Chris Lee has passed away. Unless you knew him, I don't know if I can stress just how significant he was. If you did know him, you're heartbroken like me and you don't need anyone to tell you. But I have to write this.
Chris was the most recent singer of the long-running Huntsville Alabama metal band Envain and even before that had done his share of kicking ass with other bands for years. He was a thoughtful, intelligent man who threw all boundaries away the second he took the stage or barroom floor. He embodied the D.I.Y. punk rock aesthetic. He would sport patches and even tattoos of his favorite local bands. He loved them. When the singer of The Devil's Got A Hold On Me, Nate Baugh, passed away, and the band made the hard decision to turn an already-booked show into a tribute, Chris didn't hesitate to step up and sing. He made no attempt to copy his fallen friend, he just did everything he could to entertain. Blood, sweat, and tears literally followed and flowed. During a brief stay in Atlanta, he carried the music of his hometown with him and shared what he'd found in Georgia with us, cross-pollinating two killer scenes. While there, he'd started work on The UnderGround RunDown SE, a video series concept to which I guarantee he was going to return. He had started writing for the GAD! Zine and was always excited about it. Always promoting it. Always promoting art everywhere.
The last time I saw Chris was at the Cancerslug show at Lowe Mill in Huntsville on July 2nd. He and his fiance, Mel, buzzed happily around the crowd between sets chatting up everyone. She snatched a stack of zines from me and ran around handing 'em out. Chris talked about doing a side band that was a little rawer and punkier. No threat to his Envain position, he just had more to give than one band could fit. He also had the idea of the two of us swapping lyrics and adding to each other's work and seeing what insanity would come out of it. He told me how excited he was about the new People EP, "Sorry, Mom and Dad". We agreed that it was great. He instantly recognized the art of David Butler on the cover of issue 11 and said how cool it was. He was going to write a lot more for the zine. He talked about getting settled with his new job to take care of the kids and Mel. And he told me something that will always stay with me. He called me a writer and pointed to the piece I'd written about Nate's passing as the moment that he realized it. I took the compliment nervously. I think he was just happy that someone else cared. Because, damn it, he cared. He loved the music. He loved the art. He loved the scene. He loved his family.
So I had to write this. Because we love you, Chris.
Chris Lee's family needs help with expenses. If you'd like to donate, please visit his funeral fund on GoFundMe. Every little bit helps. Thank You.