R.I.P. William Garvey

My friend passed on last night, it was an ongoing struggle the past year, but I’m glad we had some fun in these last months and he’s finally at peace. One of the smartest men I ever knew.

You can visit his music site at Tunecore here, as many people are familiar with his song “Goodbye Horses”.

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(us at my 30th birthday party)

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24 Responses to “R.I.P. William Garvey”


  1. 1 Jeremy 02/12/2010 at 5:15 pm

    R.I.P. William Garvey. That’s a classic song. Sorry, I don’t know Q Lazzarus’ real name for you…

    • 2 vendettabella 02/13/2010 at 12:00 pm

      Thank you, I’m hoping they can do the article anyways. It is about the song and its role in pop culture. He used to work in fashion so he would have so loved to appear in “V”. We had a Karl Lagerfeld dance party in his room at hospice one time, if that gives you any indication!

  2. 3 Bernadette 10/03/2010 at 4:48 pm

    William Garvey and I spoke numerous times over the phone when I was working at MGM Music and I would always prepare his music royalty checks to send him. He was such an amazing soul. May he rest in paradise! I just now looked at my contacts and tried to look him up and found a site that he has passed. My profoundest condolences to his family. We will miss you!

  3. 4 claus 07/15/2011 at 5:13 pm

    Arabella, who was William? Gould you Tell something about bis biography? Nothing is known…

    • 5 vendettabella 07/15/2011 at 5:37 pm

      Well, he was born and raised in the Cleveland area, went to Brunswick High School which wasn’t all too fun for him. His father was English and died of a heart attack very young too. Bill lived and worked in NYC for many years for Donna Karan, Nautica, and Armani in-between doing his music. He moved to London and was happy there until his mother broke her hip and developed dementia, so he had to come back to Cleveland to take care of her. After she passed (which was very difficult for him), he went back to NYC, and hated it. He did a stint in L.A. working for the Hollywood Reporter but he hated L.A. too. When his health began to deteriorate, he came back to Cleveland again and began doing more music as well as various remixes of “Goodbye Horses”. He was one of the smartest and boisterous people I ever knew; a film buff with a subscriptions to Scientific American and W Magazine. Anywhere he went he’d make friends immediately. I certainly couldn’t go anywhere with him without someone walking up and introducing themselves because he was so loud and funny and opinionated — most people wanted to know, “who IS this guy?”. He was also a great photographer and designer. I think he was one of the 1st wave of people to own a Macintosh too. I met him after buying a couple of his prints when I first moved to Cleveland, and then we did a two-person show together. I miss him.

      • 6 Deb Francisco-Ferrell 08/01/2014 at 11:48 am

        I knew Bill in NYC in the 80s. I worked with him at Conran’s, sang in his bands, “Cottage” and “Fractals,” and also did backup for Q Lazzaras. I still have practice and demo tapes we recorded together! He was an amazing person. So talented, genuine, funny, energetic. I had tried many times over the years to find him through social media but only today was able to find him…too late to let him know he always meant a great deal to me. I’m proud to have known him and so blessed to have experienced his genius, musically and otherwise. The fact that you mentioned his subscription to Scientific American makes me smile. We did a song together that he wrote called “I Am A Particle Physicist.”

  4. 7 claus 07/16/2011 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing These thoughts.
    You know, i am far away from reducing a Person to a Single Song he wrote More than 20 years ago, but i must Tell you this Story: last week we had this big Fashion Show in Berlin called bread and Butter. In the evening they had all the Stores open in one Area as showroams. And after the Police Turned down the Music at ten and went around the Corner, the DJ just turned the Decks on again and all of a sudden played goodbye horses. And the crowd was so happy and began to sing , simply everybody knew the Song… Did you know that IT is such a hymn. I mean IT could be if you say that Bill was reknown in the Scene. How old was he? Did they publish the Story about Track? IT would be amazing to learn how IT was created… Cheers.

    • 8 vendettabella 07/16/2011 at 5:07 pm

      Bill had it played at his own memorial. It was stipulated in his will. Of course now I hate hearing it!
      It has been used on so many film/TV/videos games, it’s how he made his living almost. He was so funny and vicious sometimes, he would write to bands covering it, and tell them how they got the lyrics wrong. He was 51 when he died.

  5. 11 Darrin C Huss 11/23/2011 at 11:27 am

    I had a brief e-mail contact with Mr. Garvey after my band Psyche covered the song. He was actually quite nice and told me details about how he got the guitar sound which i thought was a piano at the time! I originally got the lyrics wrong, and sang lying over you instead of flying. I was ashamed to have misinterpreted that word, and have since re-recorded “Goodbye Horses” as a 21st century version with the correct lyrics. There’s been a surge in covers lately, but I think very few truly treat his words with the proper understanding. I am grateful to say the song remains a permanent part of my repertoire. It is a truly magical piece.

