“There is one man that has been in the Chic Organization for many years. His name is Terry Brauer. He was the super glue in this organization. A true professional, the giver of true words, whether you liked it or not, a friend and brother to us all and a man that we are all so proud to have known” Ralph Rolle, Chic Drummer.

Terry on his way to rehearsal hall with The Hitmaker

Walking to rehearsal hall with The Hitmaker and gear

Terry Brauer worked behind Nile Rodgers & Chic as his Guitar Technician, making sure his instrument was technically sound for performing. That’s the official job description, having known Terry for about ten years, he did a lot more. He was in charge of Nile’s guitars, a few hundreds of them stored in a warehouse, all ready to be played. The guitar demanding the most attention from Terry was an old 1956 Fender Stratocaster called The Hitmaker. According to Nile Rodgers, that guitar had played on more than 2 billion dollars worth of music. A big responsibility, it never left Terry’s sight when on tour, always ready for his boss to play it. His loyalty and perseverance went beyond the guitar. He’d been refused to board planes because guitars are not hand luggage, harassed by manic stage managers and nearly electrocuted at a snow drenched concert. He’d take the hit to protect the guitar and the boss. Even though he called Nile Rodgers “The Boss” they were close, they been through a lot together. Too many planes, cities and stages. Fans managers and superstars. He rarely complained but would state the obvious. “Hey stage manager, the band needs water for the show!” This is just one tiny example illustrating Terry Brauer, The Hero Behind The Legend.

Although Terry did not perform with the Chic on stage, he spent more time there than the musicians. Present well before and after the shows. He also was a musician, and a good one, Nile will confirm, “My man can play!” as Terry would tune up The Hitmaker at rehearsals. He was in a popular Long Island rock band in his day, so he’d break into 70s & 80s rock classics, rip a couple of solos and rock riffs then plunge into one of Nile’s grooves. He was just making sure Nile’s Stratocaster could hit anywhere form rock hard to a luscious strum. Terry was a rocker at heart but had music in his soul. First on stage and last to leave, he’d walk miles every night chasing wires, connections and guitars, as well as snapping photos with Nile’s camera and giving away guitar picks to the public. He would carry the priceless guitar on his back returning to the hotel, cigarette in hand while the others would be at the after parties, dinner or in hotel rooms.

Keeping his finger on the old Fender amplifier

Keeping his finger on the pulse of the old Fender amplifier

Terry's ready to hand off The Hitmaker

Terry’s ready to hand off The Hitmaker

Terry's always close to Nile and The Hitmaker

Always close to Nile and The Hitmaker

Other job, take pictures with Nile's camera

Other job, take pictures with Nile’s camera

Warming up The Hitmaker on a cold NYC evening

Warming up The Hitmaker on a cold NYC evening

Terry was not a star, nor glamorous. He would say, “People run to rock-stars, I run away from them”. He once told me he’d gotten a call from Kid Rock who was driving around Long Island with Nile. They were convinced they were near Terry’s house and wanted to visit him. “We’re coming over to your house motherfucker! We know you live around here! I’m in Nile’s Porsche what’s your address?”. Terry wanted none of them. “Dude, I’m having dinner with my in-laws, you can’t come over!” Can you imagine yourself having Kid Rock and Nile Rodgers show up at your house when your in-laws are visiting? What a way to impress the wife and her parents. It’s like a Realty TV scenario. They never came over. Terry had worked with Kid Rock, and working too close to real life tabloid stories was not his thing. That is when Terry told me he’d take a bullet for Nile, but Kid would get it. Nile did not mind that Terry worked for Kid, but Terry couldn’t wait for Nile and the Chic Organization to tell him to quit Kid Rock.

Terry keeping the Hitmaker warm at amfar charity concert

Terry keeping the Hitmaker warm at amfar charity concert

Terry was a simple and direct man, knew what he liked and wanted. Cheeseburger with no onions, black shorts and T-shirt, and his Tarboros, as he called them, which fucking killed him. In the past ten or so years I’ve known him, he’s never changed. Not his style or his physical look. I saw Terry at a charity function at Cipriani’s in New York City this past winter. It was a short easy set which was mostly playback, except for Nile and the singers. As usual he was there with The Hitmaker, made sure it worked and  set me up with the necessary credentials. We hung out a little then went out for a cigarette. In all the years I’ve know Terry, we went out to smoke a lot of butts. It was always great to hang out in some gloomy smoker friendly location, cigarettes in hand, and just talk shit together.  The last time Terry and I went for a smoke he offered “Wanna Tarboro?” and I declined because I had an E-cigarette. “Try it?” I asked. The man knows what he doesn’t want, an e-cig was clearly not wanted. I follow Terry back into the plush tuxedo affair, making our way through designer gowns and diamonds, he wore black jeans tonight as the freezing snow littered Manhattan. His step quick and confident, as we make our way backstage to whatever food was catered for band and crew. Moments later, the boss was onstage, the DJ fucked up on the play-back, but the guitar played fine, and Nile bounced into the track perfectly. Terry looked and shrugged “Whatevah!”

We gave each other a big hug the last time we saw each other. His impeccable teeth grinning under his thick mustache, signature “Chic Crew” hat on his head, and his unchanged look for all the years I’ve known him assured me I’d see him soon. September 8, 2014 I learn of my friend’s death. I will personally miss our tar and nicotine flavored conversations. And I’m confident that everyone who knew Terry will miss his professional zeal, his relentless loyalty, and having a good laugh at his blunt sense of humor. You will be missed Terry Brauer, The Hero Behind The Legend.

Terry & one of his good friend and concert promoter

Terry & one of his good friends and concert promoter. The last time I saw him.