MICHELLE MELDRUM Tribute Page 3
By Bob Nalbandian
Even after Michelle's break-up with Phantom Blue and her subsequent move to Stockholm, we never lost touch. One of the things I admired so much about Michelle was the fact that she was determined to do exactly what she wanted to do. She never gave into the music industry and refused to be a victim of this cold-hearted business. Michelle was determined to succeed, but it would be on her terms. After settling in Sweden, Michelle formed her new band Meldrum and called me to say she was setting up showcases in Los Angeles. She sounded more thrilled than ever about her new band and I was so excited to witness their first shows in Los Angeles. The shows were incredible and it was so great to see Michelle back in full force! I remember after seeing her onstage at the Dragonfly club in LA saying to myself "here is the next guitar hero!" Michelle's playing had improved immensely and she was now right up there with the guitarists she had worshipped as a kid. The whole band stayed at my small apartment in North Hollywood those few days they were in LA and even though I had just met her new band members; Moa, Frida, and Fredrik, it was like hanging out with old friends. Michelle and I reminisced about old times as we all got drunk and talked about metal into the wee hours of the morning...it was just like the old days!
Over the years that followed, I had the pleasure of hanging out with the band every time they hit the states and even went on the road with them to Vegas. They toured here several times with Black Label Society and I had never seen a virtually then unknown opening band win the crowd over like Meldrum did. And nothing puts a band more to the test than to play in front of a horde of BLS fans! It was awe-inspiring for me to witness a jam-packed crowd with their fists in the air chanting the lyrics along with Moa. And what was so astonishing was the fact that the band hadn't yet released their record here in the US, yet everyone in the venue seemed to know their songs!
In September of 2006 I met up again with Michelle backstage at the Gigantour show at Glen Helen, just outside Los Angeles. I remember telling her I had just met up with Gene Hoglan, who was also hanging out backstage. Michelle was so happy as she hadn't seen Gene in years. The three of us got together and laughed and joked all night in between bands. I instantly sensed the magic between Michelle and Gene so I wasn't surprised in the least when Michelle soon after informed me that she and Gene were going to reunite (for the first time since War God) for the recording of the forthcoming Meldrum record, Blowin' Up The Machine. I last met up with Michelle this past January at the NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. That Saturday night at the Hilton bar Michelle, Gene and I once again reunited and got absolutely shit-faced drunk! It was one of the greatest nights ever. And it was the last time I would ever spend with my dearest friend and oldest pal, my confidant, my creative force, my inspiration. You will be terribly missed Michelle. You were one-of-a-kind. So incredibly talented, so thoughtful and considerate, so uplifting and motivating, and so damn fun to be around. I will always treasure the fond memories we had together. My heart goes out to your Mom, Bob, and your 3-year-old son Jake. You will always be in my heart, Michelle. I will miss you forever.
A memorial fund has been set up through Paypal for donations to her family and son to help offset expenses at MichelleMeldrumFund@gmail.com
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