Dee Cernile, guitarist for gold-selling 90s hard rock band Sven Gali, died Feb. 25 after battling lung cancer. He was 46.
On his personal Facebook page – now filled with messages of memories and condolences from many members of the Canadian music industry – was this message:
“After such a courageous journey, two days ago Dee told us that he had nothing more to do here and he wanted to pass away to do what he needed to do elsewhere. This morning Dee got his wish and took his last breath. He went so very peacefully with love surrounding him and his hand held. He is now resting in peace. His family would like to thank everyone for all of your love and support.”
Sven Gali was signed to BMG Canada by David Bendeth – now a New Jersey-based producer (Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach Paramore) – who produced the band’s self-titled debut album in 1992. The album went gold in Canada, then signifying 50,000 units shipped, and was nominated at the 1993 Juno Awards for Hard Rock Album of the Year. The band was also nominated for Most Promising Group.
“Dee was a great guitarist, singer, and songwriter who always wore his heart on his sleeve,” Bendeth tells Billboard. “His love of music and life made him a true rockstar. He will be missed by many that had the great fortune to work with him and hear that great infectious laugh. He was larger than life.”
The band’s second album was recorded in Seattle with Kelly Gray (Queensryche’s future guitarist). The 1995 album, Inwire, featured guest appearances by Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn and candlebox’s Kevin Martin. Sven Gali disbanded the following year, but reformed 11 years later.
In 2009, Cernile was diagnosed with cancer. Shows Sven Gali had lined up were reorganized as benefits that August, one in Toronto and one in St. Catharines, Ont. At the time, Dee’s brother Walter was standing by in case Dee was not well enough to perform, but he did so on both nights.
In the “info” section of Cernile’s Facebook, it says that he was writing an album and putting a new band together. “It won’t be another Sven Gali record, but it will rock,” he wrote.
Just underneath, however, seems to be a message of farewell:
“It has occurred to me that the days of life are a forgetful MISTRESS,” Cernile wrote. “In my youth I would dance with her night after night with little thought of her being missed by the likes of ME. Time would be the one missing ‘my’ robust ways and seemingly endless days. Time would wonder where I am, where I’ve been and what other forces I’ve been with.
“But today I found an envelope addressed, stamped and dated. My the hours fly by…and as wisdom would have it, I discover that my MISTRESS “Time” has been dancing all along. I just didn’t see her! So on behalf of my forgetful Mistress, TIME and my forgetful self, Please accept this delayed message to YOU, and consider yourself remembered. D.”