Thursday, March 25, 2010


BRUCE ROEHRS 1950-2010

I met Bruce in San Francisco about 5 years ago. I had been reading his column since I was a kid and had always wanted to meet him. The minute I shook Bruce’s hand my life would forever be changed. We laughed and listened to Cock Sparrer, Warrior Kids, and Agnostic Front drinking whiskey till we couldn’t stand anymore. It was one of the best nights I can remember having. I’ve been putting off writing this for some time. When I got the news of his passing, I was at work. There wasn’t much I could do at the time and due to financial responsibilities, I had to keep working and couldn’t be where I need to be, in the Bay, mourning with my friends. Not since the passing of my grandfather when I was a kid have I ever been more affected by anyone’s passing. It eats me up inside that I never get to hear his laugh or get a classic Bruce hug ever again. I’m gonna miss moshing around MRR house with him and knocking shit over. I’m gonna miss him praising me on my green taping skills.

Fukuko and I were in San Francisco visiting a couple years back and I really wanted her to meet Bruce. Being the charmer that he was, I knew that after about 15 minutes she would fall in love with the guy. Sure enough, on the first day we were there my theory was proven true. I had called Bruce early one morning to see if he wanted to come with me and Fukuko for the day to do some touristy bullshit she had never done before. “Hell no! I’m not about to spend my day off fighting for parking spots with a bunch of assholes,” and promptly hung up. I called him right back , told him he was being a pussy and he eventually came around. “Alright, I’ll go with y’all, but we gotta do the shit I wanna do.” 20 minutes later Randy, Fukuko, and myself were in Bruce’s truck heading west towards the Presidio. Man had it all figured out. Knew where all the best spots were and gave us so much insight into the last 25 years that it blew our minds. The day seemed to never end. From dive bars formerly frequented by Hunter S. Thompson, to a Columbarium, to crazy 1980’s punk venues in Chinatown. None of us stopped laughing for the entire day. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about watching that happy bastard limping down the street and stopping randomly to point and fill us in on a few more local landmarks. To date one of the most fun days I can remember. Fukuko ended up in bed by about 6:30 pm. “I am waste” was all I could get her to say through her thick Japanese accent.

Bruce had a heart as big as his record collection. The man would hear that I was going through a hard time, pick up the phone, and call me to make sure I was ok. Bruce would always try to get me to drink with him, even though I had quit sometime back. He’d buy me a shot, slide it over and when I’d decline, he’d just laugh and do it himself, squeezing my shoulders the whole time.

The man could tell a story like it was his fucking job and it makes me sick to my stomach that I was never able to get more a few of em down on paper. Bruce saw the Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The MC5, The Pistols, The Ramones (in their hey day – ‘77), Bob Dylan (over 30 times since the 60’s), and Black Flag (with every singer), not to mention every other band you would ever want to see. Actually, when he saw the MC5 he booed ‘em. Bruce had been waiting to see the Steve Miller Band and was not about to watch some fucks from the Motor City noodle around. He sold LSD for Grand Funk Railroad. He went to Jamaica in the late 70’s to buy reggae records in Kingston.

Bruce had a degree from the University of Florida in Psychology, but chose to be a carpenter (not unlike Jesus) to be able to pursue things of more interest to him, like Rock ‘n’ Roll. He was a mentor, a father figure, and a friend. My life was better with him in it. Bruce inspired me keep writing regardless of what other people thought. I will always love him for that. Bruce told me that if I wasn’t pissing people off then I wasn’t doing something right. When I was staying in the Bay for a while, every morning around 10:30 Bruce would call MRR, where he knew I’d be green taping, and see where we were having lunch. Every day. I miss you so much already. SYFATB.