Oh brother where art thou?


If anyone has influenced my interest in music it’s my older brother and best friend, Stefan. I dare to say that I probably never would have picked up the guitar in the first place if it wasn’t for him. Sadly he passed away a little more than 11 years ago in a house fire, but he’s still very much alive for me, especially when I listen to music or when I create music.

Stefan was a rebellious guy and in his teens he soon got into trouble, which led to that he was sent away to a correction facility, some kind of prison for young people, which still existed in the seventies in Sweden. Being 10 years younger than him, I was about 6 years old, and didn’t know anything about the reasons behind this. When we visited him, to me it was just a big adventure, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with my beloved and admired brother.

After his sentence (a year I think), he continued his adventures away from home, moving to Göteborg and doing a lot of stuff. But finally, at the age of 22, he finally came back home again and settled down. And my life took a new turn.

Making up for lost days, we spent a lot of time together. There was always something happening around Stefan and I was there with him all the time. As I was one of the primary targets for the school bullies, he saw to that they soon got to know that I had an older brother. The physical abuse ended instantly the day after he had visited one of the appointed leaders, and as for the more difficult part, the psychological mobbing, he gave me the tools to handle it myself. For this, music was an important part.

When he came back home, he also brought with him a guitar, which he had learned to play with his friends in Göteborg. One night he brought it to our house and wanted to teach me some chords. It was easier than I thought, and when I for the first time strummed the E major chord I was fascinated by the beautiful sound I had created, and I was hooked.

Stefan had a big collection of vinyls, spanning from the sixties to the eighties, and I loved browsing the albums, looking at the covers and listening to some of them. He always wanted to show me music he loved, and gradually something started to change in me. Instead of conforming to the daily trends, popular in school, I started to find my own preferences, and with that, my own identity. I felt like I was tapping into something bigger, something more mature and I felt stronger.

We shared a lot of music during the years. We had a lot of other interests in common too but music was always important. Rock’n’roll was the base but we both had a curiosity for other types of music and suggested lots of different artists to each other. To me Stefan somehow was rock’n’roll in person. Wild, energetic, with a joy of life, spontaneous, generous, creative, with a child inside of him but at the same time a troubled soul.

I listen to a lot of different artists, and sometimes he enters my mind and I think: “You would have loved this!”. When I have written a song or played a tune on the guitar I wonder what he would have said. That’s how he’s still here with me.

Today is not an anniversary of any kind. I just happened to look at an old photograph of Stefan, reminding me how important he is to me, and realizing that I haven’t written anything about him. So here’s to you brother. I miss you buddy.

I have to end this post with a song. And this is the first one that came to my mind, when I thought about him. I still regret that I didn’t choose this song when I arranged the music for his funeral, as the finishing song, beacuse I feel somehow that he wanted me too. Instead I ended with “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by CCR, which was also one of his favourites, but not as rebellious of course. /Pär

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Comments (2)

Kat Zolita MasonFebruary 29th, 2012 at 12:50

Oh I Love this and he would too!
I bet he’s grooving to ACDC right now!
omg I had forgotten how camp they are…fabulous- hah!

PärFebruary 29th, 2012 at 22:41

Thanks Kat 🙂

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