Brad

I remember when we met
Surrounded by police
It was the one block in the city
Where protest was allowed
And they were there to keep the peace
You said hey my name is Brad
And I think we surely will
Mess up these meetings
These people will remember us
In this city on the hill

I’d see you at the rallies
Guitar on your knee
The calm inside the storm
From Prague to San Francisco
Miami to DC
We traveled on the same roads
You were everywhere
With a smile on your face
In the redwood forests
Or the streets of Tompkins Square

I’ll go down to the water
And with the morning dew
I will watch the sun rise
And I’ll smoke this joint for you

I can see you on a bicycle
Reclaiming the street
Digging up the asphalt
To plant a bandit garden
And grow some food to eat
I got an email from Quito
You said you’ve got to see this place
Everyone is rising up
Come and see the future
Of this lovely human race

Chorus

The last time that I saw you
It was in New York town
Sitting on a rooftop
Talking about relationships
And how to live them down
I heard you went down to Oaxaca
To join the battle that was there
I saw your picture in the paper
With a bullet in your chest
In your eyes a distant stare

Chorus

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Brad

“Brad” originally appeared on the 2009 CD, Ten Thousand Miles Away.

Brad Will, as he was known, was a good friend of mine. He grew up in Wisconsin. He lived in northern California, where he was involved with Redwood Summer. I met him after he had been living in New York City for many years. It was late September, 2000, and we were both in Prague to protest the IMF/World Bank summit that was taking place there then. After that, I saw Brad at loads of other demos in both Europe and North America. Over the next several years, most of the gigs I did in New York City, whether Brooklyn or Manhattan, were organized by Brad. He was involved with the squatters movement in New York, as well as groups like More Gardens and Indymedia. He was one of the few people I knew who traveled and went to protests internationally as much as I did. He traveled with other friends of mine throughout Latin America. There’s a wonderful documentary about him that focuses a lot on his time there. Brad Will was killed at the barricades in Oaxaca City, Mexico, with a camera in his hand, on October 27th, 2006. I was at a friend’s place in Connecticut, just about to go outside and soak in his hot tub and smoke a joint (both activities of which Brad would have approved), when a mutual friend of ours in New York called me and gave me the news. I knew right away who it was she was talking about, but I kept asking her “which Brad” to make sure it was really that one.

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