In Memory of Gordon “Gungi” Paterson

Dear Friends,
I feel compelled to write in the memory of Gordon “Gungi” Paterson.

I first met Gungi on the David Lee Roth Eat em and Smile tour. He was our front of house mixer. Gungi was Scottish and a giant of a man at over 7 feet tall with an even larger heart. I had the honor of working with him on my Fire Garden tour where he tour managed and did front of house sound.

Gungi was one of those people who was always smiling and never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was honest, professional and had a great sense of humor and joy about him. You could not help but feel uplifted being around him.

Brave too. On our Fire Garden tour the compressor on our tour bus caught fire and burned the bus to the ground. While it was ablaze, Gungi bravely (albeit foolishly) raced into the bus, into the bunk area and retrieved $60,000.00 of tour proceeds that were under his mattress. After he came out of the burning bus I thought, “Well, then I’m going to go in there and get my passport, music scores I was working on, wallet, shoes and coat because it was winter and we were in the middle of nowhere. I got as far as halfway through the front lounge when I thought I was going to be incinerated. I was sick for 2 days from breathing one small breath of the toxic smoke. I can’t figure out how Gungi made it in and out of that bus. EVERYTHING burned to the ground…. except us and the money that Gungi retrieved.

He protected his bands like a shepherd watches his flock. When Gungi was around I felt comfortable and safe, not just from the challenges of being on the road, catching flights, getting to the stage on time, being in threatening positions in various third world countries, but also I knew that on his watch I was not being taken advantage of by a promoter with an agenda. He was as honest as one can be.

Gungi fought cancer valiantly for the last three years. He had made some historical breakthroughs in alternative medicine application but he eventually was taken down by the disease on Sep. 28th 2009.

Everyone who knew him loved him. He was sort of an angel here on Earth. We are all so terribly saddened by the loss of this industry solider and for those who worked with him, touring will never be the same.

Most of all, Gungi was a loving husband and father (his children being 12-14) and our hearts and prayers go out to his family at this time.

Whenever I think of him, even right now, I see that amazingly bright smiling face and hear that thick, rich Scottish accent pour out with some hysterically quick witted prompt and my heart feels heavy, but happy.

Gungi was exceptional and he will be missed.

Steve Vai
Sep. 29, 2009gungi