I've been giving a lot of thought over the past couple of days as to what I should write, if anything at all. Looking back on some old photos and thinking back to the days when we were inseparable, it really stuck me how big a part of my life Adrian was in those days. Though we have drifted further apart as the years went on, I moved away from Toronto, then he moved to New York; it can not be denied that Adrian was a big influence in my life.
As with most people who knew Adrian, I had first read his work long before I knew him in person. Back in my middle teens -- circa the ninth and tenth grade -- as my true metal self began to unfold I had a voracious appetite for anything metal. Whether it was rushing home from school to catch every episode of the Power Hour and later the Power 30 or anxiously waiting around the record store in the Sheridan Mall for the next issue of M.E.A.T. Magazine to be released, I dove into this world head first.
It's hard to remember exactly where and when I met Adrian, but I do know it was at a show downtown and I know it was a matter of me picking him and Drew Masters out of a crowd and sheepishly introducing myself as "your biggest fan!".
Over the next few months, I would run into him at every show and we were instant pals. That's how it was with Adrian, he befriended everyone and would bend over backwards for anyone, to a fault.
During that time, he introduced me to all sorts of different music and live venues. For a kid of sixteen, it was a bold new world, a magical time that I haven't thought about in many years: Going to the Gasworks and getting in despite being 3 years underage. Making sure we went to EVERY show Mundane ever played in the city. Going to see Monster Voodoo Machine a bunch of times and hanging out with Adam and the band. Watching Tchort and the Family Mantis play and chilling with Eric and Ryan. Seeing Bif Naked at the Gasworks and laughing at Adrian's insane crush on her. Seeing Marilyn Manson at the Opera House three times in six months, years before anyone knew who they were, going backstage at the Amphitheatre to watch Adrian interview Megadeth... Korn, White Zombie, Napalm Death, Obituary... The Rivoli, The 360, Lee's Palace, The Generator, The Big Bop, The Gasworks, The Horseshoe, The Opera House. That was my life for most of my teenage years, going to shows with Adrian as his "plus one".
I'll never forget the excitement in Adrian's eyes when we hatched our plan to start an internet e-zine. In 1995, the Internet had barely been created by Al Gore, but it was full steam ahead for this computer nerd. I had already figured out how to scam myself a mailing list out of the University of Colorado and was releasing Loud Lyrix. A ridiculously embarrassing publication of mine where I would would publish the lyrics to my favourite tunes and write a little rant to intro them. Some of the songs I transcribed by ear, usually badly. It was a sad venture and one which Google refuses to let me forget.
After meeting Adrian, it didn't take long for him to offer up the idea of doing a REAL magazine in electronic form and using the mailing list to send it out to readers. Adrian wisely shot down my suggestion of naming it "The Brutal Bugle" and not long after, the name Chronicles of Chaos was born.
From humble beginnings, greatness was born. And it's safe to say that Adrian was always the driving force behind CoC. It was his contacts that got us started, it was his drive that got us interviews and into shows, it was his tireless writing that made up the bulk of the magazine. Our duo only lasted for the first issue. By the second issue Alain and Brian had joined forces with us, by the tenth issue Steve was on board. The eleventh brought Adam and it wasn't until the eighteenth issue that CoC's borders extended overseas to include Pedro.
Probably the funnest time I've ever had with Adrian was our road trip down to Pittsburgh for Buzzy Beck's wedding. This was in the summer of 1996. We had only known Buzzy and his band Filthboy for a few months and reviewed a couple of his demos and the guy invited us to his wedding! Adrian wouldn't take no for an answer, he was DETERMINED that we would storm the steel city and take no prisoners. It would take reams upon reams of electronic paper to relate all the stories of that week, but suffice it to say that we learned Yukon Jack was an evil whiskey, that family members don't appreciate Canadian strangers puking on the lawn of a wedding reception, and that greyhound buses take a fucking long time to get from point A to point B.
Another big road trip we took together was to the 1997 Milwaukee Metal Fest with Alain and Adam. We met up with Steve down there and had a blast the whole weekend. As usual, we all had a great time ripping on Adrian every chance we could, but he always was a good sport about it and loved the attention nevertheless. That's how Adrian was, it didn't matter if we were fighting or yelling at each other even five minutes before. He never held a grudge and he never harboured any ill will to anyone.
As the years went on, especially after I got married and moved to New Hampshire, we started to grow apart like all old friends eventually do. We'd see each other during my visits to Toronto (and even hit a show or two for old times sake), he'd come down for the New England metalfest. But as time went on, we saw less and less of each other and even our phone calls became less frequent. I guess I don't really know why that is. I just took Adrian for granted; I always knew he'd be there, a mere phone call away, ready to jump at any opportunity to talk and fill me in on the comings and goings of everyone we knew. Ready to do anything really, that's just the way he was.
Last week, I called him on Dec 2nd, two days after his birthday, to wish him belated tidings. We talked about his move back to Toronto, how he was living right near my parents, all his wedding plans with Renee. I can honestly say I was really looking forward to hooking up with him again after so much time had passed. Renee was going to be in town and I was eager to meet the love of his life.
