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Farewell to “The Always Smiling Maestro of Music”

It was a bitterness of extreme sadness that flowed through my veins the day the musical world had lost him. I felt the silence and sadness pass throughout the music community where they tried to grasp the fact of Phil’s unexpected and sudden loss to cancer.

 

Photo credit: Julia Li

Phil was one of the first people I had met after moving to Toronto in the later part of the 80s attending shows at such defunct clubs as The Gasworks and Rock N’ Roll Heaven.  Stationed close to his family in Rochester NY, USA, he based himself out of Toronto ON, Canada. He became well loved and accepted in Toronto as “one of their own”. His voice would sneak into your ears and grab your attention every time. He had the gift to make any song his own and gradually became the “go to guy” / “a choir of one” for anyone who needed a hand with a project. A highly demanded rarity in a blooming industry since the 70s, it seemed like everyone wanted to work with him.

 

Constantly keeping himself busy, Phil worked and toured with a plethora of artists such as:

 

Talas, 24K (featuring Chaz Butcher and Mladen Alexander), Cactus with Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge / Jeff Beck / Blue Murder), Yngwie Malmsteen, Brian May (Queen), Blood Red Flower, Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot / Whitesnake / Contraband / The Guess Who), Tony Franklin of (The Firm / Blue Murder), Julian Lennon , Gene Cornish (The Rascals), Ozone Baby (with Steve Major), D-Drive (featuring Lou Gramm of Foreigner and Don Mancuso),  Amanda Bentley, Backhand, Brian Tarquin, Elliot Easton (The Cars), Geoff Downes (The Buggles / Asia / Yes), Al Pitrelli (Alice Cooper / Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses / Asia / Sons Of Apollo), John Robinson (Michael Jackson), Peter Criss (Kiss), Anthrax, White Lion, Lee Aaron , Andy Curran (Coney Hatch), Iron Maiden, Jim Crean, Druckfarben, Gary Borden (who happens to be the great great nephew of artist / painter Vincent Van Gogh), Tango Down, King Friday, ifsounds, Unified Past, Deon Estus (Wham / George Michael) and Lips Turn Blue.

 

I shall be forever grateful to Phil for his wonderful hugs, heart bearing smiles, kind words and compassion. Those who knew him shall always remember his comradeship, honesty, integrity, humbleness and of course -songs. Especially dearest friends Sil Simone and Johnny Rogers and his beloved family.  He sang like an angel, was a very rare person and legend of his own time.  Thank You Maestro Phil for your legacy in music.