Steven Wilson and Mariusz Duda have released a charity track based on the work of a young fan who died of cancer.
Alec Wildey was 26 when he passed away in August, after he’d asked Wilson to collaborate with Riverside vocalist and Lunatic Soul mainman Duda over his poem The Old Peace.
The pair had hoped he’d live long enough to appear on the track himself. But they’ve launched it as a tribute to him instead – with all proceeds going to cancer charities.
Wilson explains: “Alec had been passionate about our music, actively helping out with promotion as a leading member of the Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson street teams from the tender age of 17, and setting up a street team for Mariusz in 2010.
“Some of you will almost certainly have met Alec, as he attended many of our concerts. If you did you will have found him to be a sensitive, extremely intelligent and articulate young man. He was a devoted and enthusiastic music listener and movie watcher, as well as a self-published poet, with a very bright future ahead of him.
“On Christmas Eve 2013, Alec learned he had a cancer of the lymphatic system, followed by an additional diagnosis of liver cancer. He began a course of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but to no avail.
“At the end of July, when he understood he had only a short time left, he emailed me to ask if it was possible that his two favourite musicians could set one of his poems to music, a long held dream of his.
“I agreed – but told him I would make a deal with him: I would make it happen if he could hang on long enough to hear it. We even discussed the possibility of him playing drums on the song.
“Unfortunately Alec passed away only a few weeks later.”
Wilson and Duda completed the track as a way of honouring Alec’s life. He says: “The Old Peace has been beautifully set to music by Mariusz, and sung and performed by both of us. We would be happy if as many people as possible paid for the official download – so please don’t share it or upload it to any other sites – in order to raise as much as we can to help others that find themselves in the same awful situation.”
The Old Peace is available now via Burning Shed. Half of the proceeds will be paid to the medical centre that cared for Alec and the other half will go to other cancer support organisations. The track remains on sale until the end of January, when the total will be handed over.