I received this on May 12, 1998.

Subject: David J fan gone too soon


I'm writing this to tell you a little bit about my girlfriend, Summer Brannin who was a big David J fan. Several weeks ago, she died at the age of 21 of kidney cancer. Her family had no history of cancer and she was perfectly healthy, having worked at health food markets for the past three years around San Diego, California. The doctors said that the cancer did 7 or 8 months worth of "normal" spreading in about 3 to 4 weeks. She died just seven weeks after she was first admitted to the hospital for testing.

Summer wasn’t a very big Love & Rockets or Bauhaus fan. She always liked to say that she was a wanna be goth in high school for a little bit which meant that she wore magenta a lot. She’s just too happy. She was, however, a very big fan of the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy, who David J played bass for in the 80’s. I bought her one of his solo albums as a gift and she loved it. We saw he was coming to town for a solo acoustic show just after she was first admitted to the hospital. I quickly realized that having her favorite musicians coming through town only made her sadder than she already was. I promised myself that none of her favorite singers were allowed to come to town without at least calling her.

It was the actual day of the show, that I remembered he was in town and when I came up with the idea to try to get him to wish her well. I left the hospital to “do some work” and went to the club and waited for over an hour for him to show up for soundcheck. I’d met him at a Big Star show in San Francisco several years ago and he was really nice so I wasn’t surprised when he was very sensitive about Summer and wanted to do something. He wouldn’t have time to run to the hospital but promised to call her after soundcheck. So, I sat and watched him play “Rainbird”, “No New Tale To Tell” and other gems to an empty club. I talked to his manager, who told me all about the new Love & Rockets album.

They were both very nice and took me backstage for the phone call. The manager took out a cell phone and I asked David if he could play a Jazz Butcher song. He was thinking he would play Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” which he’d done in soundcheck and I eagerly agreed. Summer & I are both fans in the same way that David is. In a cheesy way but damn if it ain’t catchy! I called her hospital bed, told her there was someone who wanted to play a song for her and asked him to state his name. “David J Haskins,” he said and played the tune. She had 10 people visiting her in the hospital room and was in total shock, at first thinking I was playing her a tape. He talked to her quickly and was very sweet. I got a big kiss when I returned to the hospital.

If you'd like to learn a little more about Summer, check out the website a friend of ours helped me do at http://www.vintageparts.com/summer.

Adam Gimbel (dumyhead@mill.net)