Brian Rosen at The Falls Music Lounge
February 10, 2018
Late last night I stumbled onto a video on youtube of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters telling the story of when he fell off stage at a show in Sweden. He tripped on some cables and when he hit the floor he dislocated his ankle on impact and broke a bone in his leg.
As it was only 8 minutes into the show he didn't wanna stop and bail on the fans. He never considered it, so he got his crew to get him back on stage and proceeded to finish the show while the doctor held his ankle in place. It turned out that the doctor was also a Foo Fighters fan and didn’t want the show to end either. It was total bad-ass and total rock star.
Here is the link to the interview: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7tRZlFIxWo
I went into town unexpectedly tonight, so I stopped into work to give Erika a book I had stashed by my desk for her. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. When I went into The Falls to give it to her she was on the phone, so I just leaned on the bar hangin’ out.
I looked across the bar and saw Brian sitting there. Big smiles and hellos from both of us! He picked off the book right away, “The Prophet?!” he exclaimed.
I said, “You know The Prophet?!” With a bigger smile on his face he said, “I know The Prophet and I know your hoodie.” I laughed and went over to talk to him. He was just chillin’ havin’ a beer before he went on stage to play a show.
As I walked up I saw some crutches sitting beside him. “Are those yours?” He assured me that they were, so being naturally curious, I asked him what the deal was.
He injured his ankle 8 years ago, and about two years ago he had another surgery on it. A couple weeks ago he had another minor follow-up kinda surgery to clean up some bone spurs and such.
I saw his boot-cast, so I got to talkin’ about when I had one of those too…and what a pain in the ass it was for driving. We compared minor notes and laughed about that.
**Getting my bike refit so I could ride with cast after I cracked a bone in my foot during the 2008 Vancouver Marathon
Brian should be up and rollin’ by spring time, so it wasn’t too big of a deal more than just a minor pain in the ass to deal with. He was telling me the timing actually worked out well with the gigs he was playing as he didn’t have any drumming shows at the moment…no kick-drum to have to worry about.
All this of course had my mind rolling on the kind coincidence of seeing that video of Dave Grohl and his broken leg only the previous evening. I love those who throw down through the shit. That’s pretty much the thing I love the most.
We got into talking about music and what he was gonna play tonight. He said he was gonna play a buncha new stuff. I was intrigued and asked him if he had been writing songs. Brian said he had been writing some new tunes but that he was also gonna dive into some new covers.
I asked him what kind of covers. He said Bruce Springsteen from ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad,’ and ‘Nebraska’ albums. I was psyched ‘cause those are fuckin' great albums!
Brian said he had just watched a 4 hour concert from right after the ‘Born to Run’ album was released. He started watching it and got drawn right in and ended up watching the whole thing from start to finish...mesmerized by it.
"I can see why they call him the boss!"
That led us to talking about old great story telling songwriters, and how that is a seemingly lost art these days.
It was time for him to play, so as Brian was crutching up to the stage I thought again how it was excellent that I had just seen that video of Dave Grohl. I thought to myself, “Lookkit Bri rollin’ all bad-ass rock star like!” It made me giggle.
When he started playing I fell in love with his voice instantly again. It's so deep and rich. It lures you in, in a Johnny Cash kind of way. It’s fuckin’ fantastic
I had my laptop with me, so I fired it up while he was getting settled and sinking into his first song. I was all set and ready when Brian broke into his second song, “Give My Love to Rose” by Johnny Cash.
Well, shiiiit…doesn’t he just have the perfect voice for that! I was fuckin’ psyched! After that he played a Paul Simon tune and then a Johnny ‘Tiptoes’ Prine song.
Tiptoes made me smile as I do every time I hear one of his songs. You see, when I went to do a triathlon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida in September 2008 I saw back-to-back John Prine shows on the two nights before my race.
I was actually there to see Josh Ritter, who was opening for him. They were incredible shows. I got to talk with Josh both nights. He’s such a great guy. (Paul has him playing here at Sprit Bar later this month. I’m psyched as fuck!”)
During the first show, as his old high school gymnastics teacher was in the audience, Johnny Tiptoes told the story of his high school gymnastics career that was pretty hilarious…turns out he’s actually a musician and not a gymnast. Anyway, the moral of the hilarious story for me was that his teacher nicknamed him, ‘Tiptoes,’ and so I have called him Johnny Tiptoes ever since.
It only took two notes into the next song after the Johnny Tiptoes tune for me to pull my head up from my computer and look to the stage with a big shit eatin’ grin. When I did, Brian was already staring at me with a fatty smile on his face too. He was falling into “Seven Curses” by Bob Dylan
The mini back story to that is that on Christmas night, when we were at Tara and Greg’s place, I started talking to him about when he played that tune at The Falls in the summer. I told him, of all the songs I have seen him play that was the one!
