CINDERELLA frontman Tom Keifer recently said that he was “not prepared” for the death of guitarist Jeff LaBar last year.
Tom discussed LaBar’s passing on this past Tuesday’s (March 29) episode of SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, saying (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’ve gotta tell you, you’re never really ready for that kind of loss; you’re not prepared to hear that kind of thing. And everyone is still trying to grieve and process it. It’s an emotional topic. Jeff was just such a passionate, amazing person, musician, human. He had a huge heart. And it was a tough one, man. It still is, for everybody.”
Tom continued: “Jeff and I had a really good relationship throughout out career. Obviously, in bands there’s times when you have differences; that’s part of being in a band. It’s true what people say about bands — that they’re like a family, but, honestly, it’s like that and even more intense, because there’s so many different facets that inform the dynamics between bands; everything from business to creativity and everything in between. But despite any differences that we’ve had over the years, and the band in general, as I’ve always said, we’ve never aired anything like that.
“Jeff and I had a great relationship,” Keifer repeated. “I loved Jeff — I really did — and have so many great memories of our journey together. He was amazing, and not just what he contributed to the music. Jeff had such a great sense of humor, and some of my favorite memories with Jeff are just kind of cutting up together on the bus. We were both big movie fans and could quote pretty much all our favorite movies. And we’d sit in the front lounge and quote ‘Arthur’ and ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘Caddyshack’. He was just a really passionate, really fun guy to be around, and obviously, an amazing performer. He was a huge part of CINDERELLA.
“Like I said, you’re never ready for that. And everyone is really honestly… I’m in touch with Eric [Brittingham, bass] and Fred [Coury, drums] regularly — everybody close to him — and we’re still trying to process it. We really are.”
When it was mentioned how the outpouring of support from CINDERELLA fans was so overwhelming immediately after LaBar’s passing, Tom said: “That’s all I saw online — was really, really positive, because he projected that. He was a good soul and a good friend to me. Obviously, when you’re in a band, you try to hold each other up. And anything that Jeff was going through in his life I would try to have his back on, and he did the same for me. Especially when I had my voice challenges,” referencing his early ’90s battle with vocal cord paresis, a neurological condition on the left side of his voice box that almost put an end to Keifer’s career, “he was really supportive. There was a point where I was just at an all-time low before I met [vocal coach] Ron Anderson. And I was so self-conscious about my voice that I didn’t want anyone in the rehearsal room when I was trying to work through it. And I asked Jeff if he would just come in and play guitar and let me sing, ’cause there was so much brain power [required] just trying to work through the vocal issues that I couldn’t even play the guitar and sing at the same time. And he came every day. It was just me and him, and he just played the guitar and I sang the songs. And he heard a lot of really bad things come out of my mouth [laughs], and he would just always look at me and say, ‘You’re doing great.’ And I always tried to return and have his back on… He had his challenges too.”
Keifer continued: “We had a good relationship. We really did. I loved him, and I know in my heart he loved me. And in the end, that’s what’s most important. And I have great memories of him and they’re forever in my heart. And I cherish them.”
Jeff was found dead by his wife on July 14, 2021 inside his apartment in Nashville. TN. He was 58 years old.