As if loosing a person, a human being when they die isn’t enough, the loss of music he or she could create is gone too. And I think for bands, when a mate dies they have to grieve harder, or the grief lasts longer because it isn’t just the human that has departed from the band, part of the band leaves with them.


Sitting here on this Friday thinking about, you know, empathizing (it’s hard for some, I know) with fans and DEREK’S family, bandmates, close friends and family members must feel, I keep going back to those people he created music with. Maybe I’m wrong about this. I don’t mean that his band mates literally feel loss or the passing of a person worse than a parent, sibling, a BFF; there isn’t any room to compare the severity of feelings in this post. I have learned in this life that comparing my feelings to anyone’s is futile. I think the only real thing we have entitlement to, are feelings or emotions. Understanding this has been a lifesaver for me. I can feel anyway I want to about a situation and do. It’s what I do with those feelings that have often created situations that are judged by others. I am one that reacts emotionally first, not one that reacts subjectively.

Now before this becomes some diatribe comprised of one person’s opinionated practical life lesson or me repeating a successful group therapy subject, I need to revert this back to FALLING IN REVERSE and DEREK JONES’ passing. Don’t think I can’t feel the eyes rolling all the way over here, btw. The death of a bandmate is a grave finale that, IMHO, seems like it would be really f’ing hard to process or work through. Maybe harder in some ways because the music is always going to be a constant reminder or an emotional trigger every time songs are played from that era of a band that has lost a member.

And a big middle finger to anyone that assumes that the instrument can be replaced because it’s just a sound mixed with other sounds. It is SO much more than that. Ask anyone that has an affinity for music; the parts that make the whole are a vital part of any collaboration; that energy is different from player to player. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying this because I want to focus on the darker parts of a band’s experience in loosing a member and stir up the pot of grief.

Well, I do but it’s not the pot of grief I want to stir. I want to focus a little on the darker side of a band loosing a mate; not just that I am dramatizing some sad and emotionally charged feelings just to make us rehash what happened. The sentimentality of death and loss and feelings about such is different for everyone. Grief, no matter who you are is different from the person next to you. Ya, like that person sitting to your left! Same for the one a few feet away (6 feet to be exact, if you’re practicing social distancing). To say that grief should be felt the same way by everyone or that the time and severity should be the same is unrealistic and somewhat pathological.

It seems that grief involving someone that writes, plays, and makes that band what they are, might be a little more intense. Maybe I’m wrong, but in the case of grieving the loss of a band mate I feel these guys and gals need more of our TLC, you know?

From a personal standpoint, I didn’t know DEREK JONES from FALLING IN REVERSE from Adam. I knew him from his involvement in the album from 2017, Coming Home. What I knew, consisted of riffs and hooks and tones, cadence, key, and whatever energetic force passed through him to the songs the band created. However big or small that was, doesn’t matter. His impression, talent, and personality left a mark on me that I will not forget.

The music he and the band created on the 2017 release of Coming Home impacted my life in such positive ways that I feel like I owe DEREK a big f’ing thank you or something. What I was going through at the time felt like I would never get through it, but the music from Coming Home helped so much. I almost feel indebted to the band in some ways because if you could feel what I was feeling at the time, you would need something to get your mind right, you know what I mean?

DEREK’S passing might have been caused by a variety of things that, frankly are none of our business, as outsiders. For me, that isn’t the most important aspect that is going to help me process it any faster. Knowing that DEREK’S fiancé passed away last year in November, I choose to believe that he died of a broken heart. CHRISTINA CETTA and DEREK were together for ten years and having gone through life for a decade, not to mention her being diagnosed with cancer towards the end of her life, I am sure that DEREK’S heart was understandingly empty and broken. I’m sure that it was really hard to imagine existing. All of this is speculation, and has nothing to do with his passing. Understand that.


What follows from the loss of an acquaintance, a family member, a partner, or a stranger that in some way shape or form has effected your life is up to you. For me, DEREK JONES will be remembered and revered in the biggest ways within the confines between my ears. His mega-riffs and hooks that raise the roof in FALLING IN REVERSE’S music helped me to raise the vibrations and overcome some drastically difficult times and I will always hold that dear to my heart.

How the band recovers, is up to them and as fans we can support the members the way they need to be supported or we can support them in the way that we need. Knowing the difference will make it easier on you and I as fans, though you know?

RONNIE RADKE undoubtedly will be forever effected by his bandmate and close friend. Along with TYLER BURGESS, MAX GEORGIEV, & JOHNNY MELE the band will need some time or they may head straight into music head first. Whatever the case may be, they have my thumbs up, support and my mad love and much respect. #forreal

Til Next Time – Cherri

PHOTO CREDITS: Cherri Bird 2018 – 2020