Saturday, June 01, 2013

Remembering Mike Brady


I was introduced to Mike Brady in the fall of 1963 shortly after I arrived at Indiana State College (now University) to begin my freshman year.

The introduction was made by Dave Johnson, a fellow Delphi Oracle, who was beginning his sophomore year and was eager to see to my orientation. He also brady001took me on a tour of the Terre Haute red light district on my first night on campus.

Dave was a drummer with jazz inclinations and Mike was the quintessential jazz hipster, given to noodling on “air saxophone” with little or no prompting. Brady was also a perceptive young man and declared me a “sleeper.” (From the Urban Dictionary: Sleeper - Outwardly common looking item, that possesses something special or unique inside.)

He played gigs on and off campus with other student musicians including David Darling, a cellist and composer who won the 2010 Grammy for Best New Age Album.

Mike was a graduate of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. I lost track of him after my freshman year and didn’t see him again until I ran into him while covering the Indiana State Fair for The Indianapolis News in the early 1970s. He was playing with a rock band at the fair, which surprised me because I never expected him to forsake jazz and “go commercial.”

I’ve often wondered what became of him and did an Internet search yesterday. I found he played with an Indianapolis bar band called Chooch and the Enchanters. An email query to Jim “Chooch” Kennedy confirmed we were talking about the same Mike Brady.

“Michael passed away several years ago from a heart attack in  his sleep. He was a great musician and friend {although we got in to it once in awhile}. No one taught me more about music and other things than Mike,” Chooch said.

I can’t say I knew him well, but I can say I knew him well enough to know he was one of a kind.


At one point, several of us bought cap-firing Mattell submachine guns. Here’s a shot of Mike menacing one of the guys in his Sandison Hall dorm.

Sadly, Dave Johnson is gone too. He died a couple of years ago of cancer in Farmington, N.M.

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