Goodbye my Friend
Its been a number of months since Nick Munt, best mate, guitarist, producer and my Co writer died, we are all still in a weird covid state of shock, not being able to celebrate his life and hug each other over the months has been hard going, and we havent felt like doing any music, even if we could, without him just doesnt seem right. But we will be doing a memorial gig A Song For Nick on the 4th September 2021, at Coda in Colchester, which would have been his 46th birthday, lots of musician friends will come together to play Hobo Chang and The Wicked Ravens songs to tip their hat and have a drink to him. Anyone that knew him or just loved the music scene come along, its free entry and we would love to see some faces... Of course this is all pending covid restrictions....but fingers crossed it will go ahead.
In the meantime heres the Eulogy i wrote and read out at his funeral, life will never be the same without him in it.
Firstly, I’d like to say Nick was not a conventional kind of guy, he was his own man, he never wore a suit and tie or office boy shoes. He also wasn't religious. He felt very strongly about that, and it used to do his head in when people said in god like tones “they have passed away” he would say died just say died.
So, there won't be any readings from the bible and he is dressed ready for a gig.
I first saw Nick playing guitar 20 yrs ago at the Mayfair music festival, playing in a instrumental band called Hobo Chang. I remember thinking, they were good but they needed a singer. Way back then I don’t think Nick really wanted a girl singer, especially one he had never heard sing before, But Tom the bass player at the time, who I had met at a drunken party had me join the band anyway. Nick didn’t really have much to do with me in the early days, I had moved into a flat above the deli in Wivenhoe with Tom the bass player and Nick the dog who was a music teacher. He was also good friends with our Nick.
In those days Nick was still working at the post office and he used to come round on his way home after work. He would hang out watch The Simpsons, smoke ciggies, talk about music, and we would all have band rehearsal in Tom’s bedroom. Much to the amusement of people passing by. We would have crowds outside the chippy dancing and hanging out. And to the distain of some neighbour’s who called the police on occasion, accusing us of getting up to all sorts. We were all totally living the rock in roll dream.
Original Hobo Chang line up around that time was Nick Munt Guitar, Tom Frankish Bass guitar, Andy Kearton Drums, Phil Pain Keyboards and me Fiona Harmon on Vocals. All I can say is it’s a good job I could sing, because the rest is history and what a history it has been. Nick lived and breathed music, from his teenage days playing in Andy Kearton’s garage knocking out led Zep and Hendrix covers, to playing in various hybrid college bands,and jam bands, finally ending up in Hobo Chang. Where our bands were concerned, over the years it was always the Bass players and Drummers who came and went, some with absolute dramas.
We had one bass player that drank a whole bottle of wine before playing a festival in Wales, he didn’t even drink, he was so out of it that we had to get the sound guy to turn his bass off, and get Phil the keyboard player to play the bass parts on the keyboard. Dave the drummer at the time wanted to get up and leave, but Nick just kept us all in his eyeline and we managed to finish the gig. Nick and I sacked the bassist after that. When we hadn't had a rhythm section for a while, we discussed going out to play just us 3, Nick’s words were, we are not doing that it will sound utter shite, it's just not right without the drums. End of discussion.
Nick and I ended up writing numerous songs together. in the early days out of necessity because we didn’t want to play other people's songs anymore. Then we realised we were good at it, so we carried on and over the years a number of albums were written, securing us publishing deals, radio play and many more great gigs. He was the best guitarist and songwriting partner I have ever had; No one will ever compare. Nick was also a pretty good drummer, and bass player there's plenty of our recordings with Nick playing drums and the bass parts because we didn’t have a drummer or bass player at the time. Nick was musically infectious and I learnt a lot from him, lots of fellow musicians did. I always felt safe when he was next to me on stage, we could do anything musically. Metaphorically it was pure jazz, and that kind of feeling only comes around once in a while.
He was well respected on the music scene, everyone he worked with over the years knew they could always count on him. Less was more with Nick, he wasn’t some guitar shredding solo rock god, he was so stylish and subtle, he didn’t need to act like a guitar dickhead. Over many years we were band mates, best mates and business partners with our painting and decorating business. Nick often said It was also a total bonus that our respective partners really enjoyed hanging out together. So, it was only right and fitting that Lind's and Briony often ended up getting the job of selling tee shirts and CDs at gigs. Guitar shaped swimming pools, Microphone shaped swimming pools, and early retirement were often discussed...much to Nicks amusement.
