Like many others, the music of Chad & Jeremy has been with me my entire life. The songs, the harmonies. The idea of getting to know this dynamic duo, or see them in person seemed a little unbelievable.
In 2006, I drove to South Carolina to see the duo play live. I snuck my camera under my coat, as the venue didn't allow photos during the show. After the show, as the duo signed autographs, I put myself last in line, introduced myself when my moment came, and took my first posed photos of the band. Chad Stuart ended up in conversation for an hour, talking about music, recording and life on the road. We should work together sometime, old bean, Chad said. He always called me old bean, and he did with others. In time, I called him, old bean.
In 2010, Chad & Jeremy booked a show in North Carolina, with the intention of doing a live album. One problem was the venue didn't want to allow photos during the show, so that patrons weren't bothered by the camera. A couple of days before the show, a solution hit me. I emailed their steadfast manager and friend, Jason Rhoden, hoping that they would see my email before Saturday night. Ten minutes later, Jason wrote me back. "Chad & Jeremy were just talking about you, and they had the exact same idea! Chad will call you in ten minutes." Chad soon called, and we hatched a plan. I would arrive with them at the venue, they would begin their soundcheck, while I took photos around them. We had the record shot before the venue figured out what we were doing, and we laughed like school kids that had snuck around the headmaster. The resulting live album, Reflection, will always be a highlight of my photography career, and life. It is one of the records that reminded me that was still much more to do.
After that, I photographed them in several places. Libraries in Long Island, concert tours in Ohio and Pennsylvania, all the way until Chad retired from the road in 2016. As a fan and friend, it was an evolving, yet always fun adventure. Through it all, Chad remained Chad. Laconic, with an eyebrow often slightly raised. His demeanor often shielded a heart that continued to throw himself into every new idea, meeting each fan, and contemplating what to do next.
They say that all good things must end. Autumn leaves must fall. But don't you know, Chad, that it hurts me so to say goodbye to you. I wish you didn't have to go. My love goes out to Chad's wife and family, to Jason, and to Jeremy, who lost his bandmate and erstwhile brother after sixty years of shared stages and experiences.
Now, Chad lives on through all of us. In our memories, in our music, and experiences that he left with all of us that knew him, or heard one of his songs. He lives on for those that listen to him tonight, or in the days to come. And when the rain beats against my window pane, I'll dream of summer days again, and dream of you.
Until next time, old bean. See you in the stars, always.