Farewell, Natasha

Some surprising and incredibly sad news just arrived here, that I’m having a very hard time grasping. I wanted to drop a quick post out here, though, as I know a lot of folks who read this are fans who should know.

Natasha Shneider, co-founder of Eleven, one-time keyboardist for Queens of the Stone Age, collaborator on the Desert Sessions, inspirer of many and co-conspirator of Alain Johannes, passed away late this morning of cancer.

Update, July 3: A site has been set up to honor Natasha and to help Alain cover the medical bills from her sickness. Stop by http://natashashneider.org/ and donate whatever you can, please.

I still can’t believe it, don’t know that I ever will. It seems completely unnatural and impossible that vibrancy like hers could ever end.

Many thanks to Serrina, who passed along the news here, and who also suggests that you post your condolences to the Eleven page here.

I can’t really come up with adequate words right now, but will say this:

About ten years ago, not long after I moved to Seattle and was struggling to find my footing, I got the chance to see Eleven play an in-store at Easy Street. The place was packed with what felt like the entire Seattle music scene, and it was intimidating for a girl who adored music more than almost anything else, but who’d just arrived from a place where live music of any sort was a rare treat. Seeing Natasha, Alain and Jack that day introduced my mind to all sorts of possibilities, sounds, people that I would grow to adore very shortly thereafter. When I somehow worked up the courage to say a few words to Natasha later, she was so immediately engaging and encouraging that I felt a little less alone, as I’d found one more female musician that loved and understood rock and music as a whole, and the power it holds.

Thank you, Natasha. From that day on, I was fan of the music, which hit my ears at just the right moment I needed it, and a fan of yours, for giving me that first glimpse at the possibilities ahead.

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