Two Thursdays ago, I walked up the alley toward local rock club The End and saw a sight familiar to me and to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Nashville music: doorman Stacy Fleeman, perched on a stool outside the door. As soon as he saw me, he smiled and tapped the stamp he used to identify paid customers onto the inkpad beside him. We talked briefly before I headed inside, and several more times over the course of the evening. I didn't know it would be the last time I ever saw him.
After being found unconscious and unresponsive last week, Stacy was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he fell into a coma, was put on life support and never regained brain function. After an agonizing week for friends and family, he passed away Sunday at the age of 33. As of press time, we could not verify the cause of death.
I asked others who knew Stacy to share their remembrances, and many were gracious enough to do so—recalling a rocker, a joker, an entrepreneur, a generous soul, a sweet and fiercely loyal friend. Some of their thoughts appear below. (I received so many tributes that only a fraction of them can fit here.)
Sometimes the stamp stain from a rock show lingers too long, like a bruise or an indiscretion. But the small black star Stacy pressed onto the back of my hand, on a humid August night two weeks ago—I wish it hadn't faded so fast.
Bruce Fitzpatrick, owner, The End We lost a co-worker, friend and local musician. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family as we mourn his passing away. Stacy was a great worker and he will be extremely missed.
Mike Adkins, bandmate in dharmakaya I was honored to share the stage with him because I truly think he was the most pure rock 'n' roll frontman Nashville's ever produced, in all his rough, raw, often crude fury. He's the only rock songwriter whom I could conceive making the word "burgeoning" completely kick ass in song ("Let You Down"). And to hear his lyrics/singing in "Beautiful Indiscretion" is to behold an artist sacrificing his own vulnerability for anyone who would hear. Stacy was always very real, and that's what you felt playing with him.
A.J. Schaeffer, Spat! Records I have only the fondest memories of Stacy. He was like the brother I never had, and he will be forever missed.
Laura Joseph, bartender, The End Stacy organized benefits for friends that had misfortunes, including me when I had a fire at my apartment building. He might not have any money himself, but he was the person that would give you the shirt off his back. His father, Tom Fleeman, told me a story about Stacy getting a check from his mother, Pat Fleeman, for his birthday and never cashing it because he knew that she needed the money and didn't want to take it from her. This is how Stacy lived. He was very close with his mother, always concerned for her health issues, visiting and calling her regularly. And of course, I can't talk about Stacy without talking about his beloved Dalmatian dog, Romeo. I heard about this dog almost every time I worked. He adored his dog that he had for years and had gone to extremes to keep the dog comfortable in his old age. He pampered that dog and always got a smile on his face when talking about him.
Stacy was a wonderful guy all around, and I might have taken him for granted for the fact that he was always around, as many might have done in Elliston. You could drop by The End and talk to him whenever you wanted. I could step from behind the bar during slow times and have a great conversation with him. It took no effort to find Stacy, and you would always feel better after talking with him. He was a fixture in the Elliston community. I was lucky to know him, and it would be selfish to think I was the only one affected by Stacy this way. He was adored by many, and the swarms of people that came to the hospital after the news of Stacy's tragedy showed that he affected many people the same way. Stacy was a great guy and I will miss him always.
Jon Decious, Dixie Whiskey Myself, and everyone else in Nashville playing music locally, has lost their biggest fan.
Tracy Moore Stacy recruited out-of-the-way and unlikely-to-be-heard acts around town and the world over—it didn't matter if they were obscure or out of step. He seemed to be drawn to any band that wore its influences proudly on its sleeve, and proof of that was the way he championed all his bands equally, whether they would some day be courted by majors or were destined to court fans wherever they could find them. And he did it all with such an unexpected humility, taking door money most nights at The End like someone who was genuinely happy to just be part of the music scene, no matter what role it required of him.
