My friend Fred

April 24, 2012,  is a date I won’t forget.

It’s the day Fred Wilhelms died.

I would’ve done a  tribute much sooner than this,  but  I’ve been  dealing with serious health issues of my own. However,  better late than never.

He’s pictured here  proudly holding  his new grandson, Charlie.

Fred was an  entertainment lawyer par excellence, yes.  But he was much more than that.  He was also a brilliant  and highly vocal advocate of recording artists’ rights, Of him, Counter Punch‘s Dave Marsh wrote:

“If the corporate music industry had any ethics, Wilhelms would be its ‘ethicist-in-chief.”

He was a big man  from any perspective. Six foot four, he  fearlessly and unhesitatingly  shone the spotlight on Big Music and its corrupt satellite organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America  and Sound Exchange every time they transgressed, which was often.

You could say  he died at the age of 62 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.  But   I prefer to think of it  more as an ongoing  lesson on how to face the looming spectre of death  with humour, diignity  and courage.

He was a frequent contributor to my former site, p2pnet

Thanks, mate,  for being my friend.

Teri,  his wife of 14 years, tells me she’s donated a chair to Vermont Law School in Fred’s name. Born in New Jersey, he graduated from Lafayette College and Vermont Law School.  The chair bears the inscription:

Frederick Wilhelms III ’77
1949-2012
ROCK ON!

“I wanted something that combined his love of the law and the music and artists that make it,”  says Teri.

”Fred’s class reunion is this fall and they’re going to do something special about him and his chair,” which has been placed on the Yates porch where all the gatherings, events, reunions, etc. are held, she adds.

Jon Newton