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November 4, 2019

"It Was November 4th..."

By Brian Heaton

The impact music has on humankind is undeniable. Depending on the notes and lyrics, music can make people fall in love, rise in anger, weep with sadness, and bring calmness to a frenzy. It’s the ultimate stimulus. One of my favorite responses is when the music unites people and helps forge friendships that last a lifetime.

I’ve been fortunate to meet and befriend many people thanks to the music of Queensryche. But today, November 4, belongs to one man we remember and celebrate—David “London” Ascoli.

To call Dave just a “friend” would be an injustice. When he connected with you, that was it. You were part of his life and family. It didn’t matter what the distance was, or what was going on in his life, he would call and make sure you were doing well, and if not, he’d spend hours with you on the phone until he was satisfied you felt better. He always went that extra mile.

That’s what I remember most about “The Boss.” He loved people and would do absolutely anything to make them feel at ease. He had a talent for writing parodies of Queensryche songs that would have the online communities—not to mention the band—constantly laughing. Dave always lifted the spirits of everyone he met. I remember when he took up working in dinner theater. I never saw the show, but it was a comedy act involving Italians. You could hear the excitement in his voice when he recalled the laughter from all the patrons because of his work. He absolutely loved making other people happy.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when Dave and I became friends. We connected online on the original queensryche.com message board in the mid-to-late 1990s, but we were close from that point forward. He called me his “consigliere,” because of our shared Italian heritage and our long phone conversations. I miss those talks. In addition to music, he loved the ocean, business, and his Cleveland Browns.

We finally met in 2001, during Queensryche’s Seattle 2001 fan club event (S2k1). It was a big weekend consisting of Geoff Tate’s first solo concert at The Catwalk, followed up by a special Queensryche show at the Showbox. In between those events, our “Promised Land” group of friends had lunch. We celebrated my birthday, and Dave and everyone got a good laugh at how red I turned as our friend—and my future wife—Staci sung me “Happy Birthday” in a style that would have made Marilyn Monroe proud. It went by way too quickly. But friendships and relationships were cemented. And many of those exist today. In fact, in addition to my marriage to Staci, Dave would marry another member of our group, Amy, several years later. Our lives would have unfolded very differently without Dave.

As the years went on, and interest in the “new” Queensryche without Chris DeGarmo waned (it varied for all of us), our group never reconvened again. We all drifted apart to an extent. I remember reconnecting with Dave a bit in 2009, talking and exchanging emails here and there. I was looking forward to catching up more.

Then I got the call from Amy on the night of Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. David had passed away. I don’t need to elaborate on the heartbreak. If you knew Dave, you felt the same. But what helped me was going online and seeing just how many lives Dave had touched. The outpouring of love to his family and all the great stories from hundreds of people was unlike anything I had ever seen. It helped my wife and I, and I suspect our “Promised Land” group, get through a trying time. He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. I’m lucky to have had him in in my life.

As his nickname shows, Dave loved the song “London” from Queensryche’s Rage for Order. So, while November 4 isn’t the anniversary of his passing, all of us who knew him know that today is the day to toast Dave’s life. Rest in peace my friend.

“The memories will never leave me.”

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