Unfortunately, earlier this week, Sam Sadowski, who released an EP as Closet Fiends on Fat Wreck Chords. Sadowski passed away peacefully while sleeping in Sadowski's apartment in San Francisco. The cause of death is not yet known.
Sadowski was born on May 4, 1994. in 5th or 6th grade, Sam picked up a guitar and without any warning or prep, played at a school assembly to great affect. Sadowski did a few summers of a “school of rock” camp, working on the instrument.
Following that, Sadowski had bouts of homelessness. Scott Sturgeon of Leftover Crack and Fat Mike of Nofx ran into Sadowski during one of Sadowksi's periods of homelessness, which resulted in the Closet Fiends recording.
Sturgeon reflected on meeting Sadowski: "I had met Sadowski at a drop-in center. Sadowksi and a friend told me how much they loved my music. Sadowski's friend, Alex, who’s legally blind, recognized my voice from my records and asked if I was who I am, surprisingly. They told me that Sam was a musician and I asked if there was anything that I could hear. Sam's friend let it slip that there was a song on YouTube. I think that Sam was embarrassed about it. But I found it that night and it blew me away. The lyrics, the writing, the crazy chords and above all the voice. Just an amazing performance. I called Mike and came over that night or at he next day to play him the video and I believe it was the next afternoon that we got on our bicycles and searched the tenderloin and found Sam. We brought Sam to the guitar center near the tenderloin. We got Sam to play all of the original songs that Sam could remember in the “acoustic room”. It was chilling just how good the performance was. I think we brought Sam straight to the studio that very day."
There will be a memorial for Sam in Austin at a later date. You can see the video Sturgeon showed to Mike, which was recorded while Sam was in high school, below.