Did he ever tell you about the time he came home late from a gig in New York, blacked out and drove his car into the Connecticut River? Yeah, he swam out through the sunroof, walked through a field drenched in the October chill of New England, found a home with a light on and banged on the door until the people in the house called the cops. After they took him to the hospital and dried him off, he got a ride to his house in Hartford, snuck in through the window because he didn’t have his keys (they were in the submerged car twenty feet out into the current of the river, currently being towed out by two trucks), got dressed and went to Planet Of Sound Recording Studios downtown where he finished mixing the record he was working on with Prog Rock Hall Of Famer Tony Spada. Only after finishing the project did he tell Mr. Spada and his wife about what had happened before coming to the studio, and when they asked him in shock why he didn’t stay home, Brenner answered in typical fashion: “I felt fine, and I had work to do.”
Countless similar instances ranging various degrees of mayhem and brilliance spotted the incredible and unforgettable life of our good friend and lead guitarist Brenner Eugenides. He strove in all things not to be the best, but to be his best. This is why he is remembered as a teenager playing guitar for literally days on end, why his instructors beam at the sound of his name and recount moments of zen brilliance sprinkled with Calvin & Hobbes humor, why his bandmates weep hearing the few recordings that remain to remind us of his effortless musical mastery. As a friend, a family member, a musician, a professional and as a man, Brenner set the bar high for all around him and drove us all to be better, not because he told us to be but because we knew he wanted us to be.
At the end of the day, Brenner’s long time problem with managing his diabetes caught up with him. Never wanting to take a day off, Brenner pressed on with his vision, which was to soar. He didn’t seem to admit to himself that he, too, was human and needed rest and care. Three days before he left us he worked at a benefit show to help foreclosure victims keep their homes. Until the end Brenner never compromised his insane work ethic and his personal standard of excellence. All we can do in his wake is to play harder, live louder, and love longer. For those of us who knew him: remember that face he made the few times he was legitimately impressed, the devilish smile when he presented an impossible idea, how the air moved when he played that damn blue guitar. May we move the air so.
In tribute to our man, Broken Glow is hosting “Not Just A Pretty Face: Celebrating The Life And Times Of Brenner Eugenides” at Spike Hill (Williamsburg, BKNY) on Saturday April 28th. A night of Brooklyn musicians paying tribute to one of our finest, the event will be used to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes ResearchFoundation. This is an opportunity for anyone whose life Brenner touched in some way to pay your respects to a soundtrack of his friends in the music community. Performers include the inimitable Jim Earl, Chicks Throwing Bricks, The Golden Age Of Transit, Cousin Sleaze and Broken Glow, joined by the illustrious Jon Connors. Come dance with us and throw some tunes up to the man!