Jesse Baker I met Stacy when I was about 15 or 16 years old, while I was promoting for the Muse and he was running the Spat! Records store in back. Stacy has that kind of love and devotion for music that is rare in this day and age, very little prejudice and all the optimism in the world when it comes to the right band. He also has that same love and devotion for the people around him. Stacy is responsible for helping in many of the personal advancements I have made, not only in the music scene, but as a person, and I'm sure that applies to many, many others as well.
Matt Friction, The Pink Spiders This town has lost a true music lover, a rare compassionate individual and a great man. One of the few people I've ever known that I can't picture in my head without a smile on his face. This city won't be the same without him.
Aaron Hartley, Theory 8 Records The first time I met Stacy, he was wearing a shirt with Spat! on the front and a list of bands on the back. He was a huge champion of his bands. I saw him the Saturday night before he went into the hospital. He said, "Aaron Hartley, you look like a long-haired, long-bearded dirty hippie!" That made me laugh. I didn't know it would be the last time he would do that.
Kyle Donahue I could talk about all the things he has done for the music scene, but that's not the only thing I want to remember. I want to remember my friend that made irreverent jokes and played songs like "Into the Pink." There is much I can say about him that I am sure each and every person who is going to write a bit about him will agree upon. He was very affable, and loved meeting new people—which made him a perfect fit for his job. Those who were lucky enough to get to know him, well, were really lucky to have known him.
Heather Lose, Lightning 100, WRVU Up until a year ago I was living elsewhere. Coming to visit Nashville always meant a night or two at The End, and it was always such a pleasure to be greeted by Stacy. He really made a person feel welcome. His friendliness was genuine, and Stacy was a tremendous ambassador and a true fixture on the Rock Block.
Stacy always had a smile, even when things in his life weren't going so well. I am happy to have celebrated the ups with him (the Pink Spiders' success) and am glad I was there to lend an ear when things weren't so rosy. There was a consistency to Stacy's cheery personality through everything, and the Nashville music scene will not be the same without him.
Vicki Yant My memories started with Stacy when I was in the sixth grade. We talked on the phone every day. He taught me to ride a skateboard. He told me everything a sixth-grade girl did not need to know about sex. I would go back and tell my parents what I had learned, then tell them I read it on the bathroom walls at the skating rink. I got in lots of trouble when my mom found my diary and saw "Stacy Fleeman has a big dick." He told me to write it in my diary one day, so I did.
Stacy and I had very different views on the world. He respected mine and I respected his. I have so many wonderful memories of Stacy and I will cherish every one of them. I thank God that we got back in touch with each other just this year for the first time in years. We had great conversations. I regret not stopping in Nashville to see him the last time I was in Tennessee. I know we all will see him again.
Ross Smith He left us all so much to remember. We need to plan something very special for his memorial. And make it a celebration of his life. Lots of music. Tears of joy, as well as loss.
MC Iller, The Billy Goats Simply put, Stacy wasn't just a doorman, a frontman, or a label owner; he was part of the culture of an entire city's underground music movement. Elliston Place won't feel the same without him standing out in front of the End. I'm sad as hell.
Laura Davis Our family appreciates all the support of the Nashville community for my beloved Uncle Stacy. It's been amazing to see all the people who have visited the hospital and shown their love for him on the Internet as well. He was one of the nicest people you would ever meet and he always had a smile on his face. I do know that even though his life was cut way too short, he lived his life to the fullest and accomplished so much in such a short time. We will miss him dearly.
Patricia Fleeman To Stacy's wonderful friends that have been by his side through this ordeal: It's made things more bearable. I guess God needed him for more important tasks. Stacy will always be my miracle child and my own hero. I hope he can somehow know how much he is loved and will be forever missed.
To Stacy: Romeo and I will join you soon. I love you more than I could ever show you. Doug has really hung in there too. Until I can see you again, my darling, you won't be out of my thoughts and always in my heart. Love, Mom
A memorial service will be held 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, at Pettus-Turnbo Funeral Home, Lawrenceburg, with a receiving of friends starting at 4 p.m.
Email email@example.com, or call 615-744-3365.
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