Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chuck the Writer Remembers Stacy Davis After 25 Years

I still can't believe she's been gone for 25 years. Even when one of the most wonderful, innocent, warm people ever could have their lives taken away like that - it still burns at me like heated barbed wire.

Stacy Davis died 25 years ago.

I'm kind of guessing you haven't heard of Stacy Davis. That or Rocshire Records, the company for whom she was both the "college promotions rep" (she made sure college stations like my WHCL at Hamilton College received product) and the "I'm just as enthusiastic about this music as you are" person who actually believed in the music her company tried to promote.

Flash back to the spring of 1983. Our radio station, WHCL, had been raided by graduating seniors every year, and the amount of records being sent to our little measly 2.5 watt station was barely a trickle. In fact, you couldn't pick up WHCL on the other side of campus, that's how puny the broadcast signal was. But in 1983, myself and a class of "Young Turks" did whatever we could to get that station fully up to speed - increasing the broadcast signal, increasing the station's visibility on campus, and - my personal goal - getting record companies to start sending us product once again.

With nothing but the addresses on the backs of the record albums, I was able in one day to snag mailing contracts with RCA, Warner Bros., Columbia, Elektra/Asylum, Motown, and a tiny Anaheim-based label called Rocshire. Of the six labels, the most enthusiastic response came from Rocshire Records, who had just sprung into business barely a year earlier and wanted to crack into the college "progressive new music" markets. To that end, I struck up a fast friendship with the promotions person at Rocshire, Stacy Davis.

Stacy told me her father, Gary Davis, was once president of three different record labels, and our conversations slowly drifted from record promotion to more esoteric matters that college-age people might discuss. She was cute, she was funny, and maybe I was fooling myself into thinking that this was actually more than it was - but we kept in touch during the summer, and had hoped to meet up in the fall when Rocshire would have a booth at the College Media Journal music promotion weekend in New York City in late October.

I arrived in New York, but she was not there. Originally I thought that she was either in the other part of the convention hotel or just was playing me for a fool - until another record company representative told me that she was on her way to the airport for the convention when a drunk driver sideswiped her car and plowed her into a telephone pole, killing her instantly.

Needless to say, I was devastated. I could not think clearly throughout the entire radio convention, and for months afterward I couldn't come to grips with what had happened to her - why did a wonderful young girl have to die like that?

As time went on, I was able to balance out my emotions, and was able to remember Stacy for all the fun conversations we had. I eventually acquired some Rocshire 45's for my own personal record collection, but acquiring that vintage vinyl wasn't easy. Barely a year after Stacy died, Rocshire was under investigation when the record company's owner [not Stacy's father] was caught in a check-embezzling scheme, using payroll checks from Hughes Aircraft to prop up his record company. He's probably still in jail now. The artists on that label lost everything - their master tapes, their recording equipment, the momentum of their careers - when Rocshire's doors were locked forever.

It's been 25 years. And it still takes the cold chill of an autumn wind to instantly remind me that she's gone.

Far too soon.

3 comments:

Dave said...

That's sure a sad story Chuck ... Gary Davis worked at Rocshire for the german singer Caro, for whom I am currently designing a website, on an album called "The Boy Is Mine". Caro was also one of the artists who more or less lost everything on this project, and even today it seems that no-one really knows where the masters are or what happened to them. The story surrounding Rocshire has really caught my imagination, but there is little real information to be found on the Web.

Apparently though the owner and his wife both passed away last year, no doubt taking many secrets about Rocshire to their graves...

Anonymous said...

Chuck, Thank you for your story.

I was very good friends with Stacy in High School. My father had a deal with Rocshire and we had moved down to Laguna from Los Angeles in 1982. She was indeed an amazing person. I think about her often around this time of year, as do you I'm sure.

I happen to know that she was really looking forward to that NY trip.

I'm not sure that you are aware of the odd coincidence that she actually knew 16 year old Samantha Shannon, the girl driving the other car. I seem to remember that they were able to rule out alcohol, but as Samantha was so badly injured in the crash, they never were able to put together the cause of the accident. Sam has remained in an almost vegetative state ever since, but was still alive last I heard. The passenger in Sam's car was also an ex-school mate of Stacy's. A beautiful 16 year old by the name of Lisa Snyder.

The accident was heart breaking to the Laguna Beach Beach High School student body and faculty as all three girls were so popular.

I'll never forget Stacy. She was so great. I was wrecked for weeks after the night my dad broke the news to me.

I had actually been in one car accident in that damn Honda she was killed in. She crashed into the back of a truck. I remember accompanying her back to her house that night while she had to tell Gary, her dad.

Wow, so many memories. So many great times. Thank you so much for your post. It's good to know someone else remembers how great she was and what a shame it is that she didn't get a chance to live a long and no doubt happy life.

Best,

Patrick Stuart
Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

Chuck, Thank you for your story.

I was very good friends with Stacy in High School. My father had a deal with Rocshire and we had moved down to Laguna from Los Angeles in 1982. She was indeed an amazing person. I think about her often around this time of year, as do you I'm sure.

I happen to know that she was really looking forward to that NY trip.

I'm not sure that you are aware of the odd coincidence that she actually knew 16 year old Samantha Shannon, the girl driving the other car. I seem to remember that they were able to rule out alcohol, but as Samantha was so badly injured in the crash, they never were able to put together the cause of the accident. Sam has remained in an almost vegetative state ever since, but was still alive last I heard. The passenger in Sam's car was also an ex-school mate of Stacy's. A beautiful 16 year old by the name of Lisa Snyder. Lisa was also killed in the accident.

The accident was heart breaking to the Laguna Beach Beach High School student body and faculty as all three girls were so popular.

I'll never forget Stacy. She was so great. I was wrecked for weeks after the night my dad broke the news to me.

I had actually been in one car accident in that damn Honda she was killed in. She crashed into the back of a truck. I remember accompanying her back to her house that night while she had to tell Gary, her dad.

Wow, so many memories. So many great times. Thank you so much for your post. It's good to know someone else remembers how great she was and what a shame it is that she didn't get a chance to live a long and no doubt happy life.

Best,

Patrick Stuart
Los Angeles