This week I want to break off topic for a bit to remember a good friend. This past Sunday, the world lost Brian Farmer. Many knew him as Warren Haynes’ longtime guitar tech, crew chief and right hand man. Many more knew him simply as a friend.
Brian had a storied career working with many famous and legendary stars. I first met him through Dave Roe. The famous Nashville bassist formally of The Tennessee Three, Johnny Cash’s legendary backing band, along with countless other notable session and touring credits. Dave and I were in the Don Kelley Band together for several years and one night Brian came down to hang out. I’d heard of him before. Nashville, being that he was from here, was, and is, littered with friends of Farmer! Through his touring work and working on the side at Gruhn Guitars and Rock Block, there weren’t many folks in the music business around here that hadn’t had their life touched by the Farmer charm. So I was delighted to meet him that night and was glad to become friends. We would hang out occasionally. Go eat and look for gear. I must say that prior to my group starting he was very adamant about me doing something of my own and not settling for the career of a sideman. Not that that’s a bad thing, but Farmer saw in me that that’s not what I wanted and he was very supportive in me making the change that has brought me where I am today.
The last few years we’d keep in touch through texts and calls. I’d only see him when our paths would cross out on the road and when we did, it was always a joyous reunion. I’ll always remember the fun we had at last years Mountain Jam in upstate NY! We even went into business together this past year. He came to me about a new pedal company he was starting and wondered if I’d be interested in a signature one. I was honored to say the least and am proud of it. The last time I saw him was this last January when I was down in Atlanta to do a session. It just so happened Farmer, and my good friends Jack Pearson, Audley Freed and Jim Hoke where all over at the Fox Theater rehearsing for the Gregg Allman Tribute Show. Farmer and Jack told me to come on down after I was done and, boy we had a time! I spent most of the night talking with Jackson Browne and laughing with my good friend Farmer.
He was a lovable rouge. Naughty but sweet, sincere and real. He meant what he said and always went the extra mile for people he cared about. He also was a very loyal and tireless worker. As much as he always was the life of the party and the quickest wit around, he always had his shit together!! It’s people like Farmer that make the show happen after all. Farmer was old school though. His vibe harkened back to the great roadies and techs of yesteryear. Where not only did they do their job and do it well, but they had charm and charisma to match. They weren’t simply invisible hired hands but an extension of the band and part of the aura that is show business. It’s a testament to this that fans of Warren know who Farmer is. He wasn’t just the guy in the shadows, but a part of it. And he always will be.
Love you Farmer! Don’t worry. The next time I see you, I’ll make sure to have my own tuner :)
RIP Brian Farmer