DAVE BREESE 1/18/18
This is Jim Haggerty. We're at Molto Espresso [. . .] for the Grant Rogers project with Robbie Jean Rice and David Brease. [. . .] David knew Grant Rogers a little bit in the past and so we're going to try to get some of his memories. So, thanks for taking this time and just give a little background. If you can, mention how you knew Grant and whatever else you want to talk about.
Sure. Well, I moved here in '74 for a job, and had always liked folk music. [. . .] I knew Jim Richardson [and] we got talking about folk music--this was probably 40 years ago now, in the mid seventies--and Jim mentioned Grant Rogers and had one or two of his albums back then. [. . .] Then I found out that Grant lived in Walton, or outside Walton, and I [. . .]picked up a couple of his albums. I think maybe back at the Big M back then, or whatever it was called at the time--they sold a little bit of everything. Yea, even [. . .] sold rifles [. . .] out of the office. Mclean's, that's what [it was called]. So, anyway, I found his number and gave him a call, and he said sure come on out and visit. So, I went out [. . .] over on the reservoir [to] Wakeman Brook [Road].
[. . .] He lived in, oh, it was either a trailer or a doublewide, [I] forget which, and [I] found it easily. [I] went in and sat down, I think it was in a rocking chair, and we just talked about his music. [. . .] I found him to be [. . .] (I had no idea what to expect) [. . .] extremely personable, very easy to like, very easy to get to know. I don't remember a lot of the specifics of the sorts of things we talked about, but I remember being, I don't know about surprisingly comfortable, but extremely comfortable, with him, and just a very homey, down to earth sort of guy, [. . .] like his music. [. . .]
Yea, I don't remember a lot of specifics, but [. . .] he laughed at himself a few times, I remember, 'cause he had kind of a hearty laugh, [is] my recollection. [. . .] [He was] just a very easy to like, easy to get to know [guy]. [I] said, could I come back sometime? He said, of course. [I] probably always wished I'd gotten to know him a little better, and wished I'd gone back more often, but, yea, just had a very nice time visiting. [. . .] Just visiting him in his home, it was just a nice time to sit down.
[. . .] What kind of stuff did you talk about?
[. . .] My recollection is he said he liked the guitar better than, I think he said he played the banjo too, but he liked the guitar more. [. . .] I don't remember a lot of specifics, but I think he talked about his family and family history with music.
Did he talk about his mother at all because [. . .] she played music too, and apparently he got influenced by her?
[. . .] I remember him saying things about his family. The specifics I'm a little short on. [. . .] I guess what [. . .] caught me [is that] I didn't know what to expect. To me he was an artist and had some albums out. So, at the time, for me that was a big deal because this was in the mid seventies and I was in my late twenties, so, it was quite a big deal for me because there he was right [in front of me] and I was in his house, no less, not just in front of him.
So, he was kind of known at that point.
Yea, in this area, sure, yea.
Did you talk about who influenced his music or how he wrote his songs?
Too long ago for me to remember, sorry.
I just wondered if you knew [. . .] the story behind "Bessie the Heifer," or something like that.
No. Well, if he told me, it's [. . .] long gone. [. . .] I guess what I remember is, well, I met him physically, obviously, but just [. . .] the comfort level that I had with him. [. . .] Not that there was anything specific about me, or me and him, it's just [that] I got the feeling that anybody he was with he was gonna just be innately comfort providing. [. . .] Very [much] like his music, I guess, if anything. You [could] say [that] his music was a reflection of his personal style, and he was just a very welcoming, comfortable, sort of person.
Did he play any music for you?
No, nope. [. . .] Which is surprising, but I guess I was just so taken with him at the time the music just sort of escaped me.
Did you hear him on other occasions actually play, or on the radio, or…?
Nope. I don't remember seeing him play anywhere.
You didn't go to the Rainbow or…?
Well, we did some back then, but I don't think when he was there. It's not like we followed him or anything. [. . .]
He played the fiddle, too. [. . .]
Yea, I don't remember talking too much about the fiddle.
Folk music because that was your interest, right?
Yea, at the time. More than [. . .] square dance music or those sorts of things.
[. . .]
He sat in the chair, and I want to say it was a rocking chair, but I remember going into the [. . .] house, and he was on the left, and I sat down across from him, and we just started talking. [. . .] I introduced myself, and at the time I was young and new to the area, just moved in here, and was always quite impressed that I had actually sat down with the guy. [. . .]
So, you went more than once.
Two or three times. [. . .]
[. . .] Your interest was [. . .] folk music, you said, pretty much.
Yea, primarily because I had listened to Delta Clay, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, those sorts of people, those sorts of groups.
He didn't talk about how Pete Seeger influenced him?
No because at the time I don't recall even remembering or realizing that he had been with Pete Seeger at all. [I] found that out much later. [. . .]
Did you ever hear of this place called Camp Woodland…?
No. At the time I didn't [. . .] realize how [. . .] large an area he had covered or was known. [. . .] At that point, 40 years ago, I had just assumed, incorrectly, obviously, that he was a Walton musician that had a following here and was good enough to have made an album or two at the time [. . .].
[. . .] You've been involved with Music on the Delaware, Friends of Music [since] pretty early on.
Yea, well, sometime back, I think it was Gary Orton, was changing jobs or doing something, and he was the fella that [. . .] was taking care of the, [. . .] among other things, the Oneonta poster distribution room. [. . .] I had worked with Jim [Richardson] for years and [. . .] had great respect for him, and he said, let's go to lunch sometime. [. . .] I knew something was up, and he asked me if I'd like to get involved. [. . .] I said, well, depends. [. . .] He said, well, we could use somebody to get the posters for the upcoming concert into the [. . .] Oneonta area. [. . .] I said, sure. [. . .] Then, I [. . .] think, [. . .] somebody else had been [. . .] distributing posters to the different members, and [. . .] so I took that over, too. [. . .] I just found the music great, and a great group of people, and MOD. [. . .] I [am] leaving the village board in a couple months [. . .] after a lot of years, but I would definitely stay with MOD.
Well, [. . .] it's nice that you have that connection with Grant, and here we are doing this Grant Rogers project. [. . .]