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The untold story behind the song Lavender Sky - Part II

The untold story behind the song Lavender Sky - Part II

I hope you are doing well! I’m very happy to announce that these are the lucky ones who have seen their names be picked by Alex yesterday during a Facebook live session, amongst all the people who wanted a chance to get one of the last copies of the limited and collector edition of the lathe cut vinyl “Lavender Sky”. Congratulations to you all!

We’re all very happy to see so many amazing pictures of The Club membership packages so generously shared with the world! We were so eagerly impatient for you to receive your packages! It’s been quite a long and hazardous labor of love to give it life and have it all crafted. Just to receive the proper paper for the silkscreen poster, the good blanks for the t-shirts, and the good embroidery threads colors took months for our local partners to have, but they went above and beyond to make sure we'd be able to offer you those stunning handcrafted elements. We have never been as proud as now to work sooooo hard for something!

In my opinion — Alex might tamper with my perspective as he is the one behind all those projects, yearly themes, and designs — but for me, it's by far my favorite design since we created The Club about 9 years ago! And this year's theme, “As Long as the Heart”, couldn't be more appropriate to this absolutely strange and confusing year that is 2020. So I wanted to thank you not only for your participation in that unique vinyl lottery draw but for making The Club a very special communion to be a part of. It means a lot to us all.

So, since the packages have been shipped around November 12 already, it should arrive very shortly if you haven’t received it just yet. Make sure to look for the HTR Store email to find out about your package tracking number and if for whatever reasons you can’t find said email, just let me know and I’ll look into it for you!

And don’t forget, no matter if you were able to put your hands on the “Lavender Sky” lathe cut vinyl edition or not, you’ll have another opportunity real soon since the next limited and collector lathe cut vinyl edition for “Snowflakes in July” will be available on December 16, at 10am (ET).

BEHIND THE MAKING OF THE SONG
LAVENDER SKY PART II

When Alex’s father died, everyone was devastated. From the band members to almost everyone who had ever spent a minute in our community, that big giant of a sweet man had been a father figure to us all at some point. It was even more distressing and complex knowing that a profound fracture had happened between him and Alex, whose decision to dedicate pretty much all of his adult life to our community and the people who joined us along the way had always been a source of great tension in their relationship. At that point, the 2 probably hadn't had any sort of direct communication for the last 3 to 4 years, at least. And since it was becoming clear to me that Alex’s total dedication to our people was overly heavy for him, it was obvious that his father’s death would trigger something within him. I didn’t know what, but I was deeply worried for him.

It will be up to him to share about it one day if he wants to, but after that moment, Alex has never been the same. He became distant, even with me, somehow detached from everything surrounding him. And our collective toxicity didn’t help that disconnection. We kept going as a band, even though it meant looking at Alex slowly dying inside. He then got seriously ill, spent much of his time in his room, except for the live moments we were having on a regular basis on our YouTube channel at the time, touring was total agony for him, much like everything else associated with being exposed to the world. He played the part. I don’t know how he did it, but he did for years after his father’s death… And then one day he told me he needed some time on his own. That was a real heartbreak for me to see him that broken, but I figured it was probably best to let him go, even if no one understood why, of all places, he had decided to go to Tangier… Again, it will be for him to explain it one day, but I was deeply troubled with the possibility that he may take his own life.

So here we are, years later, the whole band in Tangier, in Alex's new life. I’m on the rooftop terrace admiring the most incredible sky spectacle I have ever witnessed, minutes away from what I feared would be our last conversation as a band, or ever for some of us. I wasn’t able to predict any outcome at that point. I could barely recognize my best friend and bandleader, but I knew by heart the broken nature of the rest of us. I would have given so much to stay on that rooftop, looking at the sky, but I knew that what was about to happen was by design one of the reasons Alex had us all go to Tangier.

Everyone was sitting in the living room on the first floor when I joined them. It was a funeral without flowers. It was still chilling cold, even if the fireplace was blazing. I strategically sat where I could see every single person in the room. It was hard not to despise who we had collectively become and not to personally hate some individuals. The silence was loud, until Alex broke the usual pattern we were all so eager to maintain up to this point. To see that once again we would cowardly let Alex take that so-called leader position made me sick to my soul. That’s why I had so much anger towards the others killing me inside.

Alex started by thanking everyone for coming to Tangier, for the chance they took to join him in what must have been very stressful for them, that he knew we were broken and that living on top of each other in such inclement weather was a recipe for disaster. But he appreciated that everyone gave it a try. I was steaming on my chair, looking at him be so nice and understanding. Until he said: “But hey, if it’s to be the end, why don't we talk about all the things we never had the courage to open up about? There are no more reasons to worry about saving something that cannot be saved. Do we still have enough love or appreciation for each other to do that, we don’t have any regrets or hold hidden grudges any longer?” That's when I jumped in, and I was ready. The specifics aren’t really important here, but I went biblical on Sef and Moose. It isn't how I would address those things now, but I couldn’t be more honest than I was that night. Everyone was screaming at each other. Only Alex was looking at it without being too worried about us going physical and looking for emotional blood. It must have lasted for a good hour, until we were probably too exhausted to keep going at such a high level of passion… It was a total mess. We were a total mess.

Alex then asked why we had ended so broken. No one was talking. Ben was crying, so was Miss Isabel. Sef was trying to save any dignity he had left. Moose wasn’t saying a word, as per usual. I was still looking to throw punches. Alex followed saying that we all started at the very same start line, but it was clear that we weren’t on the same pace now. Then Ben opened up. We shared about selfishness, abuse, bullying, self-preservation, taking things for granted, building empires in the dark. We all met in a Protestant church, of all places, and what we were confessing to each other, even if it had been well-known to everyone for a long time, was more in the likes of a broken band cliché than any kumbaya-happy-happy-joy-joy hymn. We were looking at our own emotional carnage. And it was horrible.

Alex kept pressing on the issue of forgiveness. There was still a lot of resistance at that point. Everyone was holding their defensive position. Until Alex opened up just enough about the reasons he had left for Tangier, which I will let him talk about if he wants. That little light of a sharing from him slowly allowed the darkness of the room to become less heavy. He didn’t say much, but he knew what to say for us to understand. That's when the real conversation began, away from the usual bullshit and convenient excuses we all had heard a thousand times before. We talked, cried, screamed some more, even prayed all together for the first time in about 10 years. We spent all night fighting against that ravaging cancer that had taken the best part of our friendship. I could say we needed to hit the bottom, but it wouldn’t be enough of a picture for you to understand. We had to remove every single part of gangrene our communal body was plagued with and completely burn those rotten elements for good. We were exhausted.

There is so much beauty and strength in unity when we all decide to be there for one another, to leave our demons and fears at the door of our selfishness... When we simply turn on the light, this light quickly lights us up. You can suddenly see the people around you. You can feel beyond yourself, and wonderful things suddenly start happening. Truth is what sets free, and forgiveness is the most wonderful gift there is to offer and receive.

And here I was, in Africa, where I had the privilege to witness in action, in front of my very eyes, what Alex had become and how transformative his time in Tangier had been. It all made sense to me. He had to get away, to run away. It was more than needed for him to find what he had lost and to decide what he wanted to be from that moment on. As much as I understood why he wanted us all to join him, what a significant offering of love and compassion towards the very same people who almost destroyed him inside out for the last 10 years or so that was... He knew it wouldn’t be magical, wouldn’t be easy, but it would be real. And I realized that if I wasn’t able to recognize my best friend no more, it was because I wasn’t able to see what I had become, what I had lost in all those years working like crazy without feeding what truly matters: the heart.

But where do you go from there?

Alex went back to his room on the second floor. Everyone kept looking at the floor. Dead silence. Then Alex reemerged and said: "It’s morning, guys. We fought our nature all night just so we could see the light of that new day filled with all sorts of possibilities if we are willing to truly give it a try. We don’t even have to believe that we are now different; we are. So let’s make that night a foundational marker for everyone who was there to live it, but even more so, who wants to embody that freedom for good. Let’s make it eternal.” He then opened a bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black. We all drank a shot to immortalize that moment. He invited us to the rooftop terrace, and we witnessed the sunrise. We took another shot, but this time it was to us, to this unit, to its fulfillment by being honest, by offering others the best of who we are. And this simple but powerful gesture is now part of our family tradition, sealing everything we feel is eternal and of the highest importance with a significant toast, all that in order for us to always remember what truly matters the most!

Not too long after we finished hugging each other, a process that can sometimes last at least another hour, exhausted but feeling way lighter than how arrived in Tangier, as we were converging towards our rooms, Alex asked Ben if he could play this piano part he had played before everything started to explode between each other. So we all suddenly stopped, we sat down on the floor of that rudimentary “studio”, the sun showering the whole room. Alex reached out to one of his notebooks, wrote a few words, and we heard him sing: “The trigger’s pulled… long-distance goodbye… the trigger’s pulled… the word’s confessed… the trigger’s pulled… one last embrace… the trigger’s pulled.” I guess those words have a different perspective for you now that you know part of the story behind it.

And that early morning we all knew there was no better place to be than being 1/6th of this fragile driven force, where love, compassion, forgiveness, brotherhood are the epicenter, the heartbeat of every note, rhythm, word we decide to be, way before we could even have the privilege to give birth to what "being" could inspire us to share with you…

That was the beginning of everything that would eventually follow, and I’m not talking about music or creative projects here, but about our relational renaissance.

LAVENDER SKY LIVE FROM THE
UPPER ROOM STUDIO 

The very last vinyl of this collector edition is already at our door...! I just can’t believe it! What an amazing journey this has been so far! Stay tuned for the very last chapter of this crazy journey! 

Snowflakes in July is the most intimate song that Alex wrote for the album Windows in the Sky! Looking forward to bringing you where this song all began! 

Your Host and Friend,
Jeff

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