The Shambles Band
Notes From Shambleland
On Monday night March 12th, 2018 we found out that my bandmate, guitar hero and friend Dave Rehm had passed away suddenly. I have so much to say, but don't know how to say it. First of all, thank you to all who have reached out to me and sent condolences. It means a lot and I'm sorry that I've only gotten back to a few of you. Also thank you to everyone who wrote moving tributes and memorials of Dave on facebook. They were all so nice and heartfelt and perfect for him. Every one. I almost don't know what to say that hasn't already been said.
I met Dave during the Summer of 2000. I was in the band that would become Whiskey Lipstick and we did not have a bass player for our first show at a party with The Shambles. So Dave filled in on bass for us. I had written out cheat sheets for all of our songs for him. It turned out that they didn't have a bass player for the party either, so I filled in for them. All original songs and I had only heard one before. I remember asking him for some kind of clue as to what I would be playing and he said something to the effect of, "Don't worry about it, it's all easy stuff, E, A, B, some riffs, you'll figure it out". And that was my trial by fire as bass player for the Shambles. I eventually joined the Shambles permanently in the fall of 2001 and through 16+ years that's pretty much how he taught me all of his songs! No cheat sheets, no telling me how the song goes, no "let's sit down and work this part out together". It's always just "F@$% it, let's jam, you'll figure it out". But the thing is, as good as he was and as bad as I may have been early on, he never stopped encouraging me, telling me I was great even when I wasn't.
      Talk about a guy who "wouldn't hurt a fly", well, that was Dave......seriously! I think he would sooner spend half a day chasing a fly out of his house rather than just kill it with a fly swatter and be done with it. I heard from a few sources that a few weeks ago he was putting water out for a bee at work! When Pam and I asked him to be in our wedding party, he went all in and cut his hair! At our reception, we got the DJ to play The Shambles' song "Hard Way To Rock" and Dave grabbed the mic, started singing along with himself and put on a show complete with hat and boa. We already had an outstanding wedding, but in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, Dave took the whole thing to the next level! I will always cherish that memory. I will also cherish the time he spent with me in the weeks and months after Pam died. He wasn't my counselor by any stretch of the imagination, but he kept me laughing and kept me sane and made me look forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays at rehearsals and Friday nights (and occasional Sunday afternoons) at the bar.
     I'm not going to lie and say that Dave was all sunshine, rainbows and beer farts. As a bandmate he could be frustrating. As I said earlier, I usually was on my own to figure out my parts in any given song. But also, with Dave, the songs were always changing. As soon as I thought I had one figured out, he would add a part, rearrange it or just play it differently somehow. I could play a song exactly as we had during the last practice and this time he would stop and say, "no man, it goes like this" and play something totally different. I'd question where that came from and he'd say, "oh, I added that this week". Songs would never be finished until we recorded them and then, he'd forget how they went. Why? Because he was beyond that song and working on the next one already. He even told me one time that it was his job to come up with this stuff and my job to remember it. A task I was always up for and took pride in. Playing live, I always like to have a well rehearsed, structured set. Dave liked to make it up as he went and keep things interesting. He liked to "fly by the seat of his pants" with live shows. I gotta admit, when he went off-script, dragging Tony and I with him, sometimes it made for some great stuff. When we were all in the zone, and Dave began playing some riff that just popped into his head and I could latch onto it and add my own thing and Tony would push along the beat, then Dave could solo away, we'd feed off each other's energy, anticipate spur of the moment changes just knowing what the other was going to do, well, that was pure magic. I have never seen ANY other band do what we would do and I'm proud to have been a part of it.
I've had some people ask about The Shambles and what will happen to the band. While I think it is premature to talk too deeply about that, it is something Tony and I have talked about this week. As I alluded to earlier, Dave's musical mind was always moving, always creating. Creating songs, licks, riffs, lyrics, chord progressions at a faster rate than we collectively could turn into songs, record and put onto CD format. Dave left behind dozens of songs recorded, but not released, written but not recorded, songs not completed, riffs without songs and ideas never realized. I think it is safe to say that, when the dust settles from the tragic loss of our friend, Tony and I will go through the archives and bring to fruition any and all of Dave's great musical ideas that he left behind. At some point, I'd like to see some sort of tribute show for him put together as well with our musician friends all taking a part and playing his songs in his honor. He deserves it.
I read a quote attributed to Waylon Jennings that went something like this: "We all die with our lives unfinished. The lucky ones have someone to complete it for them after they die". I can only hope and pray the God lets Tony and I live long enough to do that for Dave. I would consider that an honor.
Jesse Ruth

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