Word Patriots – Chuck Navasky and One Less Tear
Paradox, irony, the seemingly contradictory are the very stuff of art. Beauty often finds its genesis in the very opposite of beauty. Often the new spark of hope ignites only after an artist has plummeted and touched bottom, been made aware of his own mortality and experienced the dark night of the soul. My study of literary suicides, “Final Drafts” begins with the following sentence: “If our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts, then perhaps our saddest songs are those that tell of sweetest.” The songs of this week’s guest Charles “Chuck” Navasky concern both the sad and sweet and seek to expel the former and to give hope and encouragement to cancer victims and their families everywhere. After battling cancer, Chuck began writing songs to give others the strength, hope, and motivation to keep fighting. If, because of his efforts, one less tear is shed by any of the millions affected by this dread disease—whose onset Chuck likens to a terrorist attack—he has accomplished his mission, his life is fulfilled. “Then I can go on,” he says, “and no matter what happens to me, I’ll know I did my best. I won’t quit until my last breath is taken.” Chuck is a businessman, a philanthropist, a word patriot and of course a singer-songwriter. Recently his foundation presented a check for $5,000 to kick-start the new library drive, here in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. The act of a word patriot to be sure. Chuck represents the fourth generation of his family to own Falcone Suits. In 1979, Chuck enrolled in pattern school in New York City to learn the family trade. A musician since age ten, Chuck responded to a Village Voice ad for a bass player and ended up playing in a band behind front man and songwriter Mitch Albom, who later wrote the best-selling book “Tuesdays With Morrie.” Playing with the band around Manhattan and Long Island, Chuck crossed paths with many future stars while they were still scrounging for work in clubs. In August of 1999, Chuck’s life changed forever when he was diagnosed with a stage 1 cancerous tumor on his false vocal cord. Chuck has since founded his own cancer foundation, One Less Tear. Recruiting music industry friends including the Van Zant brothers, Michael McDonald, Mark Slaughter, M.C. Hammer, Kevin Sharp, Olivia Newton-John and Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe), he assembled a CD of songs to inspire fellow cancer patients. Today Chuck and I speak about how illness can prove an impetus to art, his family’s commitment to the written word, and the many challenges an enormous project like One Less Tear entails. Chuck also reaches out to any persons listening who have just been diagnosed with cancer. If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: www.markseinfelt.com. Be sure also to visit Chuck Navasky’s two websites: http://www.navaskyfoundation.com/home2.htm and http://www.onelesstear.com/.