Richard Mac was buried March 28th, 2010. He was my first and only electric guitar teacher and a great guitar player. He was also a good friend. He passed away on March 21st, 2010 at the T.C. Hospice. He died of pancreatic cancer. It took about 4 weeks from time of diagnosis for him to leave us. Too fast for me.
It still is sinking in. Lots of musicians and friends were at the funeral. The pastor did a nice job of delivering his sermon. It helped that he knew Richard, who installed the sound system at his (the pastors) church some 23 years ago. I think everybody enjoyed what he had to say in his delivery.
It was not peaceful watching him die. It happened so fast I can’t recall much other than the Hospice. He was only there one night. When I visited him he was pretty much out of it, probably on heavy pain killers. Richards eyes were open, but he was looking into outer space.
I gave him a kiss on his head and told him I loved him. I watched in disbelief and spoke with his girlfriend of 13 years (approx.) for a while. Even when I was speaking directly to Richard, nothing was there. It was disturbing and set the mood for the day and subsequently the week.
While some may say my reaction was somewhat unemotional other than letting Richard know how I feel about him. It was quite the contrary. No one knows how I felt on the inside. Just because I did not have an overemotional and dramatic response does not mean I was not deeply affected.
When it was time to go I walked over to his bed and kissed him on his forehead. I put my right index finger in between his index finger and middle finger and told him a few personal things and then asked him to squeeze my fingers if he ”heard” me. With hardly any strength, I could feel him squeeze my finger for about 30 seconds. Excellent for me. Thanks Richard.
Anyway, on the Saturday of my visit to the Hospice, it was a long day. When I got home I listened to Jimi Hendrix’s new album as I worked in the garage, there was not much to say, but a lot of thinking going on. Especially how much he would have liked this new excellent album. When I sat down to play my guitar that afternoon, my soul was full of Richards vibe. Even my neighbor called to thank me for playing nice and loud in the garage.
Richard died at about 8AM on Sunday morning in Annie’s arms. It gets emotional now as I write this, my wife of over 27 years and I were probably in some sort of denial, because now we are sad and miss him. To be honest, after the funeral yesterday, it is really sinking in that my/our friend who would have been 58 on May 1st, which coincidentally is my birthday too is gone for good. I will be 57 years old on May 1st. We celebrated our birthdays together every year. I hope Annie will spend it with us this year.
Before I get done, I have a few more things to say. RMac was great with kids and parents, kids who took guitar lessons for beginners loved him and his unusual teaching style. Richard was a rarely gifted virtuoso at playing the guitar also, not at all what you might expect to hear and see. An extremely versatile guitar player.
He had more pedals than Jimi! Every time I saw Richard gig (once a week for a year or so), he would do things with his guitar and make sounds that hypnotized me and blew me away, every time. Some (jealous) souls may disagree with me. You know what I think? They don’t know shit about guitar players!
You can check out Richards Facebook space here. (http://www.facebook.com/richard.mac?ref=nf). He was never a pretty sight! But looks are skin deep.
He died of prostate cancer. I was glad that his brother mentioned in Richards honor to mention having an examination regularly and making sure the doctor checks you for any signs of prostate cancer. Remember that Frank Zappa died of it too. Other musicians were fortunate enough to beat it. Don’t take chances.
Richard was an interesting study in people, per say. So I’ll end this with saying that we (Richard, Annie, Adina and Myself) went to more concerts in the last few years than I went to in my whole life. We saw some of the greatest blues players ever. Many of the guitar players I have written about, we saw in concert, at least once.
He introduced me to some great guitar players that I had never heard of. A better person could not have been my first electric guitar teacher.
Richards mastery of every aspect of guitars was beyond belief, if I wanted a wah pedal lesson, so be it. If I needed to know more about a new guitar pedal or piece of equipment for tone, that was our lesson. He could even teach classical guitar. I’ll remember Richard for many reasons, he will never leave my thoughts. Every time I play the guitar now, it will be for Richard. Like the Pastor said “We will always choose to remember everything good about Richard“ There is plenty to remember. RIP. GuitarPlayersCenter.com