Writing this physically hurts.
But this is the news I woke up to this morning. My best friend left me a voicemail at two a.m. saying that I’ll wake up to terrible news, and she was not understating it.
I met Bruce Nazarian in 2010 thanks to Facebook, when I was just starting out in graphic design. Then we actually started talking in the fallout of the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards and…hadn’t really stopped talking since. He was cheerful, wise, incredibly sarcastic and profane, and more than willing to pass on his encyclopedic knowledge of the music world.
If you’re ever into funk, and if you know who Was (Not Was) and the Automatix were, you know Bruce Nazarian. He was the guitarist on both.
He was a mainstay of Detroit funk, and a friend/webmaster/advisor/manager, an all-around maven of the contemporary jazz world. Few of us had not spoken to or met Bruce along the way. He was there for us all and always, always willing to lend a hand to whoever asked him.
He became the closest thing I had to a normal father figure the past five years. He taught me how to fight in this industry. He helped fill in the gaps of my knowledge of the Adobe suite. He taught me to always, always step back and think, knowing how impulsive I tend to be when I’m angry. He believed in me, which is the most important thing of all. He honestly, genuinely believed in me. He would always say, “I’m proud of you, kid”.
He tried his best to revive the Lemonade Weekend, which did not happen, and we spent countless hours running ideas back and forth. It’s a pity that the event folded before it took off; it would’ve been the sort of old-school celebration Bruce loved. I kept a majority of the notes, some of the phone numbers/idea lists/spreadsheets with break-even points… Everything I have ever needed to know about planning events, Bruce Nazarian taught me.
It feels like the ground just fell out under my feet this morning. He and I exchanged texts just last week. He told me he was thinking of me.
What we will do without him, I have no idea. He will be missed, and he will be remembered through the years.
In Memoriam, dear friend.
We miss you. We love you.