Former TAXI member Chris Tallman, who played under the stage name Matthew Chase, had a passion for two things in life: music and extreme adventure.
||Chris and Sarah Tallman
In April 2008, after watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, Chris decided to go shark diving with his best friend, Casey, in South Africa. He was far more worried about getting sea sick than any altercation with a shark.
"He loved to live life on the edge. He could tear up a double black diamond on the ski slopes, and make it look like a beginner course. He even scaled up the side of Half Dome, in Yosemite Valley one year, with no safety equipment, before the cables were up... He loved the thrill of doing dangerous things. Unfortunately, it was feeding that thrill that got him killed," said Sarah Tallman, Chris's widow.
It wasn't a shark attack that killed Chris and Casey. Having just completed their dive, they were changing out of their wetsuits inside the cabin, when a massive rogue wave capsized their boat. All 19 people aboard the boat were thrown into the icy cold, shark-infested water. Unfortunately, Chris and Casey were not among those rescued in time, and they drowned along with one other man from Norway.
Despite Chris's tragic death, Sarah has continued to keep his memory and Matthew Chase alive.
Matthew Chase first joined TAXI in 2005, but due to financial reasons, let his membership expire. In October 2008, six months after his death, Sarah renewed his membership after finding out that Matthew Chase won the 2008 Independent Singer-Songwriter Association Lyrics of the Year award for his song "Believe" off his final CD, Everything. He wrote "Believe" for Sarah shortly before their wedding. The big news about the win was announced just two weeks before what would have been their first wedding anniversary.
In the months following his death, Sarah woke up each day and pursued her late husband's music career like it was her full-time job. She established a mini Matthew Chase marketing agency, connected with friends in the entertainment industry, updated his Web site, and submitted his songs to music listings and entered them in competitions.
"The reason that I joined TAXI last year, and have continued to submit Matthew Chase's music, is because his last CD, Everything, was amazing and I truly BELIEVE in his music! I saw the trials and tribulations that he went through when recording all three of his CDs, and we both knew that he had finally recorded something that was going to launch Matthew Chase's career. As his widow, there was no way that I was going to let his music die with him. His music is a gift that he left to me, to share with others," Sarah said.
Sarah recently signed a publishing deal for Matthew Chase's music as a result of a submission to TAXI. Sarah submitted the songs in January, and just received news about the deal in May. She ultimately signed a total of eight songs.
"Matthew Chase used to tap his pen at work, tap his hand on the steering wheel in the car, etc. He told me that he always had a song going in his head. He said that he couldn't ever remember not having a melody that he was thinking about. He used to record riffs, jot down lyrics whenever he was inspired," Sarah said.
Sarah is hoping to release Matthew Chase's fourth CD, entitled Everything and After. Sarah's goal is to have existing artists perform each Matthew Chase song from his CD, with a portion of the proceeds going to Blue Bear Music, a non-profit music school in San Francisco.
"Music is such amazing therapy, and helping to spread the healing power of music is something that Matthew Chase strongly believed in. I hope what I am doing with his music would make him proud of me," Sarah said. "However, I must admit, that I feel like I'm getting a little bit of help from above!"
To listen to Matthew Chase's music, visit www.matthewchasemusic.com/.