December 13, 2007

Lynette Christine Knackstedt
4/26/1970 - 12/7/2007
R. I. P.
It's been a tough week thus far. Monday morning I received the news of Lynette's passing through a message on the asian man records voice mail. A long and thorough account of the last days of Lynette's life through the voice of her younger brother Eric whom was probably 6 or 7 years old when I last saw him. The realization that I hadn't even physically seen Lynette in probably 5 years now and the last time we talked was last year.

We had lost contact do to various circumstances, but our last conversation was fun and I knew that we still cared deeply about each other. We had grown up together through Jr. High, High School, and then 7 years of our adult life was spent in non-stop contact during the Skankin' Pickle years. I taught Lynette how to play SKA. I remember sitting in the now office of AMR trying to teach her SKA upstrokes in hopes that we could start a band.

I remember how nervous she was at our first show. She had a song where she sang solo and her voice shrunk in fear. She would grow into a great singer/guitarist and a voice with such strength and vibrato.

In high school we both worked at a phone soliciting company for the SF CHRONICLE NEWSPAPER. I can still remember the sales pitch...."I'm calling from the Chronicle/Examiner newspaper and right now we're sending our paper out to all the residents in your area.... YADA YADA YADA... For a time we comprised the afternoon shift which was just me and her for a few months. The boss would just leave us there and we would laugh at the fact that we had no sales and didn't really care. She was just trying to save some cash to buy a car of some sort. That car would turn into an old volkswagon bug that would last a good ten years.

I remember when Lynette told me she was gay. It was 1989 and I was the first person in the band that she would turn to and that meant a lot to me and still does. We shared so much together. The early years of touring make for the best memories. Sleeping on strangers floors, getting paid in gift certificates to McDonalds cause the club made no money and this is all they could offer, driving through snow storms, getting heckled by skinheads(both racist and non-racist), playing in front of just the bartender in Baton Rouge, LA., playing in front of 11,000 people in Long Beach, CA.. There are so many stories that are filling my head right now. Things that I haven't thought of in years.

And then I think of all the lost time and how I have really no idea what she had been up to for the last decade. The demise of Skankin' Pickle was ugly. We had become a band that was generating a lot of money and at the height of the SKA boom in the mid 90's we were pioneering the third wave. But I had lost the passion for it and therefore couldn't go on. I think it caused some resentment and anger towards me as we had worked so hard for 7 years to get to the point we were at. So things were left on a sore note.

And now 11 years has passed and my friend is gone. I miss you Lynette.
Mike "Bruce Lee' Park