He was so important and integral to our band’s musical sound, and up to 4 weeks ago we had 2 bands on the go. From composition to production, he was my Dave Gilmour, Hendrix, and Bowie all rolled into one. He knew he was good which was an understatement he was exceptional, but he never expected anyone to praise him, he was far too modest to realise what he meant to the people in his life. If he knew what a mess, we are all in right now without him, he would probably call us a bunch of twats.Nick loved quality food. We would often have food nights together. We would be in the kitchen competing with each other as we both reckoned, we were chefs. Lind's and Bry would be necking wine watching us and laughing at us showing off. Our Boxing Day food feast just won't be the same without you Nick. Nick was quietly competitive and a perfectionist in most things he did.
Well actually he was a massive perfectionist in everything he did and sometimes he wasn’t competitively quiet. Over the years we wound each other up, took the piss out of each other, annoyed each other, and had many arguments, he was excellent at arguments, although I never told him that. His uni days debating politics clearly played a part in his ability to debate any subject matter. He knew stuff, and the stuff he didn’t know he would research, so he still ended up being right. Nick was a fantastic Father to Gracie she was his world, he loved her so much, always showing me little videos of her drumming, and singing along to our songs. He was so proud of her and the time they spent together was very special. Life partner to Lindsay, from teasing her in school when they were 12 to starting a family with her all those years later, he used to tell me how much they just got each other, they clicked, it worked, they were a team and he loved her dearly. She will always be his Lin's. Son to Mike and Sue, big brother to Jon, who told me the other day, he had put the rubbish out wearing flip flops and there were maggots everywhere, and he heard Nick’s voice in his head calling him a total twat for doing that. You were all his family, all of you Mums and Dads, Stepdads' Stepmums' sisters' brothers, nieces, cousins to Gracie, he loved having you all in his life.
Fixer, Decorator, Artist, Mechanic, VW connoisseur a talented guitarist and multiinstrumentalist, Songwriter, Producer, Chef, Builder, Carpenter, guitar pedal maker, band mate, improvisor, Engineer. Sometimes stubborn and cynical. An infuriating muso who would constantly tease you if he caught you listening to 1980s chart music. He was all these things and more. He was so funny with a wicked sense of humour. He was rational and he was a really good listener. His close friends and family knew if he could help, he would. He was a doer and anything worth doing is worth doing right. He would agree with that.
There is one thing that he wasn’t good at, and that was timekeeping, he was rubbish at being on time, he would leave it to the last minute to be somewhere, I would constantly be texting him, mate where are you? he would say just leaving that would mean at least another 15mins more...........
So, thank you Nick for letting me be part of your life, for being such a powerful creative force and a loyal supportive best friend who kept me on my toes for 20yrs. And thank you Lind's, for putting up with the years of band related antics and dramas, as you know there have been many.
I love you Nick and I miss you terribly, I will miss our friendship and our musical adventures. I will miss slagging off bands like U2 and Coldplay with you. I don’t quite know what to do to fill this massive void you have left. But with every musical bone in my body I will, when the time is right, continue to make noises in your honor.
I know that you would want us all to look after each other and get through this. We all know it's going to take such a long time to even comprehend the loss we all feel. Life will never be the same without you in it. I promise you Nick I will continue to tell Gracie that Hendrix and her Dad will always be the best guitarist’s in the world.
Hunter S Thompson quote Music has always been a matter of energy to me. A question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration but what they really mean is fuel, I have always needed fuel I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the petrol needle on empty, can run about 50 more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio
TOM Bass saga
Due in front of an admittedly modest audience in about 30 minutes we were in Ipswich and I'd left my bass in Wivenhoe. Blind panic would have taken hold but the man with the VW Golf and the driving skills, honed through fiercely competitive Mario kart sessions, always a reassuring presence, raced me back with through country roads with barely a raised eyebrow. Thanks for the roast dinners. For the delay pedal. For all the gig nights and for the stuff in between. For being a good friend. Thank you, Nick. I'll miss you.
Nick the Dog thoughts
I initially met Nick when he was 15, undoubtedly, he was the fastest learner I have had the privilege of teaching. So much so that after a few months I found myself auditioning for the position of bass player in his new band Aliens Across the Rd. As the years passed, we continued to work on many musical projects covering many genres. The world is bereft of a brilliant songwriter, guitarist and improvisor. You have gone on ahead. We who remain will eventually catch up. Hobo Chang current line up Nick Polly Tom Phil And Me have absolutely loved making music with you Nick. Going forward you will forever be a part of what we do