R.I.P. Mr. Windsong aka Mark Hampson June 4, 1952 - Nov. 8, 2008

I recently lost an old musical partner and friend who I knew the better part of 30 years. here is a link to his obituary: http://www.svherald.com/articles/2008/11/20/community/obituaries/doc492501d1e4328983214863.txt And here is my statement to the world on this personal loss: To the friends and family of Windsong, aka Mark Hampson, who I knew for a good 30 years. My heart reaches across the country from Oregon as I share your grief in this sad moment of farewell and remembrance. I am known to many of you as Shoehorn, and although Windsong and I had not seen much of each other since I settled down in Portland, I considered him one of my closest friends. We performed together as "the Funtones" and in the drum line Bisbee Boombah with Jeri Doud. He was certainly a formative influence on my musical personality, which is to say, who I am today. Windsong and I shared a musical bond which transcended music- steeped in full-moon mysticism, expressed in rousing existential blues and irreverent quasi-operatic spoofs and organic, breathing percussion. He could strum his own essence from the strings of a guitar and merge it with my musical spirit in a uniquely supportive yet assertive role. My horn answered his voice, his guitar laid down the structure for my sax solos, my tap dance boosted his big beat and we would sing it together on the chorus . It seemed we could read each other's minds. His musicality went beyond technical mastery- he played his very being. The man had a big laugh and could turn it on himself when caught in an ironic twist or flaw in his rap or rant. We shared many, many laughs at the sublimely ridiculous aspects of the human condition. He could be a keen judge of character and intent, vigilant, yet generally trusting and forgiving. The guy liked a good time more than anything else. He brought his family all over the place to perform. Tucson, Tempe, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, then New Orleans, New York, Montreal, Quebec City and his native Massachusetts are all places I played with him. I also flew him out to Key West, Florida for a recording session once. He wound up taking the bus back home after missing his return flight, one of a number of travel mishaps that must have made Bisbee seem a lot cozier than life on the road, I dug his kids and spent a fair amount of time with Star when he was little, and I thought Windsong and Rosie had a pretty sweet thing going there for a while. I thought of Windsong as an attentive father, who included his children in his daily activities to an unusual extent. I have become re-acquainted with Star and can attest that his strong character was evident from his boyhood. I can imagine his girls Serena and Maya share that resilience. I say Windsong had a good heart. I believe that the young Windsong was an extremely perceptive and sensitive individual who, initially defiant to the injustice and indifference of the world, retreated into a smokey cocoon - dissolution begat of disillusion. This perhaps clouded his vivid philosophical insight and loosened his grip in recent times. No doubt he might have disagreed with these impressions. There was bluster and bravado not only in his music, which I found compelling, but also in his pride in his other skills, which were numerous. He inspired me with these abilities, as I taught myself to repair and make things. He was really intelligent, independent and capable. Windsong was like the older brother I never had, who showed me many things and shared almost everything with me. He was a generous friend, and we trusted each other in a way that allowed us to create something greater than what our individual capabilities allowed. We were also, at times "obviously oblivious", in the words of one disgruntled citizen. I urge you all to join me in a meditation on his being- a prayer for his soul- and a song for his memory. LOVE, Michael "Shoehorn" Conley Portland, Oregon November 20, 2008

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