In Memorium: Terrance “Turk” Gaines

In June of 2015, my wife and I moved halfway across the country to Baltimore, MD. There I began a partnership with Heady Entertainment, helping them promote live music events in the Mid-Atlantic. On September 8, 2015, I received a random Facebook friend request from someone I had never met before. He sent me a message asking if I was working with Heady Entertainment. He had seen my posts and said he knew Dave and John, Heady’s founders. He said he was a member of a band called The Strange Heat, and they wanted to work with Heady. Little did I know this would begin a three-year partnership that I will never forget as long as I live.

Turk was a uniquely talented musician, but more than that, he was a rare human being. He was uncommonly kind and selfless, and he strove to lift up everyone around him. His presence invoked smiles and laughter from everyone within earshot, while his own smile and laughter were infectious and unmistakable. Turk was a father, a son, a partner, a friend, a teacher, a businessman, a mentor, and a brother to all. He treated every single person he met like family unless they gave him a reason not to. Throughout his life, Turk experienced success and failure, life and loss, love and pain. He accepted every experience in life as a necessary truth and turned them into fuel for his own personal growth, and his personal growth always translated into the benefit of those around him.

Right about the time The Strange Heat was transforming into Suga Grits, I was going through a rough phase in my business. I simply could not afford to do booking work on a percentage basis, and so I dropped all of the bands I was working with. Turk, however, would not accept my resignation. He said, “Tell me what you need to stay on with us, and we’ll make it happen.” I was a bit hesitant at first, but he talked me into it. The 18 months or so that followed have been some of the most memorable of my life. We had Suga Grits running like a machine, and Turk and I talked literally every single day; sometimes business, sometimes fun. As a bandleader, Turk asked for nothing more from his members than the drive to grow and improve. He was a straight shooter. He would be the first to tell them if they were sounding crappy, but he would also be the first to tell them if they were sounding great. He did not demand perfection, but he constantly strove for it. As a business partner, he respected my opinion but was never afraid to stand up for his own if he felt strongly enough.

Simply put, Turk was one of the good ones. He was truly one-of-a-kind, and his light will shine on through all of the people he touched throughout his life. Thank you Turk, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to be a part of your life. I know I speak for many people when I say that you will be sorely missed. Please continue to watch over us from above as each of us strives to become whatever it was that you saw in us. Rest easy my brother.

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