I always appreciated Bear's posts. RIP.
I had a few email chats with Steve and we got on well. One was about that 'other' picker above. Steve wasn't too impressed with the video clips he had seen so I suggested he should see the guy live. He did. He came back right away to thank me : the hallmark of a good man.
Then, there were the jokes he couldn't possibly post on here! I enjoyed his company.
Richard has written eloquently about Bear's meeting with Duane. He was still ecstatic days afterwards chatting via email.
He's with his highest mentor and happily playing the music of his second highest.
So sorry to hear this. Rest in peace, and my condolences to the family, sincerely- David
Bear was one of the reasons I came here, and one of the first to welcome me. All round good guy.
There’s a coldie and a candle in Melbourne tonight.
It has never been a secret that Bear and I were very close. Bear was a big man with a big heart, and I always had the utmost respect for him. He had a great ear for good music, and he loved making it.
A friend has asked me to copy the post I made on my Facebook page about Bear, and put it in this thread for posterity. I was under the weather when I found out about Bear leaving us, and just didn't feel up to making a proper response, but a couple of days later a Facebook memory popped up reminding me of that beautiful afternoon in Louisville when a handful of friends got together in a big man's house and made some memories that will last a lifetime for all of us.
Now, this was a few years back, so I may have missed the mark on some of the very intricate details, but I can assure you nothing was intentionally misstated, or glamorized just for the sake of glamorizing. However, if I did get something wrong, please correct me, particularly to those who were there.
Proteus is the one who should get the lion's share of the credit for having the vision of arranging this little get together in the first place, and, of course, to Duane for making a dream come true for a Big Bear that I loved very much.
So, with apologies, for the delay, here goes.
"I have to share this. This is one of my most memorable afternoons. Largely because I had just been in a fantastic jam session with Duane Eddy, and other good friends. Most notably, Steve Bistrow, or, Bear, as we all knew him. This past week Bear left us for a better gig. Heaven has gained a big man with a big heart, and we are left with a huge hole, and sadness that is hard to manage.
Tim Harman, or Proteus, as he is known in virtual land, asked me if I would be up to surprising ol' Bear with a jam session. No small task, as Bear resides in Louisville, and I am in Ardmore, some 900 miles away, but still it was a no brainer to agree to go. Then we decided that we would coincide it with my planned trip to the Chet convention in Nashville, so that only meant a couple hundred miles more. So Tim okays the afternoon with Bear, except he didn’t tell him that Conchieta and I would be coming also. He wanted it to be a surprise. So, now, I don’t remember if it was Tim or me that mentioned to Duane what we had planned, but he immediately asked, “okay if Deed and I come along?” Well, yeah. So, Bear was in for the shock of his life, since Duane was his guitar hero since his teenage years. And, not just his hero, but more like a guitar God. So the stage was set, so to speak. As far as Bear knew, he and Tim were going to get together and pick a little Sunday afternoon. Tim would ring the doorbell, Bear would answer, and to his surprise, Conchieta and I would be there too. We thought it would be fun To surprise the big guy.
So, here we go, in a 3 car caravan from Nashville Sunday morning. We get to Louisville in time for lunch. We enjoy lunch and each other’s company, and then it is time to go to the Bear Den, and make music in the Bear Cave. We arrive. Tim rings the doorbell, Bear answers just as planned, and Bear and I meet in person for the first time. He is shocked and so happy that we had come. Then we tell Bear that this other guy came along too. I wish you all could have witnessed the look on Bear’s face when he saw Duane. He was the happiest guy on earth at that moment. We had a most wonderful time that afternoon. Instead of being a rock and roll guitar icon, that afternoon Duane Eddy was just a regular guy. Duane just sat down, plugged in, tuned and twisted a few knobs, and voila. Duane Eddy was in the House. He sat there and played one of his hits right after another. Ol’ Bear was in heaven. One of the highlights was when Duane kicked off “Ramrod.” All at once Bear started harmonizing perfectly with Duane. Duane’s Initial shock turned to a big smile of approval, and Bear couldn‘t have been happier. The whole afternoon was like that. Fortunately Deed captured some of the highlights in pics, but unfortunately no audio or video.
