Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

RIP Tom Medvick


Tommy, photo by Jerry Fugate

I hate that I have to write this.

Tom Medvick, the drummer for The Swivels and The Feast of Stephen, and also known as “Tommy Spear,” passed away Wednesday. Tom was one of my best friends back in the days of the original Radio Free Charleston broadcasts. He and the band for which he then played drums, The Swivel Rockers, had an open invite to pop into the studio live and unannounced any time they wanted (which was after 2 AM, when we broadcast the show live). One of those nights Tommy launched into a spirited defense of radio, which you can hear a bit of right here…

The Fifth Segment, The Quarrel

The band did barge onto several episodes of the show and take over and we had a blast. It made for great radio and Tommy was always hilarious. I genuinely enjoyed the time I spent with Tommy and even though we didn’t stay in close contact in recent years, not a week has gone by when I haven’t thought of something he said or did and smiled or laughed about it. Tommy was one of those friends that you don’t need to see every day to keep them in your heart.

During the ten years that I was taking care of my ailing parents, I did manage to stay in contact with Tommy because his wife, Wendy, was the nurse in charge of my mother’s care plan. My heart goes out to Wendy. I can’t imagine what she’s going through now. This has been a major punch in the gut to me, and it has to be an incomprehensible loss for his family. Words are seriously failing me and feel like I’m not doing Tommy justice.

From what I’ve heard, Tommy slumped in his chair at work, unresponsive, and was dead on arrival at the hospital. It was sudden, unexpected and tragic. We will feel this loss for a long time.

Tommy at the Feast of Stephen reunion in May, 2007

Tommy at the Feast of Stephen reunion in May, 2007

The last time I saw Tommy was in 2007 when he reunited with his band, Feast of Stephen, to perform for Radio Free Charleston at LiveMix Studio. You can see the episode of the show that came out of that night at the end of this post. In addition to be a wonderful and funny human being, Tommy was also one of the most powerful drummers I’ve ever seen perform.

Tom Medvick was one of the best people I’ve known. He was always upbeat, positive and funny as hell. The world sucks more now that he’s gone.


  1. Rich D

    I knew Tommy growing-up in Keyser, WV. He lived two houses behind us. We used to play frisbee golf and b-ball waay back and I used to go watch his bands practice in his folks basement. He was always so positive and energetic. Sad news indeed.

    Thanks Tommy for the inspiration!

  2. Jenny R

    Tom was a gentle giant of a man. Always the same man anytime you saw him. Always ready with a hello and a smile. I worked with Tom and he was a team player ready willing and able to lend a hand or an uplifting comment. I will miss him and morn the loss along with his family. See you later Tom. 🙂

  3. Danny

    We will miss Tom’s talents and friendship at the Luau greatly!

  4. John Medvick

    Thank you Rudy for your kind words about my brother. I’ve always cherished your Feast of Stephen reunion video. This has been a major punch in the gut for a lot of people.

  5. Nikki F.

    I am deeply saddened to hear about Tom. I worked with him for three summers at WVDOT while in college. He made coming to work everyday fun and helped guide my career. He was great guy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP Friend and I thank God for the opportunity for you to have been briefly part of my life!! I will cherish the great memories of our sampling adventures throughout WV!!

  6. Ken Caplinger

    Got to know Tom playing NTN trivia with him at the Cold Spot in Dunbar many years ago. He was part of our Trivia ” team “. Wonderful and gracious fellow and always uplifting to be around. A genuinely nice human being. May he rest in peace.

  7. Craig Smith

    Tom was pure positive energy. I grew up with him in Keyser, WV. He always encouraged me to do the things I talked about doing. He treated each and every individual with the respect and humanity. He was always fun, positive, generous and non-judgemental. My condolences to his family and friends.

  8. Joe Vallina

    My years with Tom in the Feast of Stephen and as a fellow Delta Chi brother were some of the best times of my life, and Tom was a major reason for that. Never could you find a more upbeat bandmate. Always encouraging, always cracking jokes, always finding ways to make the music better, Tom was an inspiration, and my lord could he rock it on the drums. My and my family’s thoughts are going out to Wendy and her kids now and all of Tom’s family. We are so sorry that this has happened. I hope it comes as some comfort that he was so well regarded and loved. We all who knew him and played music with him are full of sadness at his loss, but also full of laughter and joy in remembering what a phenomenal guy he was. Tommy, we were lucky to know you. Rest in peace, brother.

  9. Frank Shaffer

    Condolences to the Medvick family. We were all family in that small town. Peace and comfort to you and yours John. Frank S.

  10. Cliff Yuill

    I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing Tom for the past 4 1/2 years through work, but during that time I’ve had many conversations with Tom both work and personal related. We lost a truly great man. Rest in peace my friend.

  11. Lincoln Wilkins

    I’m glad I had the pleasure of sharing some great times with Tom through the years. From childhood and youth in Keyser, to the times we spent in adulthood in Charleston and Lexington, KY. I will remember them fondly, and the gentle giant and friend that was Tom. He was much more than a musician, he was a good man, all around.

  12. Sherry Elkins

    I was a daycare teacher to both of his children. Never knew this side of him. It makes me smile. My prayers are for Wendy and the kids.

  13. Gene Kuykendall

    Growing up with Tommy, John, Trish and Karen

  14. Eric Sayre

    Great story about Tom. Our boys are in the same kindergarten class and play tball together. I first met him last year during tball season. I was the manager and asked if he would like to coach. All the kids love “coach tom” and he had so much fun being a coach. When it rained real hard he would call and tell me he was gonna get the field in shape. As we are both Mountaineer fans we talked often about our beloved team. I only got to know him for a full year, but im blessed that i got to know him. He was always happy and smiling, a great man and friend. My heart breaks for Wendy, Cody, and Bella. Thanks for everything Tom, you were a rare breed in this day and age. Godspeed sir!

  15. Chris Boggs

    When Wendy and I became band groupies, we thought Tommy’s name was Tommy Swivel. She fell for this animated and passionate drummer, eventually learned his last name, and ended up taking it as her own. Our hearts are broken into a million pieces right now. He was a special person and will be missed by so many. RIP Tommy. You will live on thru all of us that know you and love you.

  16. Carol S

    I am truly shocked and saddened by this news and so glad that I got to see and talk to Tom just a couple of weeks ago. What a terrific engineer and an even better, kinder person. We have lost one of the great ones… My sincere condolences to his family.

  17. John Medvick

    Craig, Frank, and Lincoln … it’s good to hear from you guys. Thank you for your kind words. Thank you everyone for your kind words.

    Joe …. I clearly remember Tommy telling me about his new band, Feast of Stephen. He loved playing with you guys. He sent a cassette tape of your songs. I have no idea where it is now. But If you have any material that Tommy was involved with on CD, digital file, or whatever, I would love a copy. The same goes for you too Rudy. If you have anything that Tommy is on I would love to have it.

    Sherry … Tommy often spoke fondly of the daycare the kids were in.

    Since I’m typing I’ll share a little bit. I’m a few years older than Tommy was (7 actually). I remember going to school in the second grade and proudly telling everyone that I had a new baby brother. (He was actually born in summer before I went into 2nd grade) I loved him from day one and he has been a huge part of my life up to now. In recent years the texting and the phone calls he and I shared during Mountaineer games were as much a part of the game as what was happening on the field/court. When football season starts I’ll feel lost without my brother to talk to. I guess I’ll still watch the games. I don’t know.

    Yet it wasn’t just the Mountaineers. We stayed in near constant contact with each other throughout the year. He was such a big part of my life that I keep expecting him to show up or call me and go through this grief with me. There’s gonna be a big hole in my life.

  18. John Medvick

    Good to hear from you Gene.

  19. Joseph Babich

    John Medvick, not sure you’ll see this but I’m so sorry to hear the news. Despite the absence of contact since the “good old days”, I have fond memories of Tom and your entire family. May God’s peace rest on you and your family.

  20. Jerry Dillman

    Tom was my brother in law and he was a large part of my life. As I struggle to cope with this tragedy and more importantly help Wendy get through it, I realize Tom is the person I would have looked to for guidance. He was always thoughtful and always seemed to know what to do no matter the situation. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but he was a great friend to me and a great man. My family was blessed to have Tom as a part of it. We love you and miss you. Rest in Peace, Tommy.

  21. rudy panucci

    John, I am compiling all of the music I have with Tommy for a special, two-hour tribute episode of the Radio Free Charleston streaming show at New Appalachian Radio that will air a week from Tuesday. I’ll send you a link when it’s up, and I’ll be in touch to get you a hard copy.

    It will include all the studio recordings of Feast of Stephen, provided by their producer, Dave McClanahan. I’ll also have music from The Swivels and I’m trying to track down more material from his appearances on my radio show 25 years ago.

  22. Terry Bennett

    I was shocked to learn of Tom’s passing. He was my supervisor at the DOH when he was resurfacing engineer. Not only was he a boss, but he was my mentor, friend and someone I could go and talk to about anything at all. I loved his sense of humor and his knowledge of just about anything especially
    the WVU Mountaineers. My prayers goes out to his family in this time and he will be missed.

  23. John Medvick

    Hello Rudy,

    What’s the status on the Tribute show? If putting the show together is too much I would still love to have a copy of anything you have.

    • rudy panucci

      It will air this Tuesday. I had a computer crash that took me out of commission for a week, but we’re back on schedule.

  24. John Medvick

    I’ll have a hard time catching the whole show during either airing. You’ll still get a hard copy to me, right?

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