Santa Cruz, California (April 25, 2013) Bob Brozman was found dead at his home in Santa Cruz, CA in the evening of April 23, 2013. Brozman, the steel-guitar innovator who got his start playing on the streets of Santa Cruz, died at age 59.
A legend in the world of blues and roots music who integrated styles from all around the world into his music, Brozman was one of the world’s most beloved musical figures. His uniquely bold playing style and banter with the audience at his live shows gave him the opportunity not just to entertain with his sharp wit, but also challenge core assumptions about the function of rhythm and sound.
The last I knew Bob was living in Hawaii using his ethno-musicological skills to catalog the similarities between music native to the Pacific and American country music.
Bob, if not one of the founders of the Santa Cruz Street Performer’s Guild, was very close to it’s founders in ALL ways. He and Keith Greeninger headlined a a sold out benefit for that organization at Louden Nelson center a number of years back. I had the pleasure of stage managing that show.
I remember when Bob would play on the streets he drew such a large crowd the police “had no choice” but to tell him to leave… Just in case anyone’s wondering where the culture “organic” to Santa Cruz went. They got chased away or priced out of the corruptly developed housing and job market, leaving them unable to afford a garret to live in, eventually leaving the hard case winos speedfreaks and junkies behind in place of anything resembling a happily benign counterculture.
I see NO ATTEMPT by the jokers who run this city to remedy that. I just see more insult to injury for anything resembling FREE ART on a daily basis and I WILL SCOFF at any attempt to memorialize Bob by the city’s current cretins-in-charge.
As an aside, EVERYTHING his friend Tom Scribner, ANOTHER city-pimped-for-publicity local musician and living piece of American history used to do while bowing his saw downtown is thoroughly illegal now thanks to the wise wise “lawmaking” of our city’s development interest bought City council.
[More: Internationally Beloved World Blues Musician, Bob Brozman, Passes Away at Age 59 : Indybay]