RIP Phantom Vibration guitarist Henry Mackaman
Photo by Mark Kartarik
Henry Mackaman, the guitarist and producer for the Twin Cities psychedelic dream-pop act Phantom Vibration, died Wedneday. He was 21, and his sudden passing is attributed to bacterial meningitis.
The St. Paul native was a senior economics major at University of Wisconsin-Madison, but made regular trips back to the area to perform with Phantom Vibration. Last weekend, he had a high fever and went to the ER, but tests were inconclusive. He returned to the hospital Monday when he had a headache and his right hand felt funny, and it was determined that he was infected with meningococcal bacteria. His family confirmed via CaringBridge.org on Wednesday that his brain function had ceased.
"Please keep Henry and all of us in your thoughts and prayers," his family writes. "Henry's spirit and the joy he brought to us will live on anytime we share stories of him, listen to music he recorded, and retell the jokes and bad puns he laid on on us. Thank you Henry, for touching our lives. You were more loved than you'll ever know."
Mackaman's passing has hit the collective of friends in the area music community hard as well, and the band's Facebook page has received several messages from the community this week. There, you can see Mark Kartarik's photographs from Phantom Vibration's March 23 show at Kitty Cat Klub with Prissy Clerks and Strange Relations, which show an animated side of the young musician.
Photo by Mark Kartarik
A Facebook update posted by bandmate Dan Clinton-McCausland:
When Henry and I (Daniel) formed Phantom Vibration a few years ago, it was out of a shared, visceral experience that we wanted to capture in our own music. Months later, Gunnar joined, with the same intention to live our music until the end of time, regardless of location, anything. We've had the incredible experience of having Zack come into the fold recently, thus making our music unit complete with the most honest and true people.
Today we learned that Henry had entered a state from which he wouldn't be coming back to greet us and now we (the band, our friends, supporters, families) must bear the burden of losing such an incredible person. He in so many ways exemplified what we strived for and all we can do now is to live on holding up the same belief that he brought to our music.
Thank you Henry for giving us so much. We will love you forever.
We love you all and we're so thankful for your support. Henry Mackaman was the best guitarist, friend, and brother to ever walk this earth.-- Phantom Vibration (@Phantom_vibes) April 10, 2013
Prissy Clerks singer Clara Salyer sent this note to Gimme Noise:
"It's hard not to repeat impressions and qualities others have said because Henry really was constantly and genuinely, positive, caring, and sweet every second I knew him -- which was not long or well enough," she writes. "One thing I will never forget though is how lucky I feel to have witnessed the friendship between Henry, Dan and Gunnar. I've never seen three people more in tune with each other as friends and as band mates. Looking in, their bond was infectious and warm and above all rare. Most of us are lucky to find even one best friend we can share life with -- he had two. At Phantom Vibration's last show, I got to see Henry sing for the first time as well as his guitar wizardry. His song was an absolute stand-out that will stay with me a long, long time. He made it all look so easy. He was so special."
Mackaman's music lives on via Phantom Vibration's Bandcamp page. They were reportedly in the process of assembling material for a new album. Right away, you can hear the accomplished polish of a band experimenting with textures, ambiance, and a ton of raw emotion.
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