no who but still important/tragic: doug feiger RIP

Mon Feb 15 07:10:33 UTC 2010

Doug Fieger, who pursued his childhood dreams from suburban Detroit to a 
brief stint at the top of the pop music world with his band The Knack, died 
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Fieger, who wrote and sang lead vocals on the 1979 hit "My Sharona," was 

His death was confirmed by his brother, prominent Southfield attorney 
Geoffrey Fieger. 

He attended Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School in Oak Park and Oak Park 
High School. When he died, Fieger was living in Woodland Hills, Calif., and 
being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He had battled lung cancer for 
six years. 

"Doug didn't wait for the world to come to him -- he made his own destiny, 
even as early as high school," said David Weiss, who went to school with 
Fieger in Oak Park and was later known professionally as David Was with the 
Detroit-born rock-funk band Was (Not Was). 

"He was a trendsetter, even in high school," Weiss said. "I think it was in 
1964 that he showed up at school with the first bell bottoms anyone had 
ever seen and a pair of boots -- I think they were pink." 

Richard Fishman, now an antiques dealer in California, was in Fieger's 
first band, the Royal Jammers, when they were both about 11 years old. 

He remembers Fieger as a Beatles fanatic with an encyclopedic knowledge of 
rock history who insisted his first guitar be an expensive Gretsch Country 
Gentleman, because that's what George Harrison played. 

"He collected all this Beatles paraphernalia in a box under his bed," 
Fishman said. 

And when he saw Fieger recently, as he continued his fight with cancer, "he 
still had everything -- he had an unbelievable guitar collection," Fishman 

Detroit native Jaan Uhelszki, a former editor at Creem magazine in Detroit 
who is now a music writer based on the West Coast, knew Doug Fieger when he 
had the band Sky, which predated The Knack. 

"He had a radiant talent," she said. 

"He was determined and pugnacious with big dreams, most of which he 

And Detroit News columnist Laura Berman, who grew up next door to the 
Fiegers in Oak Park, said she never doubted Doug Fieger was headed for stardom. 

"He was one of the most extraordinary people that I ever met," Berman said. 

"He was the pied piper. He was so charismatic and admired that people would 
just follow him everywhere." 

Fieger was always putting on dramatic productions -- staging his own 
funeral with his brother Geoffrey's help when he was about 10 and Samuel Beckett's 
theater-of-the-absurd classic "Waiting for Godot" in high school, she said. 

"I'm more surprised that he wasn't a big star all his life than I am that 
he became a star," Berman said. 

"He always felt destined for stardom and intent on making himself a star." 

"Get the Knack" sold 6 million copies. 

Fieger's ex-wife, Mia, helped care for him during his illness. In addition 
to his older brother, Geoffrey, survivors include his younger sister, Beth. 

In one of the last interviews Fieger gave, he told columnist Neal Rubin of 
The News in January that he maintained a positive outlook even as he faced 

"Everybody knows they're going sooner or later," he said. 

"I don't know any better than anyone else when I'm going. 

"I've had 10 great lives. And I expect to have some more. I don't feel 
cheated in any way, shape or form." 

A memorial in Los Angeles for relatives and close friends is pending. 

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