She was only 14 when she was in a car accident with her mother, Deborah, who I also lost that day, and the despair, shock and trauma will never leave me. I can remember every single moment of that day and the days that led up to it, and I’ll never forget the eerie and deep pain I had in my very soul during the time that the accident had occurred, even without me knowing yet what had happened. 2 days prior to the tragedy, Gillie had recorded the theme for her new Nickelodeon TV show that was based on a young all-girls band, very similar to The Monkees. Gillian already had a real budding acting career, and we always knew that if she was to get a role that combined her acting talent as well as her guitar playing, it would be just the ticket for her! It finally came her way, and she was getting ready to shoot 27 episodes of her show. She was so proud two days before the accident, because on that day, she had recorded the theme for the show, and got to sing and play lead guitar on it too. The other girls were just actresses who did not really play their instruments, but of course, Gillie did!
We loved to perform together whenever we could, and I had her do many shows with me, as well as when she would perform with her own band of schoolmates, The “Ripptides”. Those shows were a blast, and I always coached the band, as well as often times being the bass player “behind the curtain”, as I called out one song after another! She was a real pro, and she loved to perform onstage, as well as on the baseball field, where she was an absolute star. There are many sports awards here named for her, and her poster still hangs in many a child’s room who grew up with her.
She was everyone’s hero, and the center of everyone’s world who knew her. The world is a cold and empty place without her, and for me, time has frozen since that accident in 1998. This kind of trauma has that kind of effect on time and space, and it never really ever goes away. I am so glad that her younger sister Lexie has also pursued her music, but it also scares me, as I know what it is to have them walk out the door one day, and never to come home. So here’s to her memory, and to holding onto the ones we love as long as possible. It’s really all we have in the end, and for me, I had to go on for my Lexie, who I raised on my own, and who has turned out to be a magnificent young woman. We both know that her mother and her sister are with us every moment.