Sharon Taylor wrote this piece shortly before Greg Simpson died Wednesday morning at the University Hospital in London, ON. He had suffered a massive stroke several days before. He was 71.
As I write, Greg is in an ICU at University Hospital in London, Ontario after suffering a series of strokes. At this moment he is somewhere between his life on this mortal coil and eternity, as each of us might define it.
In this new covid world while everything is on pause, hearing of Greg’s condition has further rendered a large segment of the radio and music business emotionally catatonic and silent.
We are learning new ways to shove down this grief, these shocking surprises. Poking at, reflecting on, even properly thinking about what’s actually happening, only gives space to the rising terror of this thing called mortality.
Deane Cameron, Bobby Gale, Les Sole, Terri Michael, Gord McDougall and so many more have been snatched away recently.
No one is going to claim that Greg is the healthiest guy around, but no one ever imagined this. Hell, I’ve almost killed both of us a few times, most recently in a car.
I’m one of the many wounded hearts. I’ve called Greg a friend since my early 20s. When I mused on FB recently about where we met, Greg quickly and firmly told me it was at Fryfogle's in London. I don’t doubt the veracity of this, much like I was always taking his word when participating in music trivia. These are the things of which Greg knows. His universe of music knowledge is legendary, and both earned and deserved.
But did you know about his love of wrestling?
Do you know about the website he hosts with hundreds of pages of his notes on the subject?
When I met Greg, he was the music director at FM96 and I was in my first job out of Fanshawe at CKSL. I was drunk with radio passion and Greg was high on music. Kismet. Serendipity.
At that time Greg also worked with my b/f who was a Fanshawe student and had shifts at FM96. When Larry became my husband, Greg was his best man.
There were years of Friday or Saturday night euchre games at alternating homes.
Oh yes, Judy!
Greg and Judy had been married for a while when we met.
Judy was and is an executive who looks and acts as cool as a gorgeous cucumber. Her style is always on point and she was and is exactly the type of woman that I find intimidating. You know, the type of woman that makes you feel mentally and physically like a potato. In reality, Judy is the best kind of person and we had the best times. Not only is she funny, but back then she thought we were all hilarious. I have seen no one, before or since, laugh as hard and as long as the four of us did together in those days.
I mean really, what the hell. Times were pretty breezy back then. Everything was in front of us. We were all so happy.
Happy but also struggling, every single one of us in so many ways. But always hopeful. And so confident.
Children started to arrive. I’m very proud to be Abby’s godmother. She was the first baby of significance in my adult life.
Greg and I have had fights. We’ve hurt each other’s feelings; we have had words from time to time. We chose different routes. I put in time in Moose Jaw among other places, and Greg stayed rooted to his family in Ontario. While many have made the claim, Greg’s desire to be near his young family never wavered. He walked that walk without complaint. Southern Ontario music and artists are all the better off for it.
Regret. So not rock and roll.
Greg Simpson has something much weightier to balance any regret he may feel in his life. Integrity. For the music, for his own behaviour and in all his dealings with friends and business partners who usually were one and the same.
Oh and ya, how about being the guy who is absolutely chuffed when something good comes your way. Who has your back (even when you are maybe the one being the asshole) and never fails to recommend you.
There’s also that thing about being a terribly delicious gossip, but keeping my secrets. Or getting a little philosophical and dreamy because love really is the answer.
Greg has a hippie spirit and earnestly believes in the magic found in the community of music. Artists on stage, staff backstage and fans in front of the stage are all his kind of people.
There are hundreds of people that pass in and out of our lives. Greg Simpson is one of the most important ones in mine.
I think I’ll throw Bob Segarini’s Goodbye LA on the turntable and pretend that I’m hanging with Greg in that corner booth at Fry’s near the bar within yelling distance of Donnie, Nicki and Paul Blais.
All my strength and love to Greg in this fight and to his three girls, his sister Nadine, and to Judy.