Meghan Galbraith, 35, front woman for the queer Chicago-based rock/pop/punk trio band 8 Inch Betsy, died Jan. 22 after a year-long illness.
Galbraith was born Aug. 13, 1979, in Waukegan, Illinois, and graduated from Waukegan High School. Shortly after moving to Chicago in 1997, Galbraith began working at Beans and Bagel on Montrose eventually becoming a manager of the location. She also was a doorperson at The Longroom and bartender at Bar on Buena.
Galbraith is survived by her parents, Mike and Diane Galbraith and her older sister, Erin Galbraith. Galbraith was born on Erin's third birthday.
A singer/songwriter and self-taught guitarist, Galbraith joined 8 Inch Betsy's bassist Eli Burke and drummer Stephanie Levi in 2004. Galbraith's addition to the band gave the band a second life and for eight years they performed at festivals and shows all over the United States. 8 Inch Betsy also opened for The Gossip and toured with Amy Ray and the Volunteers.
Galbraith was featured in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Now and AfterEllen.com . In the 2009 Chicago Now Q&A, Galbraith noted that Early to Bed was her favorite queer-owned business in Chicago. As for where she liked to take out of town guests, Galbraith cited the beach and a walk through Andersonville among the places she wanted them to see. Galbraith shared that if she were a Chicago neighborhood she'd be Ravenswood, which she called the perfect neighborhood.
"I don't think anybody's had a bigger impact on my life than Meghan," said Steve Albertson, a longtime friend, former roommate and director of media at Baby Robot Media in Atlanta, Georgia. "I was lucky enough to have spent a long night of laughing and eating with her just after Christmas. We met in high school and bonded over punk rock, skating and trampolines. We hung out constantly. Meghan always played music and it's one of the things that drew me to her. She amazed me with her guitar playing and I would often force our friends to name a song and make Meghan play it. 'See. She knows every song ever.' I would tell them. Her original songs, even in high school, would make me cry.
"Meghan and I moved to Chicago right after high school and worked at the same coffee shop together for nearly a decade. We both had bands, 8 Inch Betsy and Dr. Killbot. We'd support each other and play shows together. We helped each other through every single relationship we ever had. The universe threw her in my path right when I needed her, and I held on tight all the way until the end."
Adam Snow, general manager of the Beans and Bagels on Rockwell in Lincoln Square, added that "Meghan was an incredibly generous person. Although she was a private person, she gave everything as a friend and performer. As an artist, she would retreat to her bedroom and wouldn't let you know what she was working on until she was ready to share it. Meghan had a raw passion and it didn't matter if she played acoustic or electric guitar, she just put it all out there. Her live performances were a sight to behold. I'm really sad to lose such a great friend so early in both of our lives."
A memorial service will take place Saturday, Jan. 31, 1-4 p.m., at the In-Laws Restaurant 720 N. Milwaukee Ave., Gurnee, Illinois.
Brooke Benjamin from Cremation Society of Illinois relayed the news of Galbraith's death to Windy City Times.