Colin “William” Tench, 30th May 1954 – 27th December 2017
This is without any doubt the darkest day in the history of Murky Red. We lost our very dear friend Colin Tench, too young, too soon, too unfair to be true.
We will miss the long conversations with him about music, life, silly things and funny noises. Because he wasn’t only a brilliant musician, he was also a brilliant person, always encouraging and supporting for everybody he met. A humble guy with a very big heart. Loved by many, Admired by many.
When we were down and feel like we wanted to give up, he was always there to tell us that ‘you silly sods should keep on doing what you’re doing, never give up!’
Words from Stef:
Back in 2009-2010, when we took our first steps on social media, we learned that networking is the keyword. Yolanda, who always was the driving force behind Murky Red, tried to connect mostly with Belgian bands, and spent a lot of time listening to music with a high crap-factor. Results; hardly any reply and a miracle if you could find a decent song. I must admit, our tracks weren’t that good either. I was writing pop rock songs because our focus was to get gigs on the local stages.
One evening, after hours of ploughing through ugly music again, Yoli said to me: ‘wow, you have to listen to this’. It was ‘The Deal’ by BunChakeze. ‘Wow’ indeed! We left a comment and got reply almost immediately, from Sonia Mota and from Colin himself. We couldn’t believe he was accessible.
We kept in touch, discovered more BunChakeze, and maybe a week or 2 later we had our first Skype chat. He gave us guidance, go there, check this out, contact that guy … We entered another world and realized that pop rock simply isn’t our thing.
I started writing from another angle. First of all only music I like to play, and also: ‘what would Colin think of this?’
No doubt about it, if we would have never met him, Murky would sound different today. If there still would be a Murky even.
We were lucky that Colin was one of the first people we got connected with on social media. It sets the standards high, on many levels. Through the years he became a musical mentor, a big brother that says ‘don’t worry about it you nincompoop, we’ll make it happen’. A soul mate in funny noises and nonsense. We laughed so much with ducks, pweeps and ploings.
He also could take critique from a snot nose like me. We exchanged tracks in progress for feedback, and he wanted you to be honest. Yolanda listened to numerous mixes in progress, mostly titled ‘final version 4’. He was a perfectionist, it had to sound good before he went to bed.
Yolanda and l miss the long conversations about music and life in general, that British accent, the many laughs he gave us, his wisdom.
I am not religious, I only believe in science and the laws of nature. But I’m the last person to say that there is no afterlife. We’ll see it when we get there. Still, deep inside, I am sure he is still around. Not as an angel with wings, but like a shiny plasma from a psychedelic Star Trek episode from the good years.
Watching over us like he always did.
I still talk to him. ‘Hey silly sod, I suppose you’re busy showing Hendrix a few tricks’. And in my imagination he answers: ‘Aargh, he’s hopeless!’.
Only Colin had the ability to shout around ‘I am a rock god’ and get away with it. So clever, so sharp, so incredibly funny. But always a gentleman. Monty Python and Beethoven in one person.
For us, he already was ‘Sir’ Tench. Now I recently found out what he meant for such a huge amount of people, his whole life long, he deserves a new title.
Farewell Saint Tench, thank you for everything, I’ll carry you in every note I play from now on.
Words from Yoli:
I met Colin in 2009 on Last FM, and his music blew me immediately off my socks. It was so long ago that I heard music which beauty touched me that much. I’ll had Stef listen to his music, and he also fell immediately in love. We contacted him and Skype became our meeting place. We had so much to talk about, he and we! We also got to meet Sonia Mota, Colin’s heart girlfriend, and it clicked immediately. We became a little family.
Colin was the one who introduced us to his Facebook circle. We were so uncertain about ourselves, but again Colin convinced us that we were fine, that our music would eventually convince people. It didn’t go that fast. We were dumbasses, greenhorns searching for our own identity. Made one mistake after another. Until we came up with one track that got us signed with record label Melodic Revolution Records.
When we got a new contact or opportunity we told Colin and dragged him with us, and vice versa (more vice versa to be honest). Sonia helped us a lot too. I became a Bunbabe (more Bun than Babe) and felt part of some kind of a sisterhood. By that time Colin started to become a real icon. We were so honoured when he played a duo solo with Stef on ‘Heal my Bleeding Heart’, the first track and album of Murky Red he played on, ‘Time doesn’t Matter’.
When the tracks for our first album were ready, we needed someone who could do the mixing and mastering of it in a rush time, because the first mixing and mastering turned out to a disaster, and the deadline of ‘Time Doesn’t Matter’ became ironically a nightmare . We needed someone who would understand what sound we would like to have. It was Colin who saved us. He did the mixing and mastering of ‘Time doesn’t Matter’ in a rush time, putting all his own work aside to help us. I had to cry because of what he did for us, tiny Belgians. We soon realised that he felt almost instinctively how it was supposed to sound. Also because he had the same sound preferences.
Years went on. I went from Bunbabe to ‘Mum’. It was our joke: I adopted him virtually, so I called him my son and he called me mum. And Stef was ‘Mummy’s fluffy toyboy’. Sonia became Colin’s ‘nephew’ and my ‘wife’. Just to keep things simple.