Well, thank you for allowing me this time to reminisce. I don’t have the words to tell you how sad I am that my wonderful friend is gone, but it still brings a smile when I recall that afternoon when, for a couple of hours anyway, we made a big ol’ Bear mighty happy.
I love you, Bear. Save us a seat, and someday we’ll do it all again."
Thank you, Richard, for putting a smile (even though it came with a tear) on my face.
Update re Mitch: I've exhausted my contact info and attempts to reach Mitch. His Abbey Road Music site is gone; his email and Facebook messenger doesn't answer; I could not find his phone number although I know we chatted several times (maybe he called me); his Go Fund Me last update was August; His LinkedIn has no activity. In the absence of concrete information, I've decided to imagine him on a Caribbean Beach with a Corona and a Gretsch. Wherever he is, I know he's a good guy and I loved our shared interests when we took time to share them.
Yes, I do feel bad that I didn't do better to keep up with him. There's just so much sad. So, like I said--beach.
Richard, thanks for your trip down memory lane. I well remember reading about that jam session. What a terrific gift you all gave to Bear.
Richard, thank you so very much. That was indeed a sheer thrill for him, he never stopped talking about it, it filled his heart all the rest of his years. I promise you that, you gave him a gift so few ever receive in life and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dana, there is an old saying amongst us old men. They say to be nice to your daughter because someday she will be the one pushing your wheelchair, and deciding which nursing home you go to. Maybe a little light hearted way of saying that the way you have cared for your Dad and Mom has not gone unnoticed since Bear has been down. You and John have opened your home, and I know you both did your best to make your Dad's last days as good as possible. And, not meaning to leave out Jan, because times like this touches a lot of lives, but the way you all treated your Daddy with love and respect is something I will not forget. I know it killed Bear's soul to be down where he could not provide support, but you, John, and your Mom made everything much better than it might have been otherwise. I don't have to tell you that Bear worshipped the ground you walked on, and for good reason.
So, thank you for a labor of love toward ol' Bear. I jumped at the chance when Tim told me what he had planned, and of course, Duane was the one that freely added that touch of class that none of us could have.
Don't forget about us.
Sorry I'm so late to this, I haven't been checking in over the holidays.
Very sad to hear about your Dad Baby Bear. I always appreciated the birthday wishes he sent, the jokes he posted and his open hearted contributions to this place.
My sympathies to you and your family.
thanks for the memory, my friend, Richard. I do wish I could have seen the look on Steve's face. I bet that smile was from ear to ear.
Richard; Thanks for giving us some details of you guys visit with Steve. I remember reading about it when it happened and thinking what a wonderful day that must have been.
It's great to hear a few more details of the visit.
aww, nutsRIP Bearhe was always one of the reasons I came around
he was always one of the reasons I came around
My feelings exactly.
That's pretty much the way I remember it, Richard. An afternoon all of us knew we'd always remember.
And I believe there IS audio of that. I cleaned it up and sent it to Bear a few years ago. I must have it somewhere. Reckon you'd like a copy of it too!
I don’t check in very often anymore, so I’m just now hearing about Bear’s passing. My heart is heavy.
I saw Bear’s videos on youtube before I joined the GDP. Seeing the joy written all over his face while he played made me that much more enthusiastic to get a Gretsch.
I wish I had met him in person. I wish I had called him more often.
Simply put, Steve helped me become a better performer, networker and businessman all because he chose to offer up some of his knowledge and wisdom through the GDP. His influence will continue resonate with me. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Thank you again and rest in peace.
Aw this is just terrible. I haven't been around these forums in a long time, and one of the first things I thought was to check how Bear was doing. His covers were always a treat, and he seemed like a really nice guy. He was one of the original friendly faces here when I first became interested in a Gretsch. I hope his family is doing well.
I sure do miss him around here...and jokes for sure :(
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