“I’m a boyfriend, father, musician, server, scientist, engineer, martial artist, carpenter and friend. When I feel like I don’t have anyone to turn to, I don’t. I just sit down, listen to the best music I can possibly find and I write. I write so much that I wanna fall in love with adjectives while twisting concepts in the sound of church bells accompanied by a metaphor. I write for me and you. Hopefully you get that I’m trying to give.” – David R. Campbell (STRAT) March 17, 1982 – August 5, 2008

Today, I celebrate my nephew’s memory and the power of his slam poetry and his rap.

He was, some said, at his articulate best with freestyle poems, poems that took off from the springboard of a word or a thought shouted out by somebody in the audience. It’s hard to capture such spontaneity on the printed page or even in a CD or DVD. The place and the moment were all wrapped up in what was being created and what was being given. It was, as we said in the 1960s “a happening.”

He was a rare talent and a continuous happening, gone much too soon, but never forgotten.


Other posts…

On Writer’s Notebook: Keeping the Place in the Story

On Eyeblink Fiction: a tempting snippet from Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire

On Sun Singer’s Travels: Waiting for Jock Stewart

9 thoughts on “STRAT

  1. I was a close friend of Dave’s even though I lived in Texas; he wrote several poems for me and he and I talked constantly on the phone. We had a falling out about two months before he died and I just found out tonight about his death. I am completely devastated and have been googling for hours now trying to find anything I can on him. Dave was an incredible talent and an amazing man, I feel sorry that Taylor will not get to have more time to get to know the gifted soul that was his father. Rest in peace, Strat. XOXO.

  2. I’m sorry you just now learned about David’s death. The memorial service was quite a tribute to him. I believe about 150 people showed up. Rather than having a traditional service, we had an open mic and a fair number of people came up and spoke about STRAT and what he had meant to then in their lives. My brother–David’s father–had prepared a video to be played during the service featuring memories of David over the years. It included one of his poems and helped all of us begin to find understanding and perhaps closure.

    I’m glad you found this post and appreciate your kind words.


    1. Here’s my MySpace blog post about STRAT from last year:

      David R. Campbell (March 17, 1982 – August 5, 2008)
      Category: Life

      CAMPBELL, DAVID R., 26, died August 5, 2008, in Winter Springs, FL. David was a loving father and son. He had numerous talents including being a gifted writer and hip-hop artist. While working at various jobs, he refined his hip-hop skills and is known to many people as S-T, or STRAT. –from the Orlando Sentinel obituary

      An officer from the Waterton Lakes, Alberta RCMP detachment knocked on the door of my brother and his wife’s Bayshore Inn hotel room on August 5 at 10:45 pm and asked if they had a son named David Campbell.

      He brought news. The Winter Springs, Florida police department had requested help from K Division of the RCMP: Locate the parents of a young man who died suddenly earlier that day 2,222 miles away.

      My wife and I stood next to my brother and his wife while the officer relayed the information. The details were sketchy. The Winter Springs police would call as soon the RCMP told them where we were. Two members of Alberta’s Victim Services Association were driving down from Pincher Creek to offer support.

      Just moments before, the four of us had been celebrating my brother and his wife’s 30th wedding anniversary over dinner at the nearby Prince of Wales Hotel dining room. The food, the sparkling wine and the postcard view of the mountains and lake were perfect.

      While Banff and Lake Louise were beautiful, the crowds and traffic had been worse than a big-city rush hour. We were looking forward to Waterton’s slower pace, a planned launch trip the following afternoon, horseback riding perhaps, a short hike one place or another, and then a trip at the laundromat before heading some 45 minutes south along the Chief Mountain Highway across the Montana border to Many Glacier Hotel where, we thought, our five-day relaxed and flexible itinerary was also perfect.

      The world had become undone in so many ways that now with four day’s hindsight it’s much too soon to recall exactly what any of us thought or felt as the RCMP officer drove away. We hugged each other. We began to pack. The Florida police called, but details remained sketchy. The Victims Services volunteers arrived and they said such words as are usually said under such circumstances, and they used their clout to convert our disparate return trip reservations into a 7 a.m. flight back home.

      As we drove north through the night to the Calgary airport up the nearly deserted highway 2, the stars above the Alberta prairie, while exceptionally bright, were insufficient for charting a course through the mind-numbing limbo of the moment or the foreverness of the death of a son, nephew, father, friend, and talented singer whose voice has been silenced.

  3. Ron'e

    Dave was a friend of mine for years. We shared a lot of memories. He would sometimes call me and another friend and we would speak on music and few other things. He was a brilliant and great friend. Your loss is shared. I know… 3 years later posting on this… but he is always on my mind. Always. That’s the impact he had.

    ❤ Dave Campbell.

  4. steveetchie

    Would love to her back from you on this. I’ve been listenin to his tunes for years and was his friend for many more (since middle school). I really want to spread his stuff and have avenues to do so but want his relatives’ blessing. I don’t know how to contact his former fiancé. I met her at his funeral. I can’t stop listening to his stuff and feel others should be exposed to it as well. I didn’t know about his book until just now and I just ordered it. Is there anything you can do to help me with this? Thanks in advance.

  5. kenny

    miss u homie wish u were still here rest in peace remember making songs with u some of the first tracks i made u thought me so much within music an life love you man miss u god bless
    hope to see u one day

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