Dave Sanders didn’t need a hospice bed.
He had his guitar.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” says South Bend musician Jack Pavlekovich when told that his friend and former bandmate entertained family, friends and staff at Hospice House during his final days.
“Dave was great,” Pavlekovich says. “He was a showman, one of the people you would go see. I always said I would go see a band with personality, not a band that was perfect. He had the personality that people would go see.”
Sanders, who died Sunday at 50, spent the past 30 years playing guitar, saxophone, and singing lead and backup with area bands Chantilly Lace, Bermuda Triangle, Southern Fried, Rivieras and Wildcat.
After starting Chantilly Lace with Pavlekovich in 1984, Sanders lived life as a professional musician - playing local clubs, Holiday Inns, and going on the road opening for reunited oldies favorites such as Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Gary Puckett, Peter Noone, Jan and Dean, and even Buddy Holly’s old mates The Crickets.
“He made the road, and even playing locally, a pleasure,” Pavlekovich says. “Dave always had a smile on his face. He was always on time, punctual. He was the perfect person to have in your band.”
And the perfect songwriter in the studio.
In 1987, Sanders penned and recorded “So Fine,” a song that made a local dent on the radio.
“It was about his wife,” Pavlekovich says. “The story is, he was shaving and looking in the mirror and thinking about his wife, Laurie, and it was so fine.
“He did that in the Wildcats.”
The end, however, wasn’t as beautiful as the music.
Pavlekovich recalls reading Sanders’ blog describing what he was going through in his final days.
“It was rough, the guy suffered,” he says.
“But Dave was one guy who was like, ‘You’re not gonna tell me no.’ He was very well loved.”
Staff writer Jeff Harrell: