Pretty cool obit.
Guitarist touched many through music
Tribute is planned later this month for Ray Brand
FROM: The Huntsville Times ~
By John Myers
Sonny Edwards lifted his beer bottle. "To Ray Brand, a toast to the
most generous guitar player I ever knew."
The dozens of people crowded into Rock A-billies Smokehouse Grill
raised their drinks in salute, and one patron shouted, "Ray will never
Brand, a local guitarist whose career spanned more than 40 years and
brought him in touch with stars like David Allen Coe and Charlie
Daniels, died July 29 of cancer at the age of 59.
Edwards, who works at Railroad Bazaar on University Drive and at the
Southern rock publication, Gritz magazine, said Brand was a legend.
"If you ever heard Ray Brand play, he would touch your life."
Larry Byrom, who played guitar with Steppenwolf from 1968 to 1972,
said he knew Brand for decades.
"In 1967, before I joined Steppenwolf I visited Ray in California," he
said. "I gave him a guitar pick out there. Thirty years later, I went
to his house to spend the night and he brought the pick out and showed
it to me. I really cried."
Byrom said that was just the way Brand was.
"He had more soul in his little finger than most have in their body."
In the studio, Brand would always know how to make a song work, said
Jeff Everett, who recorded with Brand several times in their 20-year
"As an artist, he was truly an asset in the studio," he said. "As a
guitar player, he was an inspiration. As a friend, he was a gift from
Panama Red, the original guitarist for Kinky Friedman and the Texas
Jewboys, said he first met Brand in 1972.
"Every time I saw him, it was an inspiration," Panama Red said.
Edwards said Brand would often sacrifice a paying gig to play a
Ray was a giving guy," he said. "He gave from the heart and he gave
all he had. Whatever he got, this is what he'd give."
Edwards and other musicians are organizing a memorial concert to give
back to Ray's family on Aug. 28 at the 721 club. Some of the musicians
in the expected line-up include Edwards and Byrom; recording artist
Pete Carr; recording artist Bonnie Bramett; George McCorkle, formerly
of the Marshall Tucker Band; Jo Jo Billingsley, former Lynyrd Skynyrd
honkette; Microwave Dave and the Nukes; musician Michael Buffalo
Smith; Tommy Crain, former Charlie Daniels lead guitarist; Brand's
last band The Crawler; and others.
Brand's career took him from being the lead guitarist of Coe's band to
performing at the first Daniels' Volunteer Jam and playing with
Buckeye, Slaughter Road and Jamie Hurt and the Mariteens before
settling with The Crawlers.
The Crawlers played their own tribute show to Brand on Friday at
Freddy's on South Memorial Parkway.
"I hope they have Marshall amps and Fender strats in heaven, because
he could sure put them to good use," said Crawlers guitarist John
Huber and drummer Billy Teichmiller started the band with Brand
several years ago, Teichmiller said.
"Ray and I had been playing together so long, it was the easiest thing
to know what to do," Teichmiller said. "I knew what he was going to
play before he played it."
Thad Usry, who sings and plays harmonica for The Crawlers, said he
started playing on stage only because of Brand.
"I would get up and play with them every now and then," Usry said. "He
kept encouraging me, so we just came together."
The band mostly remembers Brand as being the nicest, humblest man they
"The guy literally would not hurt a fly," Teichmiller said. "I've seen
him catch flies and take them outside and let them go."
Michael Buffalo Smith, owner of Gritz, said Brand would help everyone
he could through playing benefit shows.
"He might not have money for food, but he would play for other
people," Smith said.
At Brand's funeral Wednesday, Sonny Edwards said he put in a drawer in
the casket a Swiss army knife, a guitar pick and a 9-volt battery -
things musicians are always looking for.
"But he doesn't need my help with that," Edwards said. "He's got
roadies taking care of all that now."