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Rich Walker Surgery Fund

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The short version: my brother Rich Walker of Solstice (U.K.) is in desperate need of a surgery costing between 15000-20000 GBP that NHS will not cover - 100% of the funds raised here will go towards facilitating this. Normally, we'd band together to do some benefit shows - but during this time of Covid-19 that's not possible. We will be arranging some other special releases and merchandise in the coming months for other matters to help his cause - but these cannot be done swiftly, hence starting this campaign immediately here. ANY support would be appreciated and while I know we are all struggling these days, this is a chance to turn the tides of a particularly awful predicament affecting a living legend in the Heavy Metal Community. 

The long version: The Heavy Metal community has a long history of helping its own - in the end, we’re all family; we bond - we travel together, celebrate together, sacrifice together, collaborate, debate for hours on end details people outside of our community wouldn’t even understand. And yes, we fight like families do sometimes too…but when it all comes down to it we are family nonetheless.

Back in the early 90’s when the lyrics “We die as brothers and ride with Tyr” were penned, I took it as an oath - a vow taken to heart that remains as such to this very day…and it’s with this in mind that I come to all of you asking you to help one of our own, representing a small conglomerate of the ever faithful who are “in the the know” about his personal circumstances.

I’m talking about Rich Walker - my old roommate in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and the figurehead of Solstice (U.K.), who along with the other members of the band, took me in at the ripe young age of 21 and made sure I survived the exiting of everything I’d ever known - literally leaving my homeland behind - to battle for Metal alongside brothers I never knew I had. I’m talking about people who were just barely surviving themselves at the time, with only a single member regularly employed. We lived hard and played harder. Eventually, it became clear that it simply wasn’t sustainable in the long term and I ultimately had to finish what I’d started with While Heaven Wept - so alas, the potential was never realized.

Despite that, the bonds forged were - and are - unbreakable. Even though that particular family tree has long fractured, the experiences we all shared were indelibly carved into all of us and I do consider every one of those guys (as well as those on the periphery around us) brothers to this day. Sure, there have been falling outs and in some cases, severance… but in the end, nothing erases the ultimate truths of the past. I for one, have never stopped supporting everyone’s separate endeavors - and despite the occasional ration of shite from Rich, he’s always supported me.

And not just me, let no one forget during the times when stragglers such as Manilla Road and Brocas Helm were STILL forging ahead with true steel despite the rest of the Metal universe having gone down the paths of extremity - when bands like The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Cauldron, and Twisted Tower Dire were the ONLY ones holding the banners of “old school” Heavy Metal high and proud - when all of the labels and media turned their backs on those of us who had clean singing and archaic riffs - let’s not forget that Rich established The Miskatonic Foundation to give so many of us an outlet, a sanctuary, a support system - not for profit but for justice (and For Ale, For Albion, For Metal!) - because it’s who we were, what we loved, and what was emblazoned in our souls!

That’s right. I’m saying in the darkest days of the 90’s we would’ve never arrived at this more diverse present if it weren’t for people like Rich relentlessly pounding the drums of war for the cause! The Miskatonic Foundation gave fuel to the fires deep in the sub-underground that eventually yielded festivals and fanzines throughout Europe that we all have the fortune of experiencing today!

I cannot count the number of obscure bands that eventually rose to some degree of prominence because HE believed in them; from the moment I hand-carried an early mix of the first Twisted Tower Dire demo to Europe through to the unearthing of all things Slough Feg and Revelation, from the first notes of Pale Divine and Warning through to the dawn of The Lamp Of Thoth and Atlantean Kodex…Rich was there in the background. And the foreground.

It’s no secret that strong words were often spoken, and yes, enemies were made…but it was in fact, a war. We were all battling for Metal, for truth over trends, music from the heart and soul against wave upon wave of corporate entities that only ever cared about exploiting all of us - that found convenience in shoveling everything that resembled what we stood for into a shiny, new packaged label to profit from…ultimately a disservice all parties at best and a blasphemy to the purest hearts at worst. Yes, we all were guilty of expressing extreme views in moments of passion and I’m not apologizing for it - I just want everyone to understand where it came from - the fight against falsehood was real. Yes, feelings were hurt and yes, feathers were ruffled - but in the end it comes down to passion and a conviction.

All that said, I know there are some bridges that are forever burned - this is not an attempt to rebuild them - rather, as with everything I do, I’m taking a cold, hard, sobering look at the arc of decades having learned that my brother Rich is currently struggling with such an array of unfathomable circumstances - and knowing that he is too goddamn stubborn to admit this in public - given my propensity to want to help people help themselves I’m doing it for him.

What he is facing right now would cripple just about anyone. Out of respect for his privacy, I have no interest in revealing all of the specific details - but the long and short of it is: he requires an expensive surgery that NHS isn’t going to cover. There are other aspects on top of this that possibly could’ve been avoided and others that are simply brutal misfortunes - and those will be addressed independently. However, I’m not going to sit idly by and allow another Schuldiner or D’Amout scenario unfold without taking some action. No matter what you think of him, his music, or for that matter any of us that stand by him, NO ONE deserves this…and thus, I’m appealing to the Metal Community as a whole - not just the legions who DO have some intimate connection with Rich or Solstice…we have an opportunity to actually make a difference.

I hope you will find it in your hearts to contribute anything that you can. The goals are intimidating but I have faith that we can reach them.

As aforementioned, there are other plans unfolding that will yield very special releases in various formats involving numerous bands to aid with the other circumstances and information on these will be made available very soon - but LP’s and merchandise take time to manufacture, so these are long term endeavors and time is, in fact, of the essence.

Again, normally, we would arrange some live benefit concerts also, but during this time of pandemic, it’s not even an option, hence starting with this fundraising campaign and subsequently following up with other avenues later.

For now, I thank ALL of you for your time, consideration, and hopefully compassion. 100% of what we can generate through this campaign will go directly to Rich’s medical costs.

- Tom Phillips/While Heaven Wept


Thomas Phillips
Woodbridge, VA

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