So you imagine my shock and confusion at how this could've happened. It has taken this long to start to sink in, even if not fully. When I actually think about it, I find it hard to imagine life without Adrian there on the other side of the phone. As many can attest to, he was the hub of his social wheel. He somehow kept tabs on everyone and relished the opportunity to regale me with endless stories. I think that's what I'll miss most, not being able to talk to him ever again; I just thought he'd always be there.
Although I always knew this, it has become very plain in recent days just how many lives Adrian has touched. The outpouring of emotion on his Facebook page and his beloved Brave Board and elsewhere is overwhelming. Adrian's passing has brought together old friends and allowed many to share in their recollections of our time together with him. There will be a memorial in Adrian's honour at his favourite venue (and mine) The Opera House, in Toronto, on January 17. I hope to be there to share my Adrian stories with anyone who will listen.
Cheers to you Adrian, I'll cherish every memory.
:Adrian Bromley made you feel like you were the one he was hoping to run into in a sold-out venue. Even if he had only recently met you, you were important. It came through in his compassion and thoughtfulness. He became the one you hoped to run into.
:Adrian Bromley was one of the most genuine, generous, good-hearted guys I've had the good luck to know. Without Adrian around, some really key times in my life would have been much less rewarding, a lot less hilarious, and a whole lot less fun. Mainly, though, I can't overemphasize just what an incredibly, incredibly nice person he was. I am very, very sad that our paths will not cross again.
:I consider myself blessed to have known Adrian Bromley. I have always aspired to his heights of generosity, thoughtfulness and sense of optimism. His boundless energy was infectious, his "Energizer" tag incredibly apt. His passion for music was undeniable and never-ending. Music, along with his family and friends, was his life. Both my work and personal time with Adrian over the years have made me a better person. Despite our occasional disagreements – and over nearly 15 years, there were a few – I always valued his insight and unique point of view. He was always a true friend, and he will be missed dearly.
Always full of energy and looking ahead to what came next, Adrian
Bromley was the kind of friend it was all-too-easy to take for
granted. You felt like he'd always be there, effervescent and eager to
talk - and until hearing of his death, I, for one, had never realised
just what a profound impact he had on my life. He helped me discover
Toronto, a city I came to love in a way I find hard to articulate. He
gave me confidence and encouragement, opened up a whole new world of
friends and possibility before my eyes, and made it all seem
effortless. As others have elaborated, he was generous and genuine,
good-hearted and hoot to spend time with. Like Gino, I will cherish
every memory of his company and look forward to reliving some with the
wide circle who knew him in the years and months to come. I am very
sad that I will not be able to attend his memorial in January, but
send my best wishes and will try to dredge up some of my best Bromley
stories for the occasion. There are probably millions out there in the
There are people in life you realize at the time will be instantly and perpetually important to you -- Adrian was one of those people to me. While our contact and conversations stretched back many months before actually meeting in person, Adrian and I developed a real kinship through our many Milwaukee Metalfest adventures together. Among the throngs of fantastic memories I have of Adrian, one that stands out when reminiscing of the Metalfest - his voracious enthusiasm for vinyl, on par with nothing ever witnessed before or since. In politics, people of Adrian's caliber are referred to as "sleepers" -- disarming personalities making everyone feel at ease and comfortable, but all the while with authoritative knowledge and influential contacts surreptitiously existing under the surface. Adrian never met a stranger. He was my friend. I am a better person for having known this kindhearted soul. You will be missed beyond my abilities to explain, my brother.
"Sleep tight my friend, you're in the arms of God." -- Corrosion of Conformity
:As anyone who knows me would attest, you'd be able to count the occasions on one hand where I'm absolutely stumped for something to say. Unfortunately today is one such instance, and for all the wrong reasons. A man who embodied practically everything that was good and positive about metal music has passed on long before his time.
While I never had the pleasure of knowing him personally, beyond the odd email exchange and phone call, growing up in South Africa over a decade ago meant that my frame of reference when it came to discovering new bands consisted out of German Nuclear Blast catalogues and, of course, Chronicles of Chaos. Being a fan of this site long before I actually started writing for it, I always felt a special kinship for Adrian. He was one of the few critics whose opinion I would trust implicitly, and I can't begin to list how many bands he turned me on to. Moreover, it was his style and refreshingly unapologetic love for this music, that lit the fire under my ass and spurred me on to start writing myself.
Some may argue that wasn't neccessarily a good thing, but for all the opportunities and excitement it's brought me since, I can't help but be indebted to him -- proof positive that Adrian's influence and ultimately his legacy stretches beyond the loved ones he leaves behind.
on behalf of the CoC staff
:Many of the CoC staff members, especially the European ones, only ever knew Adrian through e-mail or phone. Yet reading what those who knew him best wrote above, it's still somehow easy to relate to each and every sentence. Many of Adrian's qualities are perfectly recounted there, and all I feel apt to add is that he was more than willing to share them instantly, even with those he never met in person, and without the expectation of receiving something in return -- other than perhaps the friendship of those who were fortunate to know him.