such a friend, and since learning of his death yesterday I feel like a well of sadness and pain has opened up inside me. Why, you might ask, with all the evil bastards in the world, does one of the brightest, sweetest, most intelligent souls around have to die in a stupid accident at the age of 33? I’m kidding, of course – I don’t expect an answer to that one. And I don’t know if the guy was a genius, or not, but he looked a bit like Arthur Rimbaud, and had the Richard Hell attitude down pat. I’m proud of the two CDs I did with his band, Secret 9 Beat. Tom’s songs were fantastic. Hip and street-wise, original and witty, the lyrics worked really well in English. His knowledge about music was enormous, his journalistic writing on a par with that of his rock critic role models, Nick Kent and Lester Bangs (who himself died aged 33). He almost single-handedly changed the face of the Czech music scene through his writing in Rock & Pop, where he turned a love affair with New York and Detroit punk into something like a movement. He’d call me up at the oddest times, raving about some new band, or some interview he’d just done – it might have been anyone from Suicide to Carlos Santana. Always turning me on to something new, always giving, always imparting. So much talent, so much promise, so much beauty gone to waste. No one to bullshit on the phone with anymore; no more crazy, Rabelaisian stories; no more great punk-pop-thrash songs; no more drunken nights in Žižkov pubs. No one to swap music and books with; no one to get enthusiastic about; no more wit and intelligence to enjoy; no more Tom.

Tom Komarek - musician and writer - 28.06.1980 - 16.07.2013

Phil Shoenfelt, Prague, July 18th, 2013