Last night Blackbreaks lost a brother. RIP James Misbrener.
James Misbrener never played with Blackbreaks. He did however leave his mark by representing in our first ever photo-shoot, way back in 2012, before we had even played our first gig. That’s James smelling the flowers, second from the left.
The story goes that back in 2012 the band finally felt it had enough songs to start playing live, and we somehow managed to talk our way into our first ever show for (very) early in the day at the Gearins hotel for Katoomba Winter Magic festival. The show was three months away, but the festival organisers were ramping up the badgering for all bands to urgently produce bios and pics for their looming publicity printing deadline.
All well and good so far. So we set up a lucky date with the only photographer we knew, who probably still owed Kerry money and favours from some smoky late night whiskey and poker fest, the (very freakin’) talented Nic Bezzina.
The only rather considerable problem was we hadn’t actually locked a drummer into the band line up yet. And we figured our first ever band pic was probably what we would need to use for the next year or so. So one of us, I can’t remember who (probably me) came up with the (not very) genius concept of getting a random stand in to make the band look like the four piece we had planned it to be.
James Misbrener was a musician who lived over the back fence from me in Katoomba. We’d been to a few of each others BBQ’s and he’d shown me his great little studio, we’d even had a jam or two. He was very musically talented, could play anything, produce well. Had been in a few bands, and been doing some cool kids music. So that day I caught his eye across the fence and as usual we got chatting, probably about the idea to one day put in a door in the fence so we could more easily access each others yards. I’m sure my landlord wouldn’t have minded too much :/.
So I eventually put my proposition to him, we needed a pretend drummer for a photo-shoot, was he interested in helping a brother out? He rightfully agreed it was a slightly wack idea, but what the hell, sounded like fun way to have a few beers. And so that was that, the day was fun, we just played some songs on the stereo, talked about music, sat around, smiled and snarled at the camera, and came up with some fine shots.
Around that time, or perhaps soon after, James was diagnosed with a little bastard of a thing called Motor Neurone Disease. Over time it slowly took its toll.
The last time I saw him was a few months back, he had the shits with his house bound existence, and got in his electric V8 wheelchair and drove it several kilometers including right across the Great Western Highway to get to a great party where his mates band was playing. Couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk, but could still party. The question he excitedly managed to spell out to me was how was my music going? I told him Blackbreaks had just finished the album, had some home made film-clips on the way, and a little Melbourne tour planned. His massive grin left no doubt to me that he was just wrapped to hear Blackbreaks had actually got it together to keep on creating.
Because ultimately that’s what the real life is all about isn’t it? Love, and creativity.
Hugs to Pete and Ava.
Donate to the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia
Chris Dubrow 2015.