by Attila Juhasz
One of the most influential guitarist in my life, Roye Albrighton of Nektar, passed away yesterday. His music influenced my style of guitar playing and songwriting but more importantly, Roye and Nektar impacted my professional involvement in the music industry.
I first became of fan of Nektar in the ’70s after hearing their top 20 (album chart) Gold Record masterpiece ‘Remember the Future’ and fell in love with their entire brilliant catalog. In 1977, I saw Nektar live at NYC’s Palladium on the ‘Magic is a Child’ tour, but sadly Roye Albrighton had left Nektar at that time.
In 1980 though, Albrighton along with original Nektar keyboard player, Taff Freeman, re-formed Nektar with a new bass player and drummer and released ‘Man in the Moon’ and they were coming to my city, Yonkers, NY, to perform live. I was friends with the promoter who knew about my artistic skills, and asked me to design flyers and posters for the gig. Though only a senior in High School, this was my first of many creative assignments to come for a major rock and roll act. I met Roye Albrighton at that gig and my love and passion for rock and roll grew even greater. Sadly that was the last we would hear about Nektar for nearly 20 years.
In 1997, I built and launched a big Nektar fan site, Nektar.com which gained a massive fan base and suddenly, Nektar CDs started moving off shelves world-wide. I started a movement to praise and remember this iconic, important band as well as hopefully expose them to a new audience. Another big reason for my efforts was that a horrible mix of the iconic album ‘Remember the Future’ was the current and only CD release of this masterpiece. I was on a mission to have this corrected.
I decided to reach out to the band members. I started email dialogue with Roye Albrighton, who loved my web site. We conducted a series of interviews called the “Roye Albrighton Chronicles.” He shared loads of fun facts and stories like the night he jammed with Jimi Hendrix in a bar. The site got even bigger. Roye then mailed me a very special gift; a custom CD he made for me called “Fruition by Roye Albrighton” that featured some unreleased live material and studio tracks from his home studio that I, nor many people, had ever heard.
I then started having phone conversations with Nektar bassist Derek “Mo” Moore who told me that the labels have informed him that Nektar sales were suddenly on the rise again. We talked about the horrible RTF mix that was released on CD. He told me the label used the wrong master; one that should’ve been destroyed. He had spoken with his label and assured me that a proper release of RTF was to be released.
He also told me that he hadn’t spoke to Roye in years, but felt that the time was right now for them to reconnect. He did. Old friends had finally reconnected.
On April 5, 1998, I held and moderated a live chat between Derek and Nektar fans and there he divulged that there is the possibility of a reformation of Nektar and that Roye had already sent him some new material.
The web site was getting too big for me to operate on a volunteer basis so I handed the reigns of the site to another Nektar fan in early 2000 who inevitably let the site go but by then the next chapter in the history of Nektar was well underway.
In 2002, a once unimaginable event happened Roye Albrighton, Derek Moore, Taff Freeman and Ron Howden regrouped and Nektar headlined NEARfest. Also joining the Nektar family that night was original light show master and fifth member Mick Brokett and “Recycled” guest synthesizer player, Larry Fast.
2002 also saw the release of the first Nektar studio album ‘The Prodigal Son’ in over 22 years featuring Roye Ablrighton and Taff Freeman. Nektar subsequently released a few more studio albums.
While I am deeply saddened of the lost of Roye Albrighton, I am happy to know that my love and work for the band helped reunite some old friends that sparked a reunion, some new music, and rekindled interest in one of the greatest bands to come out of the ’70s. So on this day, not only will I “remember the future will always be there,” but I remember Roye Albrighton, one of the greats.