You can tell a lot about a man from what his friends say about him. And here’s what a few of veteran Indianapolis musician Craig Laflin’s friends have to say about him:
Susan “Snowflake” Fuldauer: “Craig has been one of those solid friends that, though you may not see each other for many moons, will always remain true and will always be there. I have had the great opportunity to watch, as he has become quite the musician, loving husband, father and just all-around good guy. We are privileged with very few truly good friendships in life and I am certainly privileged to call this seeker my friend.”
Larry “Doc” Gindhart: “Craig Laflin is a veteran, award-winning, Indiana singer-songwriter. His open stages in Bloomington and Indianapolis have served as a launching pad for hundreds of Midwestern musical acts. He has given so much to so many and we are so very grateful.”
Greg Ziesemer: “He’s got the heart of a lion, and having known him for over 25 years and performed with him and Momentum! in the past year, I’ve come to know Craig as a consummate professional, talented songwriter, role model and a gracious human being, and my life has been blessed by his presence. I am grateful.”
Terry McGovern: “Craig has become the human fabric that holds us all together. He is my source of knowledge for the whereabouts and well-being of our friends that we have come to know over the past 30 years. Craig maintains a sincere interest in each and every one of his friends and continues to nurture that interest even when he rarely gets to see his friends that have moved out of the area. Craig always tries to make all his friends feel welcome and important.”
While it’s always been easy to find people to say nice things about him, those words of support have taken on added urgency with the news that Laflin, a mainstay of the acoustic open stage scene in Indianapolis, was diagnosed this year with pancreatic cancer.
While that news is certainly alarming, Laflin himself maintains a positive attitude. “Don’t give up on me yet,” he says. “I’m still here. This isn’t a swan song situation for me yet.”
Chemotherapy is the next course of treatment for Laflin, he says. “I’m doing a massive dietary attack on it, too. The prognosis is kind of questionable, but I’m still fighting the good fight and trying to stay as busy as possible.”
He received the news this spring while hospitalized with a gallstone. Since then, he’s been undergoing treatment and maintaining most of his schedule as a performer and open stage host, although it’s been difficult for him.
“My energy level is just so weird from day to day at this point,” he says. “It’s hard to predict how I’m going to feel on any given day. I don’t know what days I’m going to feel like me and what days I’m just sitting around.”
Laflin notes that several prominent Indianapolis music figures, including Dog Talk’s Cliff White, have had major health problems lately.
“The musical community has taken a fairly large whack all at once,” he says. “I was more fortunate than some in that I did have insurance. It’s not quite as dire a situation as it could be.”
He describes his spirits as “pretty good,” but he’s been frustrated by not being able to make additional commitments. “I could definitely be booking shows, and I’m still running the acoustic series at the Artsgarden, but it’s so damned hard to predict what condition I’ll be in on any given day,” he says.
Laflin originally began performing in the early 1970s in Bloomington. A 1971 graduate of North Central High School, Laflin spent the ensuing decade in Bloomington. He appeared on a 1979 record of Bloomington artists and used it as a springboard to launch a musical career.
In the early 1980s, he relocated to Indianapolis and began hanging out and performing with other local acoustic musicians. One of his favorite haunts was the Hummingbird, a nightclub where Birdy’s is now located.
He was a solo act until 1992, when he started a duo with Larry “Doc” Gindhart, a group which eventually became known as Craig Laflin’s Momentum! Laflin was voted Male Solo Artist of the Year in the 1993 NUVO Newsweekly Open Stage Awards, and Open Stage Host of the Year in 1992 and 1994 for the Open Stage Showcase Series he hosted at Rock Lobster.
A performer at hundreds of benefit shows himself, Laflin says he is both grateful and overwhelmed by the degree of support shown him by his fellow musicians. The lineup at the Sunday show contains longtime friends and people who were given their start in music by Laflin.
Momentum! will also perform a set. Laflin sees the show as a great way for his many friends and fans to show up and pay their respects to him.
“The support from friends and family has been great,” he says, “and I’m on an embarrassingly large number of prayer lists around the world, courtesy of my mother-in-law.”
He says he has been and will remain optimistic, thanks to the love and support from his wife, Lisa, and the rest of his family, including his two children.
Admission for the Sunday show is $5, although larger donations will be accepted. The “Craig Laflin Wellness Fund” has been established at the National Bank of Indianapolis for people who wish to make donations for Laflin’s care.
For more information about the Sunday show, or on contributing to Laflin’s fund, contact Greg Ziesemer at 257-2214 during business hours.