Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dwight Tindle Memorial Service, Nov 19, 2006

I've promised to post the full text of the above. To everyone who e-mailed me and sent messages to to our blog, remember: the words are all yours; and it was such an honor to have a part in putting this together.

Thanks to Julia Flanagan for her kindhearted contribution to both Dwight's Life Sketch and to my personal sanity (!) while I was trying to write it! Marty, of course, brought the words to life and threw in some wonderful comments of his own, which added the spontaneity that made it riveting.

To borrow a quote from Marty, Dwight must have been thinking "I have one word for you; EDIT!" Well, Dwight, your life was so full of wonder, to do that was next to impossible. Our hearts were filled with wonder and laughter upon hearing these things about you. So keep your door unlocked! We'll all be headng up that steep incline to stay at your new house sooner or later.

Read by
Marty Manning

'The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.’ Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

In reading messages from his friends, it's clear that Dwight brought people together and transformed lives. According to Dwight, “Freeform radio is like weaving a tapestry. You start with a song, it transitions into another song and then another until ultimately you look back and you’ve woven a beautiful tapestry”. Dwight could certainly weave a musical tapestry but his finest works of art resulted when he wove human tapestries.

He was a master at bringing people together. His heart, soul, friendship, talent, creativity, humor, and love were interwoven into all of our lives. Dwight’s mother Nancy said “the light that burns twice as brightly, burns half as long, and Dwight burned so very, very brightly.” Light is defined as “a natural agent that stimulates sight, and makes things visible.”

The stories of Dwight’s life reveal what one man’s life made visible to others. Stitched together by a common thread, they tell us of a man whose love was selfless. A man for whom love was not cluttered by the intrusion of ego. This is borne out by the fact that all of us here today feel like Dwight was a friend, whether we knew him personally or not. That is a gift few people have the opportunity to give others. It is a gift that will live on long after these wonderful memories start to dim.

So how does one choose from these dozens of astonishingly heartfelt memories? For Dwight, which ones would be most important among them? Well, clearly they are all equally important because they each reflect Dwight’s heart. And at the heart of everything said about Dwight is his selflessness, in tribute to that too rare quality; the author of each anecdote will remain anonymous.

The true content of a person’s soul is seen through the eyes of his friends. And Dwight knows who his friends are.

“I have never known a person of such enormous enthusiasm. At the end of sixth grade, Mr. Davenport predicted that Dwight would find his niche “riding an elephant at the head of a circus parade.” Dwight often heard notes not immediately accessible to the rest of us and he always wanted to share.”

“I don't know why, but I always thought of Dwight as a kid even though he was only 4 years younger than me. Maybe it was because of his legendary status as "the kid" who started KDKB at age 21. More likely it was because of his eternal sense of wonder. The phrase that I keep hearing in my head is Dwight saying ‘Isn't that AMAZING?!! The world remained a place of wonder to Dwight for all his 56 years. He had a lot of ups and downs, but I think he always chose to focus on the ups. And that wonder was contagious…

…Dwight loved music, we all know that. But the thing about his love for the music was that it was so strong, it made you want to listen to whatever he was listening to! I'm making a list in my mind of musicians that I recall Dwight crowing about at one time or another, and that will be my tribute to him…listening, and smiling, and remembering a guy who just wanted us to enjoy everything as much as he did.”

Many memories come to life here, but one that most people seemed to have in common involves Dwight’s home on Camelback Mountain:

“Many people who knew Dwight in the 1970’s immediately think about the Red Rock House. The house was a reflection of Dwight himself. The steep curvaceous and somewhat treacherous incline up the mountain was very much like Dwight’s path to recognition for the opportunity he provided to the diversely talented employees at KDKB and KSML…

…The surprising and daunting rapid decline on the way to his front door mirrored the astonishing and overwhelming delights he enthusiastically provided. At the entrance of any other home, an immense, heavy, solid front door would appear unyielding; but it was the same as Dwight himself: warm, open and welcoming…

…What appeared to be a precariously perched timber and stone structure was in fact deeply rooted and intricately engineered. It replicated Dwight’s devotion to his friends and family as well as his immensely complex, vast intelligence. The intensely spectacularly setting and rising sunsets were in reality only shallow echoes of the vicarious joy that emanated from Dwight. His homes were open; visible and bountiful havens of compassionate, endless generosity…

…Dwight gave, day and night, breakfast and dinner, and party after party. His handsome and comfortable beds, couches, and floors were available to all in need, as was Dwight’s gracious generous nature. His homes were elegantly decorated with taste, whimsy, and comfort that was resonant of Dwight’s immeasurable talent, intellect, heart and soul…”

“I met Dwight at the beginning of KDKB. Although I did not know him as a friend, he was nevertheless an important character in the lives of Hank Cookenboo, Bill Compton and the rest of the outstanding human beings who comprised KDKB and the earlier KCAC family. Someone said earlier that he was a visionary. I believe he was and I know his legacy will be in the lives he touched and changed.”

