My Best Friend

Brian Golden

So the big news in the world of Brian Golden would today read something like this – man’s best friend gets engaged while on vacation in the Galapagos Island region.

I first met my best buddy Tozer during my latter years at NHS. We had several mutual friends, yet we never really connected until the topic of music popped up. He was already a good drummer in those days and throughout our nearly 20 year friendship we have pushed and prodded each other down our separate, though in many ways shared, musical paths. Our first jam however, remains firmly imbedded in my mind and is, by far, one of my favorite memories.

I was in my junior year at NHS when I found myself without a band for the first time since attending high school. I had recently departed a short-lived stint with my father, the Carpenter brothers and my dad’s cousin Tim. After a frustrating two weeks of contemplation – I had no idea where to go musically at this point – I convinced my father (a long-time bassist) to leave the band and join me for a proposed 3-piece ensemble which, I hoped, would include Tozer.

That following Monday, after a weekend of preparation with Dad as to what kind of music the band would be performing, I approached Tozer with the idea. I can’t remember his exact response but we agreed to spend our study hall period jamming in the high school auditorium, just to see if anything “clicked.”

After a humorous relocation of the school’s drum-set (there was a slight decline from the band room down to the auditorium in the music hallway back then, use your imagination) we were as ready as we could be, not really noticing that, for some reason, the curtains to the stage were closed.

What followed, in all likelihood, changed our two lives forever. With another best friend, Vischi, as witness, Tozer and I proceeded to blaze through a 30 to 45 minute jam inspired by the music of Hendrix, Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan and others of the blues-rock genre. It was all improvised, there were no words spoken, just two young high school musicians throwing caution to the wind and pushed to new limits by the other’s performance.

What we didn’t realize at the time – the approximately 100 fellow study hall students hanging out in the auditorium itself, forced there by the testing taking place in the cafeteria. We finished our little jam to the sound of this raucous group screaming, clapping and cheering. They had no idea who was behind the curtain making this music and it was obvious they didn’t care. We were flabbergasted to say the least and Happiness Hotel was born.

Since that day, Tozer and I have continued to seek perfection in our musical partnership. We’ve developed our own language in a way – Tozer instinctively knows where I’m going with the guitar, while at the same time, I know that he knows and vice versa. It’s the most amazing musical relationship I’ve ever experienced and we’ve been best friends ever since that day. It’s the most enduring friendship I’ve ever had.

So to Tozer and Renee, I couldn’t be happier about the engagement. The two of you are perfect for each other and I’m so excited for you. I’ve always known this day would come at some point or another and all I ask – don’t forget about your old friend and let’s set aside some time to jam. Good luck and I love you both.