R.I.P. Tas

Article by Jeff Whalley from the Geelong Advertiser, August 2nd, 2008.

Founding member of The Meanies rock band Tasman Blizzard died yesterday when his car plunged into a dam on the Bellarine Peninsula.
The Point Lonsdale identity, 37, lost control in wet conditions on Swan Bay Rd at Mannerim about 3.10pm.

Witnesses said they saw Blizzard's blue Ford station wagon spin out of control and cross the centre of the road Police praised the actions of a brave CFA worker who dived into the dam's murky waters in a vain attempt to save the trapped victim.

Portarlington Sergeant Greg Taylor said the car smashed through a wire fence and flattened two trees before hitting an embankment and becoming airborne.

The station wagon plunged into the dam, becoming almost entirely submerged, except for the top of the boot.

Sgt Taylor said Blizzard was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Blizzard was a popular member of the coastal community, serving as president of the Point Lonsdale Boardriders Club in 2006-07.

Police said the wet, slippery road conditions may have played a part in the smash.

Mannerim CFA First Lieutenant Stephen Beasley, who was first on the scene, praised the heroics of group officer Alistair Drayton who braved the muddy waters.

"It was time-critical, we turned out within six to seven minutes of the first call. So Alistair entered the water to try to free the driver,'' Mr Beasley said.

But as he reached the submerged vehicle, Mr Drayton discovered the victim deceased, still trapped in the driver's seat.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident and are preparing a brief for the coroner.

Former Point Lonsdale Boardriders Club president Graeme Briggs last night praised Blizzard for his ``good-hearted'' ability to bring people together.

"He was good with the 1960s vintage board club era guys and the young kids in the nine-to-10-year-old age period. He was good with everybody, a lot of people are going to miss him greatly,'' Mr Briggs said.

''Even when in hiatus there was a number of guys who kept the club going _ Tas was one of those people.''

Blizzard had returned for a brief period to the coast after spending time with family in Thailand, Mr Briggs said.

Blizzard was a founding guitarist with The Meanies who formed in 1989.

In the 1990s the band was popular in the Melbourne pub scene and toured in Australia, Japan, Spain, Germany, and France with acts including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Superchunk, Fugazi, and the Beastie Boys.

The Meanies show booked for Thursday August 14th at the National Hotel, Geelong will be going ahead as a Tas Blizzard Memorial show. It’s going to be a big night and a great tribute to Tas.