On New Year’s Eve in 1998, my cousin Thanasi and I watched Green Day ring in the new year. The next morning, Jan 1, 1999, over a bowl of Honey Graham Oh’s, I announced to him that I wanted be a rockstar and play music. I finally picked a career. Considering I had never actually picked up a musical instrument, he laughed, and spent the rest of the day making fun of me. He was a few years older than me, and I looked up to him. His lack of support in this decision really bothered me. I left his house and went straight to the CD Store. I bought the Eve 6 album and spent the rest of that night deconstructing the lyrics because I didn’t know where else to start. 5 days later, at 22 years old, my cousin took his own life. We came from a tight knit family of immigrants. Our parents didn’t speak English, and it was hard for them to communicate. It was on us kids to grow up so fast, and translate the new world around us. Being the most outgoing – Thanasi set the stage for what we had to do. This made him so much more than that big cousin you looked up to. We all needed him, and he was gone.
Losing my cousin was such a difficult time for me. I coasted along in 1999, trying to accept the new normal. I barely made it through school, I was late almost every day, and I skipped out on whatever kids do for fun at that age. I hid my feelings, and nobody around me knew I was suffering from depression as I masked it with humor. I spent all my nights doing nothing but working in the pizza place. On New Year’s Eve 1999, my favorite band, Blink 182, brought in the year 2000. A year had gone by, and I still hadn’t picked up an instrument. Maybe my cousin was right. It was a childish dream.
Fast forward to that summer visiting my best friends at the beach. They were playing blink 182 songs on the board walk and a small crowd had gathered around them. They hadn’t been playing music very long. If they could do it, I could do it! On my way home, I stopped at the music store and got myself a guitar, and a karaoke machine. It was time to get serious. I learned 4 chords, and played the shit out of them. I practiced every night, until I fell asleep with the guitar on my stomach. I was just good enough to join their band. On Dec. 28, 2001, 4 months after joining the band, we played our first show. When our set was over people were approaching us at our merch table asking for autographs. What??? I work at a pizza place!
Those band days were some of the best days of my life. I spent countless days and endless nights writing songs in hopes of making it big. Part of me just wanted to be somebody. I wanted to shove my music in the face of anyone who ever doubted me, It was my way of saying “look what I can do”. I wanted people to think that this small, skinny, quiet, Greek kid was finally kind of “cool.”
I spent the next 10 years writing music without any meaning behind it. I was writing songs just to write songs so we could become famous. That’s all I wanted. It was all about an image. An ego, driven by the idea that one day I’ll make money doing this. I was writing for all the wrong reasons.
In 2010 I met my now wife. I knew pretty quickly that she would be the one. So I spent the next few years focusing on building a life with her, and starting a family. Playing music was still a part of me, even during this time, but it was now a hobby. It was something I did to get together with the boys. My boys, guitars, and a couple beers. Creating music was something I NEEDED to do to get out of my own head and it’s been the only constant in my life.
March 22, 2019 was the day we had to let Charlie go. There is no understanding of the value and meaning of life like there is during grieving. Life becomes background noise. Grief is a quiet place. Grief is Stillness. Holding tightly to your memories is the only thing keeping you together. I was paralyzed by grief once before, but this time I have an outlet. Soaked in tears, I started strumming the acoustic guitar and for the first time in nearly 10 years I had a song. I didn’t need a pen, or a piece of paper. This time was different. I didn’t set out to write, or prove anything. With the mood, the moment, and the energy in the room. The song just came to me.
This is for my wife, my daughter and for the first time since January 1 1998, I wrote this for me. This time around, I’m writing music for me.
Took me 20 years to figure that out, and all I had to do, was love a dog.
Thank you all for the support. It means the world to our family.
– Saki Bezas
Click here to Watch our Tribute video to Charlie.
Click here to Stream or purchase your copy of Missing you written and performed by Saki Bezas. (available on all platforms)