"I once described the Bebop Boogie & Blues Revue as 'a blues-based four hours of musical pandemonium.' Looking back, I'd say the show was more a weekly celebration of musical freedom. No playlists, charts, graphs, demographics, computers, research studies, consultants, blah blah, woof woof -- just a love of music that hadn't been beaten into your psyche . . . And some of the most magic moments came from the spontaneous and unrehearsed performances we captured in the studio during the show." Eric E., about the Revue at WVGO
At 7:00AM August 12, 2003, Eric E passed from this world after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He left this world with his new wife Marilyn by his side, in the same place he entered it: MCV Hospital. He was a good and generous friend to many, and he made an incalculable contribution to the regional music scene, through his promotional work, his radio shows, and the Bebop Boogie and Blues Live Revue shows at Mulligans, Memphis, Moondance, Fireballz, and elsewhere.
We're gonna miss you, Rick.
Since the Richmond Times-Dispatch did not post their obituary to the website, it's been transcribed here
I had planned to write about the memorial service, but two people have beaten me to it, and done it better than I could. F.T. Rea talked about the memorial in his SLANT Blog, and Cap'n Ron Smith of the CafeMojo site sent a letter to his friends about it.
Clarke Bustard of the Richmond Times-Dispatch also wrote an excellent summary of the memorial in Wednesday's paper.
On a personal note, though, I was overwhelmed by the fact that ALL of Richmond was represented by the people attending the Memorial. It was a very moving testimony to Eric's ability to to reach out and make friends with anyone and everyone, whoever they were, whatever they were. And he did it without really trying to, he just did it by being Eric.
RICHMOND JAZZ SOCIETY, Inc.
PO Box 25723
Richmond, Virginia 23260-5723
Words from the WebmisterI met Eric almost exactly ten years ago, on my birthday. I'd become a fan of the Bebop Boogie and Blues Revue when he was doing it on XL-102 and was delighted when he moved to WVGO to work 5 nights a week. In addition to all the great blues music he opened my eyes to on Sundays, he was personally responsible for introducing me (and the rest of Richmond) to many other artists -- several he wasn't supposed to expose us to, such as Sonia Dada and Beautiful People. But in spite of the management, he was able to give the listeners at WVGO what they wanted: GOOD MUSIC, whether the General Manager wanted him to or not.
I'd been calling Eric for several weeks trying to convince him to play something from Ry Cooder's Jazz album. He said he didn't have it. I found a copy at Plan 9 and told him that sunday that it was there and he had to play it the following weekend because it was my 30th birthday. He had a better idea: "Buy the CD yourself and bring it up here and we'll have a party for you." So I went, and I went every Sunday after that and partied with Eric and his other friends (until I lost the ability to drive for a while). We've been friends since. I've known few people as generous to his friends as Eric was to everyone he called friend. I'd always wantd to be a disc jockey, and Eric gave me the chance to get a taste of it to see if I really could do it. He taught me how to run the board in the studio and left me to switch the music while he went back to the lounge for a drink and to socialize. Now I have a show on the fledgling RadioFreeRichmond radio station, and my style is very much inspired by what Eric did on Sunday nights: always moving, never planning more than a few songs ahead on what he was going to play, changing his mind on the fly. It's easy to have an established playlist and run by the numbers. But it's FUN to do it with no more than an idea of where you're going and how you want to get there. Eric taught me that.
This website was originally begun in order to keep the word out on the live Wednesday night shows Eric presented throughout the 90s. It was not getting much update as his promotional activity slowed down, but now I'd like to devote it as a tribute to Eric and what he has meant to the local and regional music and radio scenes.
Words from others
"I remember several of those photos. [see below]
"Rick took me to see Muddy when I was about 14 yrs old in D.C at the Cellar Door with his long time partner Mike Harris.
"Also worth mentioning is how Rick was inspired by our father Lawrence Stanley and from his extensive album collection that first sparked his interest in music."
"Today has been a hard day. . . He will be missed by his many friends, and by thousands of radio listeners whose lives he touched." -- Page Wilson, Out O'the Blue Radio Revue
"The gods truly play no favorites.
