There has been some interest in the Keseyian style rant that I read at William Brand's memorial at the Trappist, Sunday March 1st. The impetus behind this tribute goes back to 1991 when on October 31st Ken Kesey stepped out onto the stage at the Oakland Auditorium during a Grateful Show and voiced a similar read about the great music promoter Bill Graham, who had passed away a few days earlier in a helicopter crash. While the Grateful Dead were chugging through a haunting Dark Star (you can hear it here at Nugs.Net click on Kesey Rap), Ken came out on stage and projected his ode to his friend Bill Graham. I am no poet and I certainly don't put myself in the same vein with Ken Kesey. With that said, when you dig a little there are similarities between Bill Graham and Bill Brand. At Bill's memorial his daughter said that Bill was so Rock and Roll and when you think of it, he really was. He seemed at times in another world, hearing, listening, watching and writing. Another part of this story that not many know and I will divulge now, is that my close friend Dave McLean, of Magnolia Brewery and the Amebic, and I are some what obsessed with the Kesey rap and would quote it to each other whenever it is needed in conversation. In fact Dave was so taken with the Kesey rap that you can find it printed on the inside cover of his menu at Magnolia. Go there and seek it out. Until then, I give you my Bill Brand Tribute Rap. I even messed up the e.e. cummings poem as Ken Kesey had done:
I woke up a couple of Mondays ago in Berkeley when i got the message about Bill I thought of two things.
I thought how could this happen, how can you have an amazing dinner from Sean Paxton at the 21A homebrewchef dinner, walk outside and then get hit by a train…how can that happen? After a great meal, looking over there and seeing Bill scribbling away on his note pad, like a machine, never stopping. trying the beers and the food, that amazing dinner one of the best. the real deal. epic night.
And I thought of one more thing, it's a little heavy but that's what it's about. Nobody else reaches across the distance and puts their hand on your shoulder about this shit…nobody. In the past when Bill and I were hanging out at Barclays trying beers with his fingers typing away on that Mac writing a story, that slight smile, listening and typing…taking in everything you were saying. Maybe missing a fact or typo here or there, but we are all human.
The last time we were on the Brewing Network together, where Bill told us stories about living in Mexico, riding horses and then moving to the Bay area, starting a family, becoming a writer, becoming one of the first beer writers when good beer was young and so were we…his wide eyed way of tasting beer and writing about beer, it was as big as time as it gets…and ol'Bill knew it, he knew it. we knew it.
And the other thought, the second thought, the warrior thought, the hard thought, the final thought, which is that we ain’t many, in any given situation there is always going to be more dumb people than smart people and we ain’t many. There is always going to be more bad beer drinkers than good beer drinkers….More macro swill, adjunct brewing marketing company breweries than good craft beer breweries…we ain’t many. No, we ain’t many. And ol’Bill knew it, HE knew it…
And the final thought, the last thought is a poem by e.e. cummings an old poem and it goes.
Buffalo Bill is defunct
Jesus he was a handsome man
he used to ride a white horse and shoot
clay pigeons onetwothreefourfive justlikethat
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy now