The first band I was ever in was formed in middle school. We were called BEAD-an acronym for Brad, Eli, Alex, Dan. The Alex was Alex Finamore, our bassist and one of my closest friends growing up. I remember Alex had a metallic teal Fender bass, and we used to spend our weekend nights jamming in Dan’s basement until it got late and we could sneak out and rollerblade to a girl’s house or covertly smoke cigars in the park.

Alex and I drifted a part a bit once we got to high school, and I hadn’t seen him in a while before we ran into each other at the bar last Thanksgiving. Turned out we were both in law school, on similar paths, and still shared a love for music. When I told him that I was playing in a band again he was so pumped about it, and told me he needed to see a show. I promised I would let him know next time we were playing in the area and he said he’d be there.

When we played at the DC9 at the end of July we were chilling before at the bar when Alex came in the door. We got to chat for a bit before we went on stage and I think it struck us both how far we’d come since those days with BEAD. We made plans to get together in earnest in the near future, but that was the last time I would ever see him.

The next time we had a show inDC was on January 7 of this year, and I was on facebook the day of the show when I remembered that Alex was on break. I thought he might be in town that night so I went to check his facebook page to see if he was around. What I saw instead was a series of posts in rememberance of Alex, expressing sorrow for his passing. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in that moment and it’s actually still extremely hard to believe Alex is really gone.

A flood of memories immediately hit me–memories of us as kids playing soccer, with the band, partying together. What really struck me was that in every memory I had of Alex, he had a big smile in his face. That was just the kind of person that he was, and it sounds like a cliche, but in his case it’s really true; he was almost always smiling.

I was thinking about Alex throughout the show that night, and with all of these memories in my head I wrote a song once we got back to New York. It’s called “Keep Smiling”,and you can download it below. If you knew Alex you probably loved him a lot like I did, and that’s what this song is really about.

-Eli

In loving memory of Alex T. Finamore
1/1/85 – 1/6/11

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