“His heart and his homes were open to all.”

“Back in the early 70's I was a young San Francisco critic for England's Melody Maker newspaper and the Berkeley Daily Gazette. I was also doing radio on Pacifica's KPFA and Cal Berkeley's KALX. I fancied myself as a sort of young and up-and-coming guy. In reality, I was just some dumb little kid, trying to get into the radio business. I had no idea who the heavyweights of creative radio really were until I met Dwight. Dwight being a visionary, he had the smarts, and the guts to hire a gang of radio outlaws to handle the programming for his radio stations KDKB and KSML. Many people followed Dwight’s vision wherever it took him, and Dwight either saw something in me that no one else did or he was desperate for an overnight guy to work for $100 a week…either way Dwight gave me my first paying job in radio, a move that would change my life, shape my future, and chart my course to this very day. ‘Grateful’ doesn't begin explain my feelings. He gave me an opportunity that rewarded me with a surprisingly profitable career, hundreds of stories to tell and many unforgettable friends who will stand the tests of time…

…I last saw Dwight at a friend’s wedding-day-that-never-happened a couple of years ago. Our friend’s fiancĂ© bailed just days before the wedding...but that didn't stop friends from everywhere to come-a-runnin. And Dwight was there like he was there for all of his friends. Like he was there for me. Radio was never...and will never be the same without Dwight.”

“I always enjoyed the times we spent together over the years: the parties up on Camelback Mountain and then later the parties at your home at Lake Tahoe; then even later, the parties at the house up on Camelback Mountain. In the past few years I’ve enjoyed our conversations on the phone and over lunch. I suppose the conversation I will remember the most is the one we had last week – when we laughed together about you getting cancer to copy Danny and me. I’m so sorry that I didn’t get a chance to come and say goodbye. I really did think that you were going to turn this around and be back to your old self in short order. I was wrong. Dwight Tindle, you lived a life in your first 30 years that that most people on this planet would envy. I know it got kind of rough for you near the end but you handled it well. I will look forward to seeing you again, my friend.”

“I loved Dwight. He was always a great, kind person to me. I remember the parties at his house on Camelback. The 4th of July; New Years Eve. What a VIEW! KDKB changed my life. It made me able to play music in this town because of the local airplay and interviews I did on KDKB. Dwight built a great thing there. I will miss him very much.”

“There’s no question about it: Dwight played a pivotal role in my life, and the fact that it was a "behind the scenes" role does not change that fact one bit. We only met a few times over the last 35 years, but it seems like our lives ran on parallel tracks, going on the same journey in the same direction at the same time, and every once in a while our tracks would cross….

…I was not involved in the radio business, and I was not really a member of the KDKB family, but I was an avid listener; and I knew that if I wanted to request a particular record, no matter how offbeat or obscure, all I had to do was call Dwight and he would play it for me. Once he even let me come down to the station, showed me around, and loaned me some rare albums so I could tape them in their entirety. Can you imagine any radio station doing that today?”

“Dwight was a wonderfully modest, casual on-air personality, and he delighted in the studio visits by local musicians such as Hans Olson and Early Peas. I still have tapes of some of those shows, where he really let the local talent shine. In a way, that was his role at the station: he made it possible for everyone else to do their best work…think of the legendary team of on-air personalities during the heyday of KDKB: Bill Compton, Marty Manning, Toad Hall, Hank Cookenboo, Nina Joy, Scott Niccolson, and many others. Think of KDKB’s Peabody Award-winning news team, and all the social outreach and community service projects that the station initiated or contributed to. Think of a radio station that broke all the rules and succeeded brilliantly, against all odds, here in Goldwater country during a time of great national tensions and strife…

…Dwight was the behind-the-scenes guy who assembled the team, approved the projects, provided direction and encouragement and support, and never seemed worried about who got the credit. In later years, he never lost his enthusiasm for the music, and his "Radio Free Phoenix" broadcasts with Danny Zelisko in the late 1990s were the best radio anybody had heard in this town since KDKB was in its prime. Thank you, Dwight, for all of your hard work, your good will, your sense of fun, your commitment to your community, and for reaching out and touching so many peoples' lives, even those of us who rarely had the chance to thank you in person.”

