Willy Seiffert (26/03/1967 - 23/07/2003): Notes to a Friend Lost
Willy Seiffert, long time contributor to New Zealand Musician magazine (1992 -2000) and all round wonderful bloke, was tragically killed last month in a car accident in Palmerston North, aged 36.
Born in Hove, near Brighton, England, Willy arrived in New Zealand in 1979. He started playing bass here, his first band called Jamming in Edward, and in the years that followed many musicians and audiences got to enjoy his unique personality and intuitive bass skills.
Willy was a bass player extraordinaire, one of those special musicians who love their chosen instrument so much that nothing to do with their passion could possibly be a chore.
Where one might be reluctant to ask many musicians to give of their time to review products for the benefit of others, Willy would be petitioning us with ideas for his next contribution to the magazine.
He was never paid for this work, but always made it clear that he could see no reason to expect payment when trying out any piece of bass gear was such a pleasure for him. From beginners' amps to 6-string basses Willy was comfortable with it all and ever happy to research those facts and figures that made his reviews better than most.
Willy's enthusiasm in print, as in person, frequently got the better of his language skills -a very forgiveable part of his charm. Willy and speed went hand in hand. Music and people apart, his other serious passion was off-road motorcycling and it seemed that Willy always had a bike-related tale - or injury!
Some deserve happiness more than others. We hope you have found your peace Willy. RIP.
New Zealand Musician
It is with great sadness and deep regret that we acknowledge the passing of Willy Seiffert, our friend and colleague.
Willy, who was the manager of our Palmerston North store, and previously with the Auckland Rockshop, was tragically taken from us early Wednesday morning in a road accident.
A person who contributed widely to the New Zealand music scene including as an NZ Musician columnist, bassist for Káren Hunter & Love Mussel and later with Bullfrog Rata and Midge Marsden to mention a few. Willy's quirky personality and sense of humour will be missed by us all. A big thanks to everyone who has offered us support down here.
Graham, Aaron, Campbell, Matt and Fraser
Palmerston North Rock Shop
Willy Seiffert is obsessed with toys and he loves to play with them, talk about them and take them apart to see how they work. Favourites in the playroom are Warwick basses, SWR amps, radio controlled cars and recklessly fast trail bikes.
Willy has a place in my heart because of his love of my songs and his dedication to them. I'm not the only singer/songwriter that he gives good bottom end to. Christine White, Lorina Harding and Tura 'Bullfrog' Rata are also filled with his memories right now.
Willy is an Artist in Residence in Heaven these days, with a band of fellow travellers who can finally understand his visionary concepts and help him create them.
May his spirit rest in peace while his memory lives within us, sparkling with laughter and joy. Willy was a special and unique soul and we loved him dearly.
I noted with some amusement that the Rock Shop website has used the same word to describe Willy as I used when I emailed everyone about Willy's death. The word is 'quirky', a little-used word but one that immediately springs to mind when thinking about Willy. Out of interest, I looked it up in the dictionary today and it states 'a person who behaves in a peculiar manner'. Well, we got that right didn't we?!
Everyone has a story to tell about Willy and mostly they are hilariously funny tales of merriment and momentary madness. But Willy had a serious side too.
He was passionate about his music and the people he loved and I think it's safe to say that he will be sorely missed not just by his family and friends but by the music industry of New Zealand. Sleep tight Wee Willie Winkie - I miss you heaps already.
When I heard the news, I was shocked as we all are. I spent some time replaying all the wonderful (and weird) conversations I have had with Willy in the time I have known him... and I wondered what he makes of it all.
Willy, calling him a 'colourful character' does him no justice. I prefer words like warm, eccentric, technically minded, intensely funny, caring, committed, passionate and most of all... random!
Many of us have had those incredible conversations with Willy where the kernel of an idea sparked him up into the most fantastical discourses on philosophy, life, the universe, human nature... These conversations could go on for hours, driven by an intense intellect and powerful desire to share his thoughts and feelings that oftentimes went well beyond his actual ability to be able to explain exactly what he meant! I laughed so long and so hard at some of our conversations... and I still do.
I think Willy would have much to say about how his life came to such an abrupt end. Friend and colleague, extraordinary musician, dynamic human being... I have been blessed to know you Willy.
He'll be jamming on in god's own band. God speed... see you on the other side.
Christchurch Rock Shop
Farewell Willy. Some time ago we lost Kenny Pearson, a fantastic bass player known for his immense skills and passion for the instrument and it saddens me deeply to have learned we have lost another.
Willy and I talked a lot on the subject of our chosen instrument (often at extremely long lengths) and his passion, like Kenny's, never ceased to amaze me. He lived and breathed the bass guitar and as a result became one of the most talented players we have. I salute you Willy for the immense contributions you made not only to the bass playing fraternity but to the music industry in general. Farewell my friend we will miss you. Junior Fitz