Monday July 24th 2017

KEITH BROOKS

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KEITH BROOKS
By Jo Ongelmia, Viviam Lorena, Jonny Miller and Derek Widtfeldt

 

One time Keith had booked a late matinee show at the midway and I had tickets to a night time show at The ‘dise I believe. Anyway, I wanted to go to Keith’s show for a bit beforehand so I texted him asking the set times. He was all excited…”yeah dude, come out. It’ll be a blast!” He then told me the set times and I told him that I simply didn’t have time and would have to miss his show. He simply replied “I have nothing good to say!” Anyone that knows Keith knows that was his trademark dry sense of humor!

(Derek Widtfeldt)

 

I think my favorite memory of Keith would have to be when I first met him. We had just finished our set (Cry Havoc) at a show with the BarRoom Heroes up in Boston, right up the street from The Garden.

I had stepped outside to get some fresh air and cool off. Keith immediately came right up to me asking about one of the songs we played, our anti-racist song called “Sons Of Idiot Army.”

He and I had a lengthy talk about how we were both baffled, that in this day and age, people were still hung up in believing in a “master race.” And how we were both still disgusted by the existence of racism in our society.

While I’ve had the same conversation with many people at our shows, I’ll always remember thinking then about how cool it was. I mean, we hadn’t met or spoken at all before and we were having a lengthy conversation about something we both had very strong feeling about. I remember being struck by the power that music has over us, the reach and capability it has to bring complete strangers together with similiar views and ideas.

After that we kept in contact and Keith had us up to Boston for a series of awesome shows. We looked forward to and were honored to be part of his Wounded Warrior shows.

He truly loved the music, this scene and showed it everytime we saw him. Shows in Boston won’t be the same without him. But all of the great times we had, that will always be my favorite memory of Keith. Talking about how stupid racism is outside of that bar in the middle of the afternoon.

(Jonny Miller)

 

First thing he said to me after introducing himself was “I’m an asshole and I’m not easy to deal with.” After that every free moment I had I spent with him. I had never been so instantly captivated by someone in my life. When he asked me to be his girlfriend 2 months later he said to me that he was having a rough time since he came back from war and that he hadn’t been this happy in a long time. We had our ups, downs, break ups, makes ups.

Our story is wild and romantic. He let me see his demons. Let me fight them off. I fought hard. As hard as I could. It always felt with him like I was running out of time. Every good bye always felt like the last. Every moment spent with him I cherished to the last drop. Emotions were always on high with the both of us always at extremes. We were so drawn to one another that sometimes it was hard to define what we felt. As friends we were both always there for each other.

It was the best incarnation of whatever you call the magnetism that drew us together fight after fight. We had so much fun during this chapter of our story. Created so many memories. But I always knew from the first kiss that this man was something else and that I wanted him around for as long as I could have him.

The last time I saw him 3 weeks ago. We put all of our cards on the table. We untangled every knot. And there were many. There was so much clarity that night. He said to me, “I know this is gonna sound weird but this is the longest relationship I have ever been in. I need to know if we are just gonna keep ending up together. ‘Cause if we are why don’t we just get married?” I will never forget those words. I would of spent the rest of my life fighting away the darkness with him. I am grateful you came into my life Keith. I will love you always. I look forward to finding you again in the next life. Rest in serenity my love.

(Viviam Lorena)

 

It’s always a hard adjustment when a constant voice in your life suddenly falls silent. When you know that the phone won’t ring, that no text messages will come. When your mad, beautiful friend will never call again asking to sleep a band on your floor in 6 hours.

I’ve been staring at this screen for days trying to come up with the perfect words for Keith. I can hear his gruff voice in the back of my head “fuckin’ chicks, always so emotional,” and it makes me smile. And then I reach for my phone to tell him, and remember.

Keith was like a hurricane, drawing in everyone around him and going full force, damn the consequences. He once went to the corner store at the beginning of winter and came back without a shirt because a homeless guy had admired it. He literally gave the shirt off his back to a stranger in need. His only concern afterwards was getting to the Midway early enough to buy a new one from the Bar Room Heroes.

No matter how many bands he booked, how many people he knew, Keith never asked for a spot on the guest list. He never lost his boyish admiration of the musicians he loved, and he was completely unashamed to gush, star-struck, when a frontman shook his hand or his favorite band agreed to play one of his shows.

We will miss him deeply, but let us never forget what he taught us: give openly, dance wildly, go to the mat for what you think is right, stand up again every time, and never stop being amazed.

(Jo Ongelmia)

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