Colin and I had long conversations. He often talked about his frustrations and the problems he had to overcome and his private sorrows and worries. But mostly we talked about the beautiful things in life. When he talked about his family it was always with so much respect, I loved that! He and I shared the same values. The way how he could get along with so many people was astonishing. His humour inimitable (after a while I knew exactly when I had to wait to take a nip from my coffee). He was also very sensitive about Sonia. Nobody was allowed to say one bad word about her! Which we didn’t, because we also love Sonia. Sometimes she and we (Stef and I) were talking on Skype about how Colin could drive us up the wall when he didn’t understand something regarding the progress on his artwork. He also wanted to keep control of every little detail. Sometimes we passed him by and dealt things immediately between her and us.
Stef played on tracks from Corvus Stone, he was the bass player in Oceans 5, and wrote the song ‘Jussipussi’ on which he also played, for the first album of Corvus Stone (released 26 November 2012). According to Colin: “Now this is a little different. Sonia Mota donated her jussipussi and Stef Flaming composed this in honour of that”.
Meanwhile I created the website of Oceans 5 for him. We listened to version after version of his songs to let him know if we could hear something which didn’t sound right. We made Sonia Mota’s artwork print-ready for the pressing company,… We became a small company in fact.
Together with John Moulder Colin and Stef created the band ‘Transmission Rails’, with Gary Lynn Hodges (Lindsey Buckingham) and Joe Vitale (Joe Walsh) as drummers.
We released our 2nd album ‘No Pocus Without Hocus’, where Colin played on ‘Collateral Damage’. Once again he did an amazing job with the mixing and mastering of our album. Stef and Colin worked intensively together for a few weeks. Colin didn’t need much guidance. He knew. We were confident.
Doing the promotion and management of Murky Red, being the keyboard player too so that meant rehearsing every new track, the concerts we played, take care of my children and family, the household, meanwhile working full-time for a company where at that time our department was really understaffed, … I crashed. I had a burn-out, and on top of that my thyroid decided to retire and stopped functioning and I was in the middle of my menopause. Because of that I gained 40 kgs, my mood changed so I became a bitch, I had huge panic attacks and my short memory was heavily affected. So I really won the jackpot!
I had a really bad time for almost 2 years, I couldn’t accept the changes with my mind and body. I knew what a bitch I became so I didn’t want to bother friends and family with my problems. At that time I lost many friends, who gave up on me. Colin didn’t. Never. He was worried about me, asked me how I feel, if it was going any better. And it did, slowly but certain. According to Stef I am no longer a bitch, I learned to accept my new looks, body and weight, got meds for my thyroid, built off the workload, and my short memory?… naaah, that is still the same: a hopeless case. But Colin (and certainly Stef) was relieved that I became back the woman that I used to be. My friendship for him went deeper and deeper, and I promised him that we would never let him down. No matter what, he could always count on us.
Stef and I continued with the layout of his music artwork, always done by the ravissante Sonia Mota, his muse. We listened to each other’s tracks, commented, laughed and joked,…
We could get angry about the same subjects: prime minister May, the Brexit, war, racism, the environment,… But we also had fun about the same subjects: British TV series, Monty Python, silly pictures, silly songs,… He complained about the bad weather: he hated too much sun because he hated to mow the lawn and it was too hot for him, but he loved his snow blower. We both were big nature lovers. I loved his garden with the majestic trees, and he was waiting till my trees would grow bigger, haha. We ‘walked’ virtually through our houses showing each other’s furniture and decorations, the rooms in each other’s house. He with the laptop, I with my tablet. He gave me ideas, and I hope I have given him some ideas too.
Friday Dec the 8th he skyped us to say that the artwork for CTP was nearly done and that he would send us the images after the weekend to put them in the layout. We worked again as a well-oiled team, Colin, Sonia and we, to get everything done in time.
The last days:
December the 24th:
Colin: ‘Thank you for everything you did! The panic is over and I can relax at last, Now have a fab Christmas’.
Me: ‘Have a fantastic Christmas too Colin! Glad that you can relax at last 🙂 xxx’
Stef: ‘Hello Bunbun, Cherry Mixmas !! :)’
Colin: ‘Just got back from a long drive on sheet ice but the important thing is that I was listening to Boots for hire. Wow! Had to say that. Happy holidays.’
Stef: ‘As long as people keep hiring them, we’re good!’
Normally he would have sent a reaction, but nothing this time. On the 29th we knew why…
I feel strange now. Like if someone has cut out a part of my life and didn’t replace that part. A hole that will never get closed. I won’t be called anymore in the middle of the night to listen to one of his tracks or when he only wanted to talk. I can’t say ‘Shut op for 5 minutes for God’s sake if you want me to listen to that track’, or laughing with his silly talks. I can’t ask him no longer for advice. But I’ll keep the memories in my heart, forever. And I am convinced that he listens somewhere from above.
I still wanted to give you so much more my friend, but you left us too soon. I didn’t get enough time…
Go to rest now my friend. It was a great honour to have met you and to share our special friendship. Thanks for showing your big heart and make one big family of us.
From Colin Tench himself:
I love music. I hate music by numbers. I didn’t even try actually playing an instrument till I was 22.
I never really became any good at it either. I am a weird “guitarist” I can’t pick one up and knock out a tune. I really don’t like any kind of folk or roots music as such. I like music with a hell of a lot going on, so what I do is find a secret place in the music to add real content. Take away the rest of the band and you will hear disconnected notes and noises with the occasional chord from me. It only has any worth inside the whole piece. There is no doubt that music needs no rules or boundaries. My approach is my own but it seems to work!