Saturday, February 20, 2010

DOUG FEIGER R.I.P.

I was saddened to learn of Doug's death a few days ago from my old friend singer-songwriter Peter Cases's "pcblog." Doug's being remembered mostly for his band The Knack's major hit "My Sharona" but I knew him from our few encounters as a terrific guy.

My older son Miles knew him much much better. They were good friends. Doug and he shared a love for customizing classic "American" cars and each owned a few (though I suspect for Doug it was more than a few) over the years when they both lived in L.A. Doug was also a mentor to Miles in more ways than one, including producing the demo CD for Mile's band—Spanish Kitchen—a favorite on the L.A. club scene in the '90s.

I had heard from Miles and others that Doug had cancer that kept recurring. In fact, I was thinking a lot of him when I had my brain surgery, because Miles had told me when Doug had some brain surgeries himself over the past few years. He became an example to me, because from what Miles said Doug didn't let it get him down or stop him from doing things he dug, like traveling and playing music and digging his customized classic cars.

As I understand it he'd bounce back from the brain surgeries and take off for another far flung destination, keeping in touch with family and old friends as he enjoyed what was left of his life. My surgery showed no signs of cancer, thank God, and as anyone knows who's been reading this blog, it left me with various motor and cognitive challenges, at least initially. So hearing of Doug's incredible acceptance of his reality, that cancer was impeding his brain and moving to other parts of his body, and yet he never became bitter or even down very much, as I understand it, was inspiring.

But he always struck me that way. Whenever I was around him, he came across as enthusiastic, generous with his time and energy and spirit, and completely without regret about what many tried to—incorrectly actually—portray as a "one-hit wonder" music career (as in this NY Times obit as opposed to this more understanding and factual Detroit Free Press, his hometown paper's obituary).

My condolences to his family and many friends and fans.

6 comments:

harryn said...

i think i met Doug once through Miles on the 'strip' and i'm sorry to hear about the loss - those kind of mentors are hard to find with music and cars - people willing to share what they know ...
always enjoyed the song "My Sharona" and with many bands of that era - i was only familiar with one or two of their songs anyway - but even a hit and fizzle gives an artist choices and experience in a pretty brutal industry ...
i'll remember ...

Miles said...

Nicely put dad.

Doug was indeed a mentor as well as a friend. What he shared when he produced Mystery Pop's eponymous CD went way beyond helping us capture our sound (which we had been crafting for 7 or 8 years when I met him at an auto tech class at SMC). Instead, without taking a dime, he shared with us all he knew about how to make rock and roll. It believe it was spiritual for all of us, especially when after many months of work we listened back to the final mix LOUD on the recording studio's HUGE sound system. I'm getting goosebumps remembering it.

Part of our bond was how he and I shared the experience of having music save our lives. For me it was unconscious. For him it was conscious. He remembered the moment it happened. He told me how as a young teen he was despairing about his life, kind of losing hope, when like a shot from above, he heard for the first time... The Beatles. At that moment (I believe it was in a Detroit record store) he knew he would be OK.

His unbridled enthusiasm for rock and roll was genuine, and it was matched by his understanding of how to craft it. I miss him.

P.S. He also played a part in (my son) Donovan's love of music, specifically the drums. We had some down time in the studio, so Doug started to play the house drums LOUD, (sensing a theme?) which got Donovan's attention. It drew him in. We have a picture of Donovan in a diaper and baby shoes (1 and a half years old?) completely transfixed by Doug's playing. After that event Donovan began "beatboxing" regularly (making and holding down drumbeats using his mouth). After we moved to the east coast, doug sent Donovan his first drum set (which later became Flynn's).

MIles said...

Just to clarify, our band was called Spanish Kitchen up until the latin pop craze (Ricky Martin, et al). We were shopping for a record deal at that time and we decided it was better not to mislead record label folks with our moniker. Hence the change to Mystery Pop, which is what we were called when we released the album Doug produced. It's on iTunes under Mystery Pop. Track 5 (which incorporates a clip of T.S. Elliot reading his poetry) and 11 are ones I'm especially proud of.

Lally said...

Miles, Thanks so much for those details of yours and Doug's friendship, poignant and relevant and well told. I had no idea Dog sent those drums for Donovan that ended up with your little brother. I'm sorry for your loss of a good friend.

Lally said...

Hey Miles you know I meant "Doug" up there and not "Dog"—and I didn't mean to sound so formal. A bit of the brain surgery voice I guess. Makes me a little more deliberate in my writing sometimes.

Miles said...

Funny, I didn't even see the typo, I read it as Doug...