Brian was psyched, but also half surprised…almost at me even knowing it. You see, little did he know the Dylan freak that I am. Everyone knows me as a Jerry Garcia juggernaut, but Bob Dylan is made out of pure magik that changed my life.
Seven Curses is one of his tunes that stopped the world around me while I first heard it. A lasting impression is saying so little towards the impact it struck me with. It’s so gawd damned powerful that I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing while I was sitting on the floor on the living room floor in our place on Saltspring Island in 1998. I can still see the moment and feel it riveting through me.
When Bri was expressing his impressed-ness at me remembering him playing that in the summer, I told him that I don’t forget things like that. That made him smile.
I mean, Dylan really is something special to me. It's hard to put into words what his writing and songs have meant to my world. Bob Dylan showed that you can change the world with two simple chords and a pen. Riveting!
In mid January I sent Brian an amazing show of Dylan at Carnegie hall in 1963 because of the Seven Curses he played. Bri was psyched.
I've not been shy about expressing my love for acoustic music, and especially what one person can do with great writing and a solo acoustic guitar. That's one of the infinite things Dylan gave to me.
Sitting here listening to Brian took me on a journey of fascination. The tones of his voice, the deep richness of it, and the simplicity of the music he brings out of his guitar is the kinda thing that pierces right through the heart into the soul...weaving its web into the fabric of who I am. The way Brian plays, and what he chooses to play is what makes up so much of who I am. I could watch him play every day.
Midway through his first set Brian broke into a “Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad," so, I looked up again and thought to myself, “Of course you’re playin’ this tune yuh bad-ass mutha fucka! Daaaaamn!”
The easy way to say express that is that this song was on my list of 5 choices for picking a custom licence plate for my van. GDTRFB. Although it is an old traditional song, it is the Grateful Dead's scorching version that I fell in love with. (Surprise, Surprise!)
**Jerry on fire back in the day!
It is always great to hear someone like Woody Guthrie play it, but it's Jerry's smokin' lines on fire that grabbed me. Just listen to the GDTRFB they fall into out of the Jam at the final Fillmore East show in New York City on April 29, 1971. That shit's on fire!
Brian's rendition though comes across in a hauntingly beautiful way when combined with that ever deep richness of his voice that I keep eluding to. Simple, sweet, and so gawd damned powerful.
It made me smile every time I lifted my head and saw Brian tapping his left foot with his casted right foot sitting still while he sat there in front of his crutches leaning against the window sill beside his guitar case behind him. It was fuckin’ great!
When Brian played a Townes Van Zandt song I started looking at the musician map he was drawing:
Townes Van Zandt
…and also diving into old traditional songs that Bob Dylan’s biggest influence, Woody Guthrie, played.
Brian was drawing this musical journey painted by legends beyond words. It was like the musical terms of walking down a hallway with paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Monet and Michelangelo hanging in all their luster.
It told a story of his musical influence and knowledge. It was really something special to behold. The way he captures the essence of these icons is absolutely gorgeous too.
When you talk with him about music you can tell he is more than just playing their songs, or playing tribute to them, but honouring them in an astonishing way.
I drifted away in this thought when, of course, he just had to break into Dylan's, "Girl from the North Country.
I mean...c'moooon maaaan... That of course is from "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which I have considered the greatest album ever made since the first time I heard it when I was barely 18 years old. Sure, “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” did their thing, but the way this record influenced a generation during times of turmoil, change and revolution on several fronts... It was a foundation laying and changing moment in music history…from that time when Dylan was changing everything with those simple 2-3 chords and a pen.
Hearing Brian play this song finished off painting over 25 years of pure moving nostalgia for me!
The thing I see rolling through my mind while sitting here during the final song of his first set is a visual history of myself told through his guitar and sung from his rich voice. How do you really capture that into words? I'm not even sure despite all the words I have just written.
Thinking about it right now, the best way I can put it is like this…
Take a blind man down to the ocean during the most gorgeous of sunrises and give him the gift of being able to see for the first time, and then ask him to put it into words. Some things are just left unsaid. That’s the final impression Brian left me with tonight!
I’m so glad I stopped in to give Erika that book…a book that, in itself, has changed many lives and stuck with people for the rest of their days once they had first read it.
I didn’t have a camera with me, so I asked Erika to take a photo of Brian on stage for me.
What a fantastic surprise stopping into The Falls brought me tonight.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.