  6. 12 Joan 02/08/2012 at 12:24 am

    I sang with Bill in his band Cottage, which he started in the early 80’s. He was writing a lot of songs about particle physics then – heavily synthesized dance tracks with some French horn added to the mix. He was an amazing dancer – very inventive and joyful – one of my all-time favorite club/party partners. He was just as big a fan of Patti Smith as I was, and once Cottage broke up, he launched another band called Patti in the Ambulance, which was a reference to her dreadful accident in Florida. “Goodbye Horses” was also a reference to Patti, as her album “Horses” was profoundly important to him.
    He was funny as hell, you know. So smart, so wild, so curious about so many things. And so much style. I can still see him showing up for dinner at a four-star restaurant on the Upper East Side wearing a black jacket that opened to reveal pages from the NY TImes Arts & Leisure section taped all over his t-shirt. It was a last minute invitation, and he didn’t have anything else to wear, he explained. Of course.
    I hate that he’s dead.

    • 13 Dan Sanchez 07/14/2014 at 10:20 pm

      Joan, I’d love to hear Cottage. Was anything recorded?

      • 14 joan 07/16/2014 at 7:05 am

        Dan, there was a lot recorded that I have on cassette demo tapes. I’ve been wondering about what to do with them, as I’m not sure anyone else has access/rights to this music. I will have to keep you posted.

    • 15 Deb Francisco-Ferrell 08/01/2014 at 11:58 am

      Joan, I was in Cottage after you and I have several practice tapes as well. Some have you as the lead. I also have several demos, a few with Q. I was so sad to finally come across information today and learned that he passed. I had wanted to get back in contact with him after I left NY. I think of him so often and feel pretty blessed that I had a chance to know him for a while.

  7. 17 Henrik 12/29/2012 at 5:29 pm

    I’m sorry to read that he has passed on. As so many other people I first heard his name in relation to the “Goodbye Horses”-song. It would be nice if someone who really knew him would fill in some details in the Wikipedia article about him. From what I have managed to find on the internet, bits and pieces, he seemed to be a nice guy. It just puzzles me; Why did he not become more of a celebrity when it came to music ? Well, I guess I’ll never find out who he really was.

    • 18 Joe Troski 05/18/2013 at 4:13 pm

      I met Bill in the East Village in 1992 when I was 13. He would have after-parties in his all white studio apartment over looking Tompkins Square Park. Groups of us would go to his place around 4:30am after the bars closed and then the fun would start! He was of course DJing, adjusting the lighting and pouring Vodka (his favorite drink was Stoli and Water.) People (including myself) were magnetized to Bill. Years later he would become my roommate in Brooklyn and again in LA. We worked on music together and he was always excited to be making music. he was instrumental in me believing in my own talent and pursuing my dreams. I loved him very much and he was the first positive older gay male role model in my life. He made anything fun. Anything. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Bill (and myself) was an alcoholic. That, coupled with major mood swings, made life extremely difficult for Bill, and I suspect is why he never became more successful. Alcoholism claims the careers and lives of many talented passionate artists, and unfortunately I imagine it eventually played a major role in his heart failure. He told me many times that his doctors were surprised he was alive, given his heart and lifestyle. I know for sure he was alive because of his intense Spirit and passion for life. He shaped me in many ways and I am grateful to have known him as a friend, a fellow musician and artist. I know he is having a big after-party in heaven and I hope I am on the guest list when I get there!

  8. 20 SS 12/27/2013 at 7:33 pm

    Is someone able to officially add the lyrics to the Wikipedia article, or simply post them here? It would be nice to have a place where the buck stops regarding lyrics.

  9. 21 em sid 06/06/2014 at 11:28 pm

    loved and missed

  10. 22 Carlo 06/30/2014 at 7:46 pm

    RIP William Garvey, writer and producer of the greatest song of all time.

  11. 23 Deb Francisco-Ferrell 08/01/2014 at 9:20 pm

    Joan, I believe we were last in contact shortly after I moved back to MN which was late 80s. Something Wild came out the year my daughter was born and Q Lazzaras was on the soundtrack singing one of the songs we did together. I remember being sad I hadn’t been there to enjoy Bill’s success as well as be part of it.

    I’ve often also looked for Glenn John and Ron Resignio. I assume they were in Cottage originally with you as well. I joined up with Glenn for a while in a band called Jumble also.

    I was reminding my husband of some of the stories I had shared with him about my time in NY and Bill this evening. I had to laugh remembering him dressed either in all white or all black, always with the big messenger bag. We would be walking around the city and he would spontaneously imitate someone on an acid high…sort of a rubber man thing. Going to a small Latin restaurant and ordering gaspaaahhcho as only Bill could. I have missed him for many, many years, but I have kept the memories very close. I take the tapes out from time to time and relive a time in my life that was exciting, adventurous, and inspiring…all orchestrated by Bill!

  12. 24 Niqqi 09/30/2014 at 10:44 pm

    Love the song Goodbye Horses. I listen to it everyday. How wonderfully talented you were RIP.


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