Please Remember Him Well

There are about fifty different ways I could write this post, but it would end badly regardless of how it is written.

In the fall of 1989, a man walked into a Virginia recording studio and sang... "Sometimes when I lie awake at night, I can see my death acted out on stage ... oh, am I the coward or the hero? Where will I be when I've got ten more minutes to live?"

Yesterday, the story of that man's death was written about in newspapers from coast to coast. On New Years Day, he, his wife and two young daughters were held hostage. They were then bound with tape in the basement of their home. Their throats were slashed and the house was set ablaze.

His name was Bryan Harvey, and he was one half of the two man band "House of Freaks."

Yeah, yeah. I thought the same thing when I first saw that name back in the fall of 1990.

I was a freshman in college, and I'd borrowed a cassette copy of an album by The Church from a friend. My roommate and I laughed when we saw what was on the other side of the tape.

"House of Freaks? What the hell is THAT?"

We listened to the Freaks side of the tape first, expecting it to be so bad that it'd be funny. But it wasn't funny at all.

It was brilliant.

Penitent sinners on the road to salvation.
A dollar in the coffer ends a pious resignation.
I don't understand.

Great works of great men to whom we are indebted.
Man does the work, but God gets the credit.
I don't understand.

House of Freaks is roots rock. Southern. Timeless. Brilliant. And, sadly, very few people are aware that their music exists.

They released four albums and an EP between 1987 and 1994. I'm not sure how much of it is available these days, but it's all worth seeking out.

In 1995, the two man band House Of Freaks merged with three other musicians and formed a band called Gutterball. Two years later, Bryan Harvey moved back to Virginia with his hometown sweetheart turned wife and went on to raise two daughters with her. He worked for the Henrico County school system and played locally with a band called NrG Krysys. His wife owned a local gift shop called World of Mirth.

I can't imagine how the investigation of the Harvey family murders will play out. At this point, there aren't any suspects or even a motive. It's just so sad.

May he and his family rest in peace.

"When I lay down my head,
bound for heaven or hell,
after all's said and done,
please remember me well.

You can dance on my grave.
You can ring out the bells.
You can drink to my health,
but remember me well."

     - Bryan Harvey

The story of the Harvey family murders made the front page of CNN.com until the story of the trapped miners took a turn for the worse, at which point, most other national news got brushed off. You can read the CNN story here.

Here's the story from New York Daily News

And here's an update, also from New York Daily News

And another update from the Times Dispatch

* * * * * * * * * * *

08/14/06 Update: Ricky Jovan Gray and his nephew Ray Joseph Dandridge are in custody. They're suspects in the Harvey murders and others. Jury selection for Gray's Trial is underway.

::::: | Wednesday, Jan 04 2006 at 8:10 PM
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Jedi Moon said:

It was a sad day, in a sad world full of the kind of monsters who could do something like this. House of Freaks and Bryan Harvey will be remembered well on our side of the states. Joey and I will make sure of it.

::::: | January 5, 2006 9:33 AM

jedi moon said:

Two suspects have been arrested. It all sounds too fishy to me, but maybe it's the journalist's jade. Check it out and tell me what you think.

[edit from Me! Link now posted in entry above]

::::: | January 9, 2006 7:11 AM

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