A message from Dennis Keller, October,
I was deeply saddened to hear about my friend, Michael Knust’s recent passing.
As you can imagine, Michael and I spent a lot of time together in the original band,
Fever Tree, and it brought back quite a few memories to hear him talk about that
era of our lives. It is wonderful to have this opportunity to say a few things about a
great guitarist and my longtime friend. Michael and I spent many years together in
Fever Tree and beyond.
Michael was a couple of years younger than
I, and when I first met him, he was still
learning to play guitar. Michael was maybe 16 years old at the time, and so we did a
lot of growing up together. We were kids trying to find ourselves amid the confusion
of constant travel and being part of a successful rock group in the rebellious 60's.
Fever Tree was an endeavor that combined multiple personalities and talents in the
pursuit of musical experimentation. Michael was a very easy-going person, and I
appreciated how he was always willing to try out anyone’s new musical ideas.
Unfortunately, from time to time, there was some friction between us – which I felt
was indigenous to artists working together in collaboration in an attempt to merge
their individual concepts. I didn’t think that much about those tensions and differences.
The members of the original Fever Tree are much like extended family to me.
Brothers can have disagreements, but you work through it or let it go.
back, it was upon that playing field (battle ground) that Scott Holtzman’s
and diplomacy were invaluable in keeping the group focused and working in a positive
direction. Scott provided that important unbiased third party viewpoint to our endeavors.
He never lost sight of the band’s original goal - which was to produce the best music
possible. Both the joy and the tragedy of those Fever Tree days lie in the fact that we
were such kids when we experienced the enormous events of that era. With maturity, it is
easy to view things in retrospect, and feel that things could have been handled differently –
and perhaps better. I suspect we all play those games of hindsight, where we re-examine
past decisions and situations and wonder if things should have been done a different way.
Although Michael and I lost touch in the more recent years, I have never lost appreciation
for his skill and creativity as an artist, expressed through his work. Michael was obviously
a valuable part of the success that Fever Tree has enjoyed. He never failed to lend
something greater to a basic musical concept.
It is always hard when you don't get to say
that last good-bye to your friend. This also
applies for Scott and Vivian Holtzman who also "crossed the bridge" in these recent
years. Looking upon all those Fever Tree years now, I realize what a phenomenal
job they did for us, and wish I had expressed more appreciation to them for their fine
work and their friendship.
Each member of Fever Tree provided an
irreplaceable contribution. It is like a puzzle -
each piece is unique. However, when all the pieces are joined, it yields an even more
distinctive creation. All in all, I feel very fortunate to have been able to perform with
such talent - not only Michael Knust - but Rob Landes, John Tuttle, and Bud Wolfe.
Each contributed their share to our overall success. I am appreciative of each member
and I am very pleased with the outcome.
I am proud of the work that we did, and it gives me a feeling of great reward to see
that others have appreciation for it. I am glad to have this chance to reflect about our
past and reflect upon those individuals who were a part of those special times:
Michael, I am sorry that you had to
face so many struggles while in this
world. However, I am sure where you are now that the music is sweeter
than we have ever heard – and I don’t doubt that you are a part of it…
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