Dave Breese - interview

DAVE BREESE                                                                                            1/18/18

0:00:03 Jim

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.

0:00:27 David

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].

0:01:27 David

[. . .] 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. [. . .]


0:02:16 David

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.

0:02:55 Jim

[. . .] What kind of stuff did you talk about?

0:03:00 David

[. . .] 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.

0:03:15 Jim

Did he talk about his mother at all because [. . .] she played music too, and apparently he got influenced by her?

0:03:24 David

[. . .] 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.

0:03:53 Jim

So, he was kind of known at that point.

0:03:57 David

Yea, in this area, sure, yea.

0:04:01 Robbie

Did you talk about who influenced his music or how he wrote his songs?

0:04:09 David

Too long ago for me to remember, sorry.


0:04:21 Robbie

 I just wondered if you knew [. . .] the story behind "Bessie the Heifer," or something like that.

0:04:25 David

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.

0:05:04 Jim

Did he play any music for you?

0:05:05 David

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.

0:05:15 Jim

Did you hear him on other occasions actually play, or on the radio, or…?

0:05:18 David

Nope. I don't remember seeing him play anywhere.

0:05:25 Robbie

You didn't go to the Rainbow or…?

0:05:28 David

Well, we did some back then, but I don't think when he was there. It's not like we followed him or anything. [. . .]

0:05:43 Jim

He played the fiddle, too. [. . .]

0:05:46 David

Yea, I don't remember talking too much about the fiddle.

0:05:49 Jim

Folk music because that was your interest, right?

0:05:51 David

Yea, at the time. More than [. . .] square dance music or those sorts of things.

[. . .]

0:06:14 David

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. [. . .]

0:06:42 Robbie

So, you went more than once.

0:06:45 David

Two or three times. [. . .]

0:06:48 Jim

[. . .] Your interest was [. . .] folk music, you said, pretty much.

0:06:51 David

Yea, primarily because I had listened to Delta Clay, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, those sorts of people, those sorts of groups.

0:07:02 Robbie

He didn't talk about how Pete Seeger influenced him?

0:07:04 David

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. [. . .]

0:07:15 Jim

Did you ever hear of this place called Camp Woodland…?

0:07:20 David

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 [. . .].  

0:07:51 Jim

[. . .] You've been involved with Music on the Delaware, Friends of Music [since] pretty early on.

0:08:01 David

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.

0:09:13 Jim

Well, [. . .] it's nice that  you have that connection with Grant, and here we are doing this Grant Rogers project. [. . .]