This week, the world lost a great man. He wasn't a president, nor a prime minister. He wasn't part of a royal family. He wasn't someone you'd have seen on a reality show. But, to many, this man, along with the rest of his wonderful family, was a welcoming figure after a long journey.
Tom Skeeter was one of the founders of Sound City Studios and their main man. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of spending an hour there. During our visit, we had the honour of meeting both Tom and his lovely daughter, Sandy.
He was a wonderful and warm man. Even though we only spent a few moments with him, you could tell that he relished the visits from random strangers and made each and every one of us welcome. He loved hearing where we were from, lit up when we asked questions, and was like a child at Christmas with every new story he got to tell. In all honesty, we could have spent all day curled up on the office couches listening to him talk. His smile was infectious and you could tell that he loved his job and loved every person who stepped through the door. It didn't matter if you were Dave Grohl or some random woman from the UK, Tom did his best to make you feel comfortable and at home. It was obvious where his daughter, who now runs the studios, gets her own sunny personality from. We adored spending time with Sandy and Tom and are still grateful for allowing us to wander into their lives for those sixty minutes.
Truth be told, that visit changed my life for the better. It showed me that love and warmth can make the world a better place and that such characteristics should be treasured as opposed to being seen as a weakness. The Sound City family have obviously built their business not just on their splendid studio but also on being some of the kindest people in the industry. So often we hear that, to survive in any industry, you have to step on those below you to climb the ladder. Tom, Sandy, and everyone else who's worked there over the years have proved differently. They've shown that it takes hard work and dedication to do what they do. But also being a welcoming face in what can sometimes be an unforgiving industry. We'll probably never know how many nervous musicians have been soothed by their friendship and mentoring.
Today my thoughts and prayers are with Tom's amazing daughter Sandy, the rest of the Skeeter family, and everyone who's ever passed through Sound City. Tonight I'll raise a drink in his memory as I listen to the music he had a hand in creating. RIP Tom. Thank you for everything you've done and see you on the other side. Keep rockin', you wonderful man!