Some very sad news came across my twitter feed yesterday. Brad Baker, the main sound guy at our beloved little rock club The End, passed away in his extended stay hotel room in the Super 8 on Spence Lane on Friday, August 31st. According to the Scene, he had been suffering from sleep apnea, which I know can cause a host of issues including heart and lung problems. He had also been suffering from other health problems the past few years from what I could tell. I, just like most musicians that have played The End, was initially confused and a little freaked out by his barky, fast way of talking, but I quickly realized that he really knew his shit and was actually a pretty nice guy. The sound quality of shows at The End both for the audience and for the band onstage was always great when he was working. He had a weird sense of humor and if you played there often, you eventually learned to “speak Brad” and not have to say “huh?” when he spoke to you. He also had a signature trick where right before the band onstage started, he would fade up the house music to blaring for just a split second and then cut it off. It took me a while realize why he did it, but it really did the band a favor. It grabbed the attention of the crowd, stopping their conversations and giving the band a chance to start their set with the crowd’s full attention.

My friend Jesse Baker, who also worked as a sound guy at The End, posted this video of Brad fronting a cover band in 1991. I really wish I’d seen this before his passing. No one really knows the details of his past but the Scene┬áreported that he had stints as a touring crew member for REO Speedwagon and Chicago, as well as plenty of other concert production endeavors. But apparently he was also one incredibly badass singer in Hotel Bill & The Incidentals:

Brad was quite a character and in his passing we’ve lost a very special part of the Nashville rock community. Rest in peace Brad, we will miss you dearly.

I don’t usually post more than once a day, but this bit of breaking news needs posting because it’s a huge development in the Nashville rock scene. I just read on Nashville Cream that the Kings of Leon have entered into a new type of “creative deal” with Bug Music which allows them to “sign and develop” new artists. Their first signing? The Features. As I said in a comment on the Cream, if all were right in the world this arrangement would be the other way around. The press release from KOL’s website claims the Features have a decade of songs and touring under their belt. It’s actually 15 years. The band first formed in Sparta, TN when Matt Pelham joined forces with Roger Dabbs. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great thing for The Features and I’m very happy that this happened. I just hope it doesn’t end the way their last label experience did. But this definitely seems to be a whole different beast… mainly because it’s being brokered by another band, not a bunch of label suits.