Jailhouse Rocker

A popular Denver musician goes from playing in bars to being behind them.

But Brian, whose drinking and drugging were on the rise, got into an onstage brawl with Jinns bassist Ludwig Hnatkowycz that made the executives reconsider their opinion. The Jinns were promptly dropped from the Warner Chappell roster; the Miller Band Network ultimately took the same course of action. The blame for these decisions was pinned on Brian, who was fired from the Jinns immediately after the Nashville scrap. As one friend puts it, "He had this need not to succeed."

On his own, Brian moved to Austin, but he didn't sever all ties with the band. When the Jinns played the Texas city in November 1991, he joined the players on stage. Jinns drummer Tim Kaesemacher recounted the scene in a diary of the trip excerpted in Westword in February 1992: "We go into 'Little Sister' and Brian sounds horrible...Brian sulks over to his girlfriend, exclaiming to her, 'I sucked,' then walks in front of the stage and says to Pete, 'I love you.' I feel like throwing up."

Shortly after returning to Denver in early 1993, Brian started adding to his rap sheet. That January he was accused of trying to knock over an Arby's restaurant using a knife. He subsequently was arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace, possession of dangerous drugs, petty larceny, damage to private property, two counts of assault and a shoplifting beef that took place on June 9, only three days before the first Early Morning Bandit heist. Despite this record, Brian avoided long stretches of jail time--and during a one-year period when he was forced to undergo regular, court-ordered drug testing, he reportedly stayed clean. When testing ended, though, Brian promptly tumbled off the wagon. Reliable sources say that crystal meth and cocaine (which he injected) were his narcotics of choice during the month when he allegedly committed his crimes.

Pete, who returned from an extended stay in Los Angeles the day after Brian's arrest, would not comment about his brother for this article. He continues to lead a version of the Jinns, playing before appreciative listeners in numerous area venues, but he's thus far been unable to recapture the career momentum that was snuffed out that night in Nashville. As for fans of Brian's, they're left with the words from "Take Your Place," which he wrote for The Jinns CD:

Well, you're good looking but not too smart
Don't try to tell me I broke your heart
So chip that paint off your face
And try to tell me no one can take your place.

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