“My wife and I moved to Lake Tahoe from Cape Cod after a four month odyssey across the US. I had worked in radio as a broadcast journalist in the New York metro market and was used to very structured radio. When we got settled, I heard of this 'experimental' radio station in Tahoe and became a loyal listener to KSML, 'The Radio Voice of The Secret Mountain Laboratory'…

…We first met Dwight when he retained us to design a new station logo for KSML. Our business was in its infancy, and the station was one of our first clients. Dwight was like no other station owner I had met. Then again, KSML was no run-of-the-mill FM station! The control console was made of carved wood, as was the DJ's throne. The console had an ignition key that literally 'started' the station! I knew I had found my fantasy station….

…It was through Dwight that I met many of the friends I hold dearest. Todd, David Fenimore, Tom McKoy, (the late) Baba O'Lear, John Appicella and so many others. The parties at Dwight's home in Talmont, way up high overlooking Lake Tahoe, were always an adventure, and I never ceased to be amazed by his vision and imagination. My studio walls are adorned with the original artwork for the station with cartoon caricatures of the Tahoe family. Now the visionary who touched so many is preparing to go off the air. But the 're-runs' of Dwight Tindle's life will air forever in our memories. Thanks Dwight for nurturing our creativity and allowing us to be free and crazy on the radio.”

“I'm fortunate to have had one last conversation with an old friend last week. Of the many very descriptive memories that flood my mind are his tales of Woodstock, his room at Kenyon, visiting him in Cincinnati, in Arizona, hanging out in that amazing house on Camelback, talking to him from Tucson and him repeatedly asking me, "How do I sound?"- that fringe leather jacket he wore, and the night he got the puppy who threw up all over the new white rug in Dwight’s house…

…I remember Dwight’s passion for philosophy, as well as getting the worst heartburn of my life after we drank an entire gallon of fresh orange juice and ate an entire box of Dunkin' Donuts together in Phoenix. Dwight. I'll always remember your unbridled enthusiasm, passion, and infectious "hic-cup" laugh. You never did anything halfway. You were always full throttle ahead. You will be sorely missed. Here's to everyone who knew you living life to the fullest.”

“Up until three years ago, I had never even met Dwight. But after writing an article in which I had the fun opportunity to interview him, he e-mailed me a nice thank-you note that concluded with the salutation, 'Your friend, Dwight Tindle.' It felt great to be called a friend of a man who contributed so much to my youth here in Phoenix through the radio station he founded. I suspect he's always made friends this easily, but that salutation really stuck with me. Do one good turn for this guy - one little thing that's not even entirely selfless (I did get paid for the article, after all!) and that's good enough to make him your friend. That's a rare quality.”

“This email from Dwight sums up him for me. It’s about the Steely Dan concert (my first!) we saw together in 1996: He said: “Hey! What a great show! Hearing all those great old tunes Michael McDonald did and the intricate guitar work of Walter and Jon Herington, it was astounding! And they seemed to be enjoying themselves too! Makes you realize that they just aren't writing songs like that anymore! (do I sound like an old fogey or what?) Loved it when Jon pulled out the Gibson. He really got around that guitar. Thanks so much for saving me a ticket. I don't get out much anymore (old and decrepit) but I noticed everyone there was old and decrepit too. What a bunch of geezers we are!! had a fantastic time. Thank you. Love ya, Dwight”

“About ten years ago I knocked on Dwight's door on Flower Street in response to a card he filled out while attending a series of Bible presentations at the Camelback Adventist Church. He had to leave town and missed a few meetings, so I decided to drop off some material for him to read. When he opened the door and welcomed me in I knew I was going to experience a new friendship that would enrich my life…

…His questions were sincere and reflected an unusual depth of thought. He told me he was on a search for deeper meaning to life. His openness in disclosing his inner self was equaled by his openness to what the Bible offered him. Then came the day when Dwight's sparkling eyes danced with joy as he said, "Please won't you baptize me! I want to follow Jesus all the way!" When I lifted him out of the water he beamed with an assurance and hope that never left him, even when he was going through tough times…

…At one such period in his life, when it seemed he had nowhere to turn for a solution, he said to me, "In times like these one has to just hold on, drop your head, and move on one step at a time." Often our conversations would end in us both having teary eyes just from expressing our love for God and how He led us to meet each other and to share joy with each other. I felt closer to Dwight than to a brother. I shall miss him terribly. But I am comforted by something he said to me on the phone from his hospital bed. "I'm ready to go. And the next thing I'll see is the face of my wonderful Jesus." And then, with tears in our eyes and voices we said, "I love you," to each other. By God's amazing grace I know we will meet again.”

“I have two memories twenty years apart. In 1973 a friend and I went down to KDKB one day (at the old brick building on Country Club in Mesa). No real purpose, and we didn't actually know anybody there; it just seemed like a cool place and we wanted to see it for ourselves. Dwight let us in, showed us around, chatted with us as he played records, and even let me borrow a couple of rare albums so I that could tape them myself!!...

