"So I have spent the best part of the last 24 hours trying to figure out why things in life happen when they do. And who they happen to. Brett Walker passed away peacefully at his home in Draper Utah, his sleep on Monday July 8. We may never know why. I guess it was just his time as they say.
Brett Walker was a long-time friend. I've never met him in person – that's just the way business is these days. You don't have to “meet” a person to know they are a friend and to know they are a genuine soul… one who makes your day better for knowing them.
Brett and I started talking not long after I started this site in the late 90s. We've kept in touch ever since and he was someone I had straight away placed in the good guy category. The type that makes working in this business easier.
Friendship aside, I have always viewed Brett as an incredibly gifted singer and songwriter, who had a knack of writing and singing from the heart and making each lyric sound as if it could apply to you. I can't count the number of times I've got lost in the lyrics of Quicksand from his classic Nevertheless album.
As is the case with many talented people, not enough people knew the name Brett Walker. He should have been a star. But most reading this know his music and I'm sure will agree with that assessment.
It's always tough losing one of the good guys. But it happens. And we will remember Brett. His music has made an impact upon a lot of lives and I know I'm better off thanks to his music.
Over the course of the last 12 months I have been working extensively with Brett on his new album, which he just completed only weeks ago.
He had been sending me demos all the while, then rough mixes, final mixes and ultimately the final master for what will be Straight Jacket Vacation.
I'm so proud of what Brett has accomplished with this new album. It's right up there with Nevertheless as far as classic, timeless melodic rock goes. And I know his fans are going to love it – even though they will now have to listen to it with the knowledge that Brett has passed.
The other thing I have been doing with Brett was working on making a live comeback at MelodicRockFest 3 in September. I know many were really looking forward to his set, none more than myself.
With Brett's tragic passing, he leaves a huge void in the event.
Brett is irreplaceable. And I wouldn't consider for one second trying to replace him. Instead, MRF will pay tribute to Brett Walker in the best way possible.
Brett told me a week or two back that his band was the best he'd ever worked with. So I am going to give them that chance. Brett's drummer Mugs Cain has been with him for years (and I know many will know his awesome track record), so together, Mugs, myself and Brett's ever supportive wife Sheron will get the whole band out to Chicago as planned.
Paying tribute to Brett will be some great vocalists doing the very set that was originally intended for the event.
It will be a great way to thank Brett and his band for everything and pay tribute to someone that has been taken from us all long before his time.
Brett – may you rest in peace mate. You will be missed."
Georg Siegl, AOR Heaven:
"In deep mourning and dismay, yesterday we received the tragic information that US singer, songwriter and musician Brett Walker sadly has passed away.
Just one day after the official press release announcing our forthcoming release of his new studio album “Straight Jacket Vacation”, it seems a bit bizarre that this blessed musician is no longer with us. Brett Walker was full of energy and thirst for action and was looking forward to the release of his new album as well as on his live performance at the coming Melodic Rockfest in Chicago. So much the worse now is the fact that he unexpectedly has passed away.
After speaking with his wife Sheron, we will – as planned – release his new album on August 30 because, according to Sheron, this would have been his deepest wish.
We will do our best to treat Brett Walker’s musical legacy with dignity and the appreciation he deserves. At the same time, we wish his wife Sheron and his three children the necessary power to hurdle this stroke of fate.
"On Monday July 8th, one of my closest and dearest friends Brett Walker passed away. My entire family and I are still in shock and mourning over this tragic loss. Although he has been taken from us far too soon, my talented friend's timeless music and amazing voice will live forever.
Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends."
"My relationship with Brett was far closer than with any artist I’ve worked with. I’ve worked with so many ridiculously gifted people yet I can’t begin to simply start barking them off like baseball statistics because there are too many. However, with Brett he had a totally unique quality that I recognized and that’s why I selected him as an artist I wanted to work with.
Brett was one of about five guys I know that can make entire records by themselves that sound fantastic. When he sang, his voice was immediately identifiable. He could play all the instruments necessary to convey his songs. He was an outstanding guitarist and very capable of improvising beautifully melodic solos. He was a great songwriter that had more than a few of his songs cut by other artists. Several of them charted and are still played in various radio formats to this day.
Over the last 22 years we had kept in touch and talked constantly about working together again after the success of “Nevertheless” Finally, after realizing he had written the best material of his life, I offered to come to Salt Lake City last year and stayed with him last April and May. Andrew McNeice had made a kind gesture to give his music a home when completed.
I was hopeful that by working with him his new material would finally see the light of day. It was brilliant lyrically, musically and conceptually. He had made huge strides as an artist and his songs were as deep as anything Don Henley penned on “Building The Perfect Beast” and “End of The Innocence” His voice naturally had a similar charm as Henley’s that was immediately evident as was a hint of Jude Cole’s phrasing.
Today, at the end of my conversation with Sharon, I was relieved to hear that at the end he was full of life and looking forward to the new album’s release and live concerts. His health had rebounded dramatically. Sharon was getting him back to fighting form. Somehow though, even with all that it just wasn’t meant to be.
There’s so much more I want to tell everyone about this remarkable human being but this is neither the time nor the place.
This beautiful man’s life should not have ended this way. He deserved so much better.
Brett, I love you and will miss you always."
"I signed Brett to a demo deal at ATCO records in the early 90s. I introduced him to producer David Prater who had just come off the back of working with me on the ‘Images & Words’ Dream Theater album. Brett was an amazing songwriter and vocalist and he cut a handful of master quality tracks that blew me and some of my trusted industry colleagues like publisher Brian Brinkerhoff away. I tried to trigger the demo deal to a full blown contract but the then label president vetoed the decision on the basis that it wasn’t edgy enough.
They were looking to jump on this new thing called ‘grunge’. It was a major f*ckin’ blow to the empire as far as I was concerned. Brett was clearly ahead of the pack at the time, right up there with Bryan Adams and Richard Marx but the way was blocked by people who weren’t even music fans reacting only to the aesthetics of style over substance.
It was one of the most depressing phone calls I ever had to make at the time, letting Brett know that, despite the quality of the tracks, I was unable to take it any further. Brett, myself and David Prater were crushed. The good thing was that at least he had some killer demos to hawk around elsewhere – small compensation for what could have been a great opportunity."
I want to speak about my friend BRETT WALKER:
Just last Saturday Brett and I were playing "phone tag." He'd sent me a song called "What About You". It was unbelievably great - It gave me the chills. Something really huge had happened to his lyric writing -- that song really spoke to me.
I had so many questions to ask him about the lyrics and how he recorded the great guitars. He called me back and left me a voicemail. He said "hey man glad you like the song (classic Brett understatement). I'm coming to LA in September for a month, so let's get together and do some stuff. Give me a call back and let me know what's going on with the Jeff Paris saga. Love you bro."
Brett never lost his spark -- his determination to create music. Brett was a true Renaissance genius. He mastered all aspects of music performance and production. He mastered electronics and built his own computers for his digital audio workstations. He started an electronics distribution company and it thrived. He mastered the music publishing biz and oversaw his TV & Film music company. Both sides of his brain were cranking 24/7.
I was totally intimidated and struck with admiration - and embarrassment over my own limitations.
I will never forget co writing "Waiting for Love" with him. We were so in the zone --- so flowing, even while making the demo. We really "put our backs" into it, and neither of us let anything slide. He inspired me with his willingness to anything to make it killer.
Brett sang with a style and personality all his own but was an incredible impressionist. In the beginning he led myriad cover bands and could "do" a perfect Billy Idol, Don Henley, Lou Gramm, or Elton John. I saw it right before my eyes.
When the real Brett Walker voice emerged, it was unique.
I have regrets about decisions I've made (like not adding Brett to my band when I was on PolyGram) and frustrations over the way my career DIDN'T go, so I'm inclined to assume Brett's no different. I do feel that, as Mick Jones said, he was striving to send shivers down his own spine, and fame was something to be earned by good work. But he deserved both. Maybe it can still happen for him.
Brian May wrote: "there's no time for us -- ...there's just one sweet moment set aside for us." May we all each enjoy our one sweet moment to the fullest.
Brett, love you back bro'.
I met Brett on Facebook years ago. He reached out to me to co-write. Every time we spoke he was always so excited about everything. Music, life, his wife, studio gear. Whatever. He had a ton of energy. I'll never forget how much effort and energy he put into his back ground vocals on my MMII CD. He cared SO MUCH about everything he did for me on that CD. I was somewhat floored to be honest. And he was also very passionate about his songwriting. We were always going to write. He had sent me some ideas and we just never got around to it. He had also asked me to sing on his new CD. This makes me incredibly sad. I feel like I was just getting to know him. Mostly what I can't stop thinking about is his wife and family. My heart goes out to them."
Matthew Rudzinski / Divebomb Records:
"First shock and now saddened to find out that Brett Walker passed away a few days ago. I was really looking forward to finally meeting him in person at MRF3 in November. I only began chatting with him in 2011, but the stories he shared with me of his past were funny and quite amusing. Brett was a very cheerful and optimistic man (in regards to his new material) and it was a pleasure, more importantly an honor, working with him to help keep his musical legacy alive. My condolences to his family, friends and loved ones in their time of grieving. RIP. You will be missed, buddy."
Shawn Pelata / Line Of Fire:
"I was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden, untimely passing of Brett Walker. I still remember the first time I heard "Hard To Find An Easy Way" in 2011 and thinking how fantastic it was. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the Divebomb Records reissue of 'Nevertheless' and, while my interactions with him were brief, I will always remember him as a kind, genuine artist. I am saddened further knowing I will not get to shake his hand in Chicago this September. His talent and energy were, and will remain, undeniable. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. RIP Brett."
Steve DeMarchi (Alias):
"Thanks for letting me know about Brett. Sad news indeed.... We really didn't know him...I think I might have met him once... Talked on the phone a few times back in the day... and a few comments on Facebook here and there...As a tribute for Brett, if I may suggest...there's a rough YouTube clip that someone posted of Alias performing "Waiting For Love" on Johnny Carson. The intro and outro are a little screwed... either way...I think it would show the success of his song..."