This e-mail was sent from Jerry of The Black Swans about Noel:
Dear Friends and all,
I have some very sad news to share.
Noel Sayre, my friend and bandmate for 13 years, died early in the
morning of July 3rd due to a swimming accident in Portsmouth, Ohio on
Tuesday July 1st.
He entered the hospital in a coma and never came out of it, his heart
eventually slowing down. In the I.C.U., we listened to Rachmaninoff
and Clive Palmer, two of Noel’s favorites. He spent his time in the
hospital with his close friends and girlfriend, Kristy, who played a
big part in his happiness during the last year.
Noel and I began playing music together on New Years Eve of 1995,
opening a show for the Yips and the Bassholes at Bernies Bagels in
Columbus, Ohio. We split $100 for that gig, and so began a partnership
that quickly became a strong and lasting friendship that the Black
Swans based themselves upon.
We were always more Heckle & Jeckle and Penn & Teller than Simon &
Garfunkel, as we shared an idea about music as art, posing as
entertainment, that we explored over hundreds of gigs and several
recordings. Musically, I always stood in Noel’s shadow and Noel always
felt he was my shadow. We spoke in code, a short-hand, that sometimes
alienated others and sometimes amused them. We were kindred spirits in
many way and couldn’t be more different in others. He was quiet and
articulate, rowdy and beyond shy, hyper intelligent and incredibly
dense. I think I knew him better than anyone and it is safe to say
there was a lot I never saw. It is shocking to think he will no longer
be a part of my physical life. We both imagined that we’d be standing
on stage together when we were 80, an appropriate age for our favorite
Besides the Black Swans, Noel was a member of the Ohio based rock band
Pretty Might Mighty, the Huntington, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra
and the Portsmouth, Ohio Symphony. Noel also gave violin lessons in
both Huntington and Portsmouth (making very little money) because he
enjoyed teaching children and believed in musical education, a
characteristic inherited from his parents who were also music teachers
There’s still more of Noel’s music to be heard. Just a few days ago, a
record by Larry Jon Wilson, an obscure 1970’s country-funk songwriter,
was released on 1965 Records/ Sony UK (to be released on Hacktone
later this year in the U.S.). It has already received high praise by
Mojo, Uncut, Rick Rubin, Will Oldham, and dozens of UK papers. I hired
Noel to play on it, accompanying only Larry Jon’s voice and guitar, so
he’s surely a big part of the album’s critical success.
Too, I’m happy to say he already recorded his parts for the next Black
Swans album and, as always, played with intelligence, humor, and a
transcendent pallet of emotions.
Noel taught me a lot about myself. As we played witness to one
another, we stuck to our guns, charting each others growth as a person
and a musician. We went through a lot together, good and bad, always
expressing ourselves in different ways, but never an unkind word was
exchanged, always caring and supportive. I can’t imagine my life or
music without him.
Noel is survived by only a cousin. A memorial service is being planned
in Huntington, WV on Saturday July 12. Donations are being accepted to
pay for the expenses. Please email email@example.com for
details on the service and contributions in a few days.
Much love, Jerry