the FUCKING HORROR
Over the last few days I've just been trying to process this incredible loss to the extended social circle I am a part of as well as the extended community of music fans and musicians everywhere. It has been almost impossible to sit down and put fingers to keyboard because I really wish I could pretend it wasn't real.
Brad was, well Brad. A total one of a kind. Legit, straight up unicorn. Based on the many many talks we had about an endless variety of music, I feel that Brad captured and held captive that amazing and beautiful feeling of positivity and endless possibility in terms of his experience of music.( Not to say he wasn't opinionated about things. He certainly would tell you how he felt. Straight faced. No bullshit.) But he was far less jaded than I or (especially) my older music fanatic friends. I feel like he really was just searching for the beauty in the music all the time. I'm sure everyone can picture Brad's facial expression after a set of music he loved. When it came to music, he was passionate. Constanty. In a way I wish I could be.
That positivity was all around Brad's character. Guaranteed big hug, a cheers, maybe a shot. We could both go off on whatever guitar player or band had been blowing our minds in between having seen each other. When Brad retired I remember congratulating him and he had the best response... (imagine BradM voice) "Well Dave, in the 90's I didn't go out so much, I didn't have a girlfriend, and I didn't have a hard drug habit. So I saved a lot of money". Indeed! Every time I think about that, I laugh.
As a musician, you really couldn't ask for anything more. Someone who pays close attention but is really actively seeking the beauty out of every moment. That being said, if you really stunk it up and managed to talk with Brad before he left, he wouldn't bullshit you.
His mark on the Ottawa music community was massive. So much so that I think any of us will have a hard time even comprehending the scope of it. I'll tell my story, but then just imagine the hundreds of other musicians and thousands of listeners that were gifted so much by Brad.
I'm very fortunate that Brad took an interest in every musical thing I did or tried to do. If it weren't for Brad, there would likely have never been any nero reunion shows. Because I had to figure out how to play that stuff somehow! lol. I can't tell you how many times I have been thanking Brad at my desk while trying to figure out how I played something.
That's really just completely secondary though to the real gifts I got from Brad. I am a completely disorganized mess in terms of my music. I also have failed to plan ahead in any aspect of it. I'm so thankful that Brad recorded things that surely would have slipped into the ether.
Brad was at almost every show that I ever performed in Ottawa. He also made it to a bunch of Toronto ones. Just going back and looking at a couple of things I found an early solo show with a song I had written for my infant son. Totally something I had lost track of. I was able to download it and email my now 12 year old son the song to hear. That is really something. Really a gift that Brad gave me. He also recorded a show that was a day after my grandfather passed. I did a cover of Daniel Lanois "the maker". I remember playing a solo in it and thinking about my grandfather and the bigger picture kinda stuff. Upon relistening, the solo isn't great. hahaha. But I know what was happening for me in that moment and I can go back and experience it. Thanks to Brad. Take those kinds of moments and multiply it by the hundreds of musicians he recorded. He really gave a lot.
I'll miss him very much.