"Eric E. was a inspiration to all of us sickened by the machine driven, gutless state of radio. He was a music lover who loved all forms of audio expressions passionately. He selflessly gave himself to the music community for countless years and without his boundless enthusiasm, Richmond would have missed out on allot of music we otherwise may not have heard. His show was an inspiration to me to start my own radio show and he often gave me words of encouragement to follow my vision despite the sickening state of radio where conformity is the rule of the day. He never succumbed to cheap and easy cynicism and remained a beacon of hope to the rest of us who believed in the power of music as much as he did.
"I will miss him dearly."
"Eric and I became fast friends almost immediately upon my move to Richmond back in '94. I helped him promote many of his shows and I was always inspired by his passion for music and the people who love music. He had many highs and lows in his personal mission for the blues and it makes me happy that he was able to go out on a high note. I know that in his last year he was ecstatic about being back on the air at Magic 105.7 and he was equally excited about the strength of his shows and events.
But what I will miss most about Eric is his enduring friendship. There will be great holes in my day-to-day life without Eric's life-affirming presence. The occasional lazy afternoon spent watching old Shindig! tapes in his apartment. Swapping records. The surprise phone call about a hot show or a blues legend passing on. Plowing through the bins at Plan 9. Clinking shot glasses together as a successful show hit its second set. So many great memories from such a warm, wonderful human being. I will miss Eric terribly. And so, I'm certain, will so many others whose lives he touched."
I got an email this morning (8/15) from Ron Smith, aka "Cap'n Ron" of Cafe Mojo, that he sent out to friends: "News Flash! Power blackouts are raging all over the eastcoast this evening - for real - must be some wicked jam session partying going on in heaven & hell both right about now...and a whole lot of amplifiers cranked up to 11."
He followed up with thiese very moving memories:
"My wife and I watched with delight as our friend Rick Stanley came to be known as the famous DJ Eric E. Stanley over the years. Rick helped found the Richmond Jazz Society in the 80's and later along with me, Joe Sokohl, Nat Riddles and Keith Owens helped found the Richmond Blues Society in the early 90's back before Blues music was a regular offering on the live music menu in Richmond. We always shared a love of music and Rick taught me so much. We used to listen to reggae together before most people in Richmond even knew who Bob Marley was and Rick would tell me stories about his visits to Negril, Jamaica that inspired my own visits later. All my memories of Rick involve music. Like the time we met Chicago harp wizard Carey Bell Harrington and laughed like little kids at getting to meet one of our heros. E. posted a photo of us with Carey here in the BeBop Boogie Photo Gallery - in the pic we're trying to look cool - but we were as excited as little school kids. Or the time E. was MC for the Buddy Guy concert in Shockoe Bottom and we got to sit around with Buddy and talk after the show. We just kept smiling at each other going "We're hangin' with Buddy Guy!" Rick loved music - all kinds of music - and was one of the best promoters of it that I've ever known - mostly because he never did it just for money - he always did it for the love of the music. The last time I spoke to E. was a few weeks before he passed. He called to let me know about a concert he was putting on. Even though he was having a hard time with his cancer troubles he never let it show and he just kept on full speed ahead - doing the one thing that he loved most - playing music for people. Keeping the groove going and marching to his own beat.
"My heart goes out to Marilyn Marable Stanley at this time, Rick's lovely lady that brought him so much happiness in his later years. E. always knew how to use music to bring comfort and solice in hard times and trouble. I hope that the healing power of music can bring comfort to her, his family and his many friends and fans now as we all mourn his passing. Radio in Richmond will never be the same.
"With great respect & love," Ron Smith, CafeMojo
More to come as I get 'em. Keep the memories coming.
Some time ago Eric gave me a big volume of photos of him with many of the local, regional, and global blues legends he has been hanging out with, including Koko Taylor, Bobby Rush, Jimmie King, and Guitar Shorty. They're a bit disorganized right now but that's because they haven't been indexed yet. I'm hoping to receive more soon from the Eric E benefit on July 27, and from anyone else who wants to send them in.
Terry Rea was kind enough to send the link to the excellent article he wrote about Eric, which was published in Fifty-Plus magazine in February 2002.
There are many kind words to be read about Eric in the liner notes of the Bebop Boogie and Blues CD that Eric released a few years ago. Plan 9 may still have a few copies. If you don't have your own copy, you can still read what they said
This WebSpace generously provided by Alaina Hardie and Caves Of Ice.
Last update: 20-August-2003