In Memory of Piotr Grudzinksi
Over 11 years ago word filtered to me about a demo circulating about a great new band from Poland called Riverside. I listened to sound samples on their website and reached out to the band to find out their status.
Piotr Grudzinski responded to me and since then he was my eyes into the world of Riverside.
Piotr had informed me that they were about to sign a contract for the release of Out Of Myself. I asked them to wait until I heard the album. The CD-R arrived not long after and the music resonated with me in a way I hadn't felt in years. I couldn't stop listening to it. I remember driving the disc over to Chad Hutchinson's place and we listened constantly while we did some work on the Laser's Edge website.
I struck a deal with the band, always dealing with Piotr. I suspected that this was because his English was best. He was always kind and friendly and a pleasure to deal with.
Upon release the interest in the band exploded and so did sales of the CD. It is our all time best selling title and continues to be an important part of our catalogue.
The band left us to work with our friends at Inside Out but my relationship with Piotr remained solid. He understood my disappointment and eventually we got past this and our relationship was back to normal. Years later he approached me about releasing a long form EP Memories In My Head which was a musical continuation of Out Of Myself. That Piotr and the rest of Riverside did this meant a lot to me. It spoke volumes of their character.
Seeing the band at their US gigs was always fun and a great way to hang a bit with Piotr and Co. I am particularly fond of their first gig at ProgPower USA. They were Glenn Harveston's annual "oddball" pick. Clearly the square peg in the round hole, they blew the roof off the place. A show of legends, still talked about.
I was in touch with Piotr as of a few days ago and the news of his passing is something I'm still processing.
My deepest condolences to his wife, the Riverside family and all the fans that were touched by his brilliant emotion filled guitar work. Piotr was a gentle soul and we are all diminished by his passing.