LonPaul Stewart Ellrich, 37, musician and father, died May 7. He was an icon in the music community, playing in Din, Tin Lounge, Sardina, Marmoset and the Mysteries of Life while sitting in with many other groups, including Dow Jones and the Industrials. He had a hand in producing and recording innumerable other bands.
“If there is such a thing as an ‘Indiana’ sound, I would say you could trace back much of it to LonPaul,” relates Jeb Banner, creator of the Web community and music archive Musical Family Tree. “His influence can be found in almost every musician playing original music here in Indiana, even if they never knew him. His style was so unique, whether he was on the drums, guitar, singing or producing, you could always hear that unique feel he had. It was like he was wired for music, even in the way he moved, constantly in motion.”
PJ Christie, musician and long time friend, affirms, “I am not so sure there would be much of a music community in Indianapolis without him. Not only was he in the best and most adventurous bands of the last 20 years, but his generosity and involvement with bands as an engineer, producer and music fan included basically everyone. He combined an encyclopedic knowledge of music with an innate ability to produce melodies, improvise and arrange material in any collaborative setting.”
People have been flocking to the MFT site (www.musicalfamilytree.net) to share stories, songs and photographs of Ellrich. Christie explains how the virtual community is a natural gathering place to grieve. “I believe that having a site which quickly brings together so many individuals into a shared memory and tribute will ultimately provide a more complete healing process for those that loved him most, his family. LonPaul was a towering influence in local music, and MFT was originally created to show how musicians, through their connections, all feed into one another. His versatility and dedication to original and independent music is only matched by the recent outpouring of memories shared by musicians and fans alike.”
Banner’s memories echo many of the thoughts shared on MTF, “As a friend, he could be both wonderful and frustrating. On his good days, he was loads of fun, generous and very loving. He was brutally honest with himself as well as others. He was rarely satisfied but towards the end of his life he had found a good deal of peace as a father to his beautiful son Rupert. LonPaul was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy, and his loss is going to reverberate for years to come.”
Ellrich is survived by his son, Rupert Kosmos Augustus, his parents and extended family. Services will be held at Crown Hill Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 14. Calling is at 5:30 p.m. with a memorial service to follow at 6:30 p.m. Please visit www.musicalfamilytree.net to read the hundreds of memories posted and to contribute to Rupert’s Scholarship Fund.