The Backbeat flag is flying at half staff today. We just received some very sad news that the scene has lost another of our own, as Julian Anderson has passed away. A beloved and esteemed member of the scene for more than two decades, from his early days playing bass with Dick and the Chicks to being a founding member of the Dogs of Pleasure to, most recently, playing guitar in the World Famous Johnsons, Anderson has been a part of the scene longer than many folks can even remember. We'll have more updates, obviously, as they become available. In the meantime, our thoughts and sincere, heartfelt condolences go out to Julian's family, friends and other loved ones.
From Gretchen Anderson:
As you might know I knew and dated Julian in high school, and we didn't see or speak to each other for twenty years (I missed all of the Dick and the Chicks and Dogs of Pleasure days), but I was blessed to hear lots of stories of the debