After his band's spotlight faded, LFO singer Rich Cronin, who passed away Wednesday, spent his time writing songs for other singers and appearing on VH1's 2007 reality show "Mission: Man Band," in which he tried to revive his career alongside some other boy band veterans.
But what became of Cronin's fellow Lyte Funky Ones? A day after Cronin died at the age of 35, former LFO member Brad Fischetti spoke to spoke to Entertainment Weekly.
"He was one of the funniest people on the planet," said Fischetti, who was hoping to mount a tour with Cronin and third member Devin Lima later this year as a follow-up to a successful set of reunion shows in 2009. "Nobody could tell a story like Rich. He used to say, 'Never let a few facts get in the way of a good story.' "
Fischetti recalled the day in 2005 when he found out Cronin had leukemia, and how the "Summer Girls" singer/songwriter thought he'd never be able to perform again. "None of us thought we'd ever be on the stage again as LFO," said Fischetti. "He fought hard, man. He beat leukemia twice. And beat a stroke. He was a fighter."
Fischetti has kept a low profile since LFO split up in 2002, preferring to remain behind the scenes and nurture new talent through his label 111 Records. He did record a solo album, Sari, in 2007; at the time he described its sound as a mix of Coldplay, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. 111 has released albums by former LFO bassist Dan Walters, Kiernan McMullan, the Spill Canvas, Canon, Inkwell, the Windupdeads and Rookie of the Year.
Fischetti said the reunion tour last summer reminded him of the special bond the trio had during their late-'90s peak. Cronin was weakened by chemotherapy, a stem-cell transplant and a stroke that left him with such severe leg pain that Fischetti and Lima had to help the singer get dressed before shows and carry him on stage. But the tour was still a highlight.
"He was so happy," Fischetti said. "We really became soul mates. Devin and I both realized how much we loved him, despite the differences we had in the past. In New York City at the Highline Ballroom, he thanked the crowd at the end of the show. I'll always have that voice in my mind, because it was such a sincere thank you. Really, that's the memory that's sticking out in my brain."
Lima released his first solo track in 2006, a cover of the Sly & the Family Stone song "If You Want Me To Stay" for the tribute album Different Strokes by Different Folks. Though it caused some head-scratching at the time, it led to him performing in a tribute to Stone on the 2006 Grammy Awards alongside Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Maroon 5, Joss Stone, John Legend and will.i.am.
Lima released Mozart Popart, his first album with his band Cadbury Diesel, in 2008. The disc helped push Lima past the bubblegum tunes of his past, thanks to the rock and roll feel of songs like "Hangin' With You" and the soulful R&B tune "Me Veda."
Fischetti and Lima are currently collaborating on a new hip-hop project called The Xiles. They released a Christmas EP last year and revealed in December that they'd already begun recording their debut album, American Genie: Volume 1.