In Memoriam: Tommy Page
Isaac Brekken / Getty Images
As we were going to press with the March 8 issue, we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of our colleague Tommy Page, who passed away suddenly sometime before the morning of March 4.
Tommy had just joined the Village Voice in January as vice president of music partnerships, having previously served as the publisher of Billboard and worked for Pandora and Cumulus. Before that, he'd enjoyed a long — and in many ways, remarkable — career in the music industry, first as a singer, with a number one song to his credit, 1990's "I'll Be Your Everything," which he wrote with Jordan Knight and Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block, and later as an executive at Warner Bros. Records, where he worked in both a&r and promotion with a range of artists, from Alanis Morissette and Josh Groban to Michael Bublé and Green Day. Through it all, Tommy continued to make music and perform, recording studio albums and touring.
I didn't know Tommy before he got to the Voice, but he'd known some members of our team — Suzan Gursoy, Diana Ruiz, Shelly Rapoport, Donna Delmas, and Joe Levy among them — for years. The people we knew in common, both inside and outside the Voice, spoke in nothing less than glowing terms about him. It didn't take long for me to understand why: He was smart, enthusiastic, funny, and down-to-earth in a manner uncommon amongst those who have even grazed up against pop stardom, let alone experienced it at the level Tommy did.
Not long after Tommy started working with us, a contingent of staffers attended the funeral of longtime Voice investigative reporter Wayne Barrett at a church in Brownsville, Brooklyn. We all traveled there by car, but after the service, Tommy, Joe, Nick Pinto, and I decided to take the subway back to our offices in the financial district. I remember talking with Tommy for most of that 45-minute ride. We discussed music, of course, and the gospel rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" that we'd just seen lead the recession from the chapel. We talked about the people he'd met as a teenager in the mid-1980s, when he'd sneak into downtown clubs like AREA, the Palladium, and Nell's. We discussed his decision, a decade later, to get a business degree, and how the Palladium had been demolished to make way for an NYU dorm. We talked about New Jersey, where Tommy was from and still lived, and how different it felt to come into the city by train now, with all the new construction in Lower Manhattan. We talked about our kids — my wife and I had just had our second; he and his partner, Charlie, had three — and how to avoid hurting your back if you find yourself carrying two at the same time.
We talked about many things, all now fixed in my memory. Most of them were relatively ordinary. Nevertheless, I remember walking away from the conversation sort of amazed. Tommy was an impressive guy. He had achieved so much so young, and I wondered what it was within him that had allowed him to forge ahead and carve out this whole other career for himself behind the scenes — and so successfully, too. Certainly, it was something rare. On top of it all, he never stopped making records and playing shows, these days in Asia, where he maintained an enormous following. I don't know what it was that propelled him to do so much where so many others faltered — and I don't know if it matters. But I wish I'd had an opportunity to talk to him more.
Our thoughts right now are with Charlie, Tommy and Charlie's children, and the rest of their family and close circle of friends. Tommy will be missed.
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