…In 2003 I had copied a bunch of my old KCAC/KDKB air checks to CD, and I asked Dwight if he'd like to have copies. A few days later we got together at Restaurant Mexico in Tempe and had a great time talking about radio and music and life in general. I asked him if he remembered the incident from 1973, and he just chuckled and said that lots of people dropped by the station in those days, unannounced and uninvited, but that they were always welcomed as friends. That pretty much sums up the man as I knew him: totally in love with music and always ready to make new friends.”

“All of us to some extent and some more than others, benefited immensely from Dwight's generosity and vision. Dwight sometimes felt like an uncle to me, and I'm where I am because of where he was, what he did and who he is. I'm not sure I ever told him how much I appreciated the start in life he gave me. Thanks, old buddy. Sleep well.”

“I flew Dwight up to Alaska back in spring of 2002 and took him along on a fiber-optic routing survey through Alaska, the Yukon and Northern British Columbia. We visited White Horse, Skagway, Inuvik, Valdez, Dawson City and dozens of other remote towns and villages along the route, most of which are steeped in the history of the "Klondike & Yukon Gold Rushes". He got to see and experience things that many lifelong Alaskans have never experienced or seen. When we were at the ‘Top of the World Highway’ I caught Dwight crying in the car, "Its so beautiful!!!!"

“Dwight helped start a revolution, the evolution of which is still very much part of the lives of those of us who were there when the original KDKB was broadcasting.”

In Dwight’s radio bio titled “Birth Pangs” he wrote: ‘Two weeks before signing on as KDKB we prepared a tape loop recording that featured the sound of waves breaking on the shore, with seagulls and the whole nine yards. Every seven minutes or so a voice would remind the listener they were listening to the soothing sounds of KDKB. We explained that we wanted to bring the sounds of the seashore to the desert. At noon Monday August 23, 1971, the day appointed for us to unveil the new station in all of its glory, I shut the door to the studio and placed “On the Way Home” on the turntable, said a little prayer and turned off the ocean sounds. The Buffalo Springfield sang ‘when the dream came true I held my breath with my eyes closed. KDKB was born. And I was the luckiest person on the face of the Earth!”Eric and I set

“Today is the day for Dwight's friends and loved ones to come together in celebration with Dwight one last time. After Dwight’s memorial service, tonight there will be a two-hour radio tribute to Dwight at 11pm on KDKB 93.3 FM Radio. We can 'come together' from anywhere knowing we’re once again listening to KDKB on our radios like we did back when it all started. I have no doubt that Dwight, Bill and his gang of radio outlaws will be simulcasting the broadcast. We’ll be sending KDKB’s waves into the air, back out to Dwight. It’s a fitting tribute given the way KDKB started. So let’s light a few candles, sit back and together listen to the waves once again.”

“Dwight was a true visionary and pioneer with a heart of gold. His dream and his will changed the shape of radio in Arizona forever. Dwight was inducted by a special vote into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame on Wednesday, setting a precedent for the Hall of Fame. Our Advisory Board voted to do this because Dwight was such an extraordinary man and an inspiration to us all.”

“We can be grateful that Dwight did not suffer a prolonged battle, though it is harder to grasp because his death was so sudden. The breadth of Dwight's magnetism and generosity astounds me. Even in death, Dwight seems is bringing people together.”

“In the room when Dwight was dying, there was a harpist. She asked Nancy what song Dwight really loved and Nancy said “Let It Be.” The harpist started to play the song, and when it got to the part that went “whisper words of wisdom, ‘let it be’.” Dwight drew his last breath.”

“I am so, so incredibly sad. Pain is not a strong enough term. The angels called to me in my sleep and told me a mistake was made and they were sending him back, because he didn't like the welcome music at the gates of heaven!”

“God bless you Dwight. Perhaps we rise up on prayers, as birds on wings or as drifting smoke or vapors. Perhaps we really are such things or something we cannot even see. We emerge like chicks from eggs and for a time bewildered and confused… another side to the Other Side. A gathering place for those who are born again.”

“The last thing Dwight said to me was: "It would be great to see you again, but until then it's nice to hear your voice. It was nice to hear his too. Especially since it was the one that gave so many others the ability to speak and sing to an entire generation of radio listeners. Everyone has special times in his or her lives but not everyone gets to experience true magic. Dwight made that a reality for many. It takes a very special person to do that. One with an abundance of: vision, spirit, heart and light. Qualities Dwight was kind enough to bring a lot of with him when he arrived and leave us all with a little bit more of when he left. Thank you all for coming. Today and always may every good blessing be yours.”

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