At first glance, Flyleaf appears to be a five-piece, multi-platinum alternative band from Texas. Not quite. Fans might be surprised to know that for 10 years there has been a sixth member of the band. Flyleaf's sound engineer Rich Caldwell has had a dramatic impact on the sound and success of the band, so much so that Flyleaf referred to him as its sixth member. Well Flyleaf just lost its sixth man. The band is down to five, because Caldwell is gone. He died in an automobile accident near his home in College Station, Texas, leaving the band breathless.
As soon as Flyleaf heard the news, they wanted to do something to both honor his memory and raise money to help support his family. Caldwell is survived by his wife Katy and two-year-old son Kirby. The shock and devastation has left the band feeling numb.
"Rich was our brother. His life and love have forever changed the world for the better," said Flyleaf's singer Lacey Sturm. "From the first showcase we played, every heart we touched with Flyleaf's music was as much Rich's victory as it was any band member's. There is not one person behind the scenes, or on stage, who deserves to be honored more than Rich Caldwell. I'm only sorry that the honor we are giving is so overdue.”
It may be later than the band would have liked to honor him, but it's not too late. Flyleaf will play a benefit concert for Caldwell's family on May 20 at the Palladium Ballroom in Dallas.
"It's hard to believe that this is real. Rich was like the sixth member of Flyleaf. He was our brother and dear friend," said. guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya. "We're here for Katy and Kirby, our family. We want to help in any way we can."
The tragic accident comes at the heels of the band preparing the release their third record, their follow up to 2009’s Memento Mori.
When asked about the release date for the new record, Bhattacharya said it would be in early summer. The band then plans on embarking on a headlining tour in the fall.
Caldwell's absence will be felt again when Flyleaf begins its tour.
"It's going to feel very weird without and I'm sure it won't feel real," Bhattacharya said. "He was my geek-out buddy. He helped me make some sense out of everything and how music speaks to the soul. I'll really miss him."
All proceeds from the benefit show will go directly to Katy and Kirby aiding them in the aftermath of this tragedy. Those interested in donating to the Rich's family can visit Flyleafmusic.com