Every second or third Friday night for a number of years CHEZ-FM DJ Brian Murphy could be found in my store Flash Cadilac talking to me for hours. I will never understand how we became friends, as we were different as night and day. But there he was sitting on a stool next to my cash register, and we always had hours to chat about stuff. Both of us had a love of music, but no one knew more about music than Murph. I loved to tease him about his love affair with Dire Straits, and he would in turn constantly mention my extremely bad taste in music. But sometimes he would admit that some pop music wasn’t all that bad. I wonder what he would have thought of BTS. Murph, I’m going to ask you that when I hopefully got up into rock and roll heaven, unless Hell is Gothic, and well, you know, I might enjoy that.
Brian was never there to shop, and seldom took interest in my customers (even the sexy ones) unless they mentioned music. I always had a Diet Coke or two for him, as he got thirsty discussing life, and sometimes he overwhelmed me with his knowledge. You could never have a 15 minute conversation with the music genius–his musical thoughts came in volumes. He would talk endlessly about his record collection in his basement which was floor to ceiling, as well as covering the stairways and hallways. Brian, you would be happy to know (in later life) I married one of “your tribe” who had 7000 records to get rid of in Berkeley, California to move here to Canada. I know you would have told him what was more important in life LOL.
After Brian was let go amid the big CHEZ-FM shuffle I wondered what he was up to when I no longer saw him anymore. When I read his obituary I was devastated and angry at myself for not reaching out to him and hoped to God his frog collection would be taken care of. He will always be the Sultan of Swing to me and so much more.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I wonder what Brian would have to say about a particular genre of music I’m playing. When he died CHEZ-FM posted the following on their website:
“Heaven has just welcomed its new music director.”
If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
And bring you back again.The Brian Murphy Fund
*Application and donation links found below*
A Sub Fund of the Education Foundation of Ottawa and An Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of Ottawa
This award is in memory of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ 106 “The Source” “Blues 106,” “Jazz 106” and other programs. He was known as one of Ottawa’s most original people. Brian will be remembered for his encyclopedic knowledge of musi
Please leave comments so I can them all here for permanent doucmentation… thanks
This is Artcetera, speaking from the home of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ’S The Source, Blues 106 and Jazz 106 programs on Sunday nights. The shows reflect Murphy’s eclectic tastes in music, a subject for which he is wildly enthusiastic. He’s also a champion talker. Let’s listen in.) Now I’m going to get myself in real serious trouble with what one friend calls the jazz ayatol-lahs, and another friend calls the jazz weasels. Because really what jazz is, even though it has become in a sense an art form ta-dah ta-dah, is pop music. MOZART WROTE POP MUSIC, or adapted pop music. And nothing makes me angrier than the jazz ayatollahs or the jazz weasels, or the BLUES ayatollas or the BLUES weasels, people who are so structured in their musical taste.
. . . I’ve always gotten from certain people in the Ottawa jazz scene the ayatollahs, the weasels the feeling that they really can’t take me seriously when it comes to jazz. Why? Because I like rock and roll. (It’s me again. We’re talking to Murphy because May 24 is his 50th birthday, and CHEZ is dedicating the day to his music, and also holding a birthday party for him at the Penguin. The radio station is broadcasting from his house that day, and they’ve asked him to pick 125 to 150 rock songs, and they will make up the playlist for the station that day.) I just took a page for every letter and as songs came into my mind I started going through them … So you got a list that starts A’s: Allman Brothers, Ramblin Man and Animals, House of the Rising Sun. B’s: The Band, The Weight, The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations, here’s a tough one, Beatles, I’ve got two, Am The Walrus and In My Life. And I’ve got Bonzo Dog in here, which will probably come out, and this particular song means a lot to me: Urban Spaceman . . . (Music magazines spill on the floors of Brian Murphy’s house.
There’s barely room on the kitchen table for the breakfast he eats at 4 p.m. he doesn’t go to sleep until 8 or 9 a.m. He collects things in the shape of frogs, and frogs spill along the shelves of his living room in ceramic and plastic and wood. A frog quilt spills off his bed. CDs spill out on top of the thou sands of albums kept in the boxes in his basement. Books spill on his desk. Words spill out of Brian Murphy.) First of all, above all, I’m an entertainer. I’ve got to make people feel good. That doesn’t mean that occasionally I can’t stop and make them think about something or make them angry about something that makes me angry. But at the same time as I’m entertaining, I’m kind of teaching. I’m taking all of this lore, all of this knowledge, all of this listening, and sifting them through this particular body and mind, and what comes out is some kind of synthesis of all this stuff. (May 24 is also the 50th birthday of Bob Dylan.
Above Murphy’s basement sanctuary, where he goes to turn on a record and read some science fiction and think about the connections that run through music, above that sanctuary is a sign: ‘The Most Famous Album Never Released: Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes.’ Basement. Tapes. Connections.) Dylan was the wordsmith. Dylan was the man, the person who opened the words up for everybody. In a sense, Bob Dylan made poetry acceptable to the masses. What a horrible way to have to put it. (Murphy rocks from leg to leg, from subject to subject. He loves music of all kinds, he hates people who put it into pigeonholes, he wants people to understand . . . There are only kinds of music another line I’m going to steal and it’s been attributed to Kurt Weill and it’s also been attributed to Igor Stavinsky there are two kinds of music, good music and bad music.
Take your pick. . to understand something called Sturgeon’s Law, a law that says that 90 per cent of everything is trash. Mur phy’s Corollary puts Brian Murphy that at 95 per cent. So you shouldn’t be surprised … – -J Pop music is banal and all of those things, but! lot of it more than you realize is great music. It can move you. “I’d be surprised if a lot of pop music is bad- ‘ A lot of everything is bad. But when it’s good; -” we just ask Brian Murphy.) . Part of what I try to do is I go through life trying to find these perfect records. To me the ultimate compliment about a piece of music, no matter what its genre, is it makes you feel good to be alive.
CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada18 May 1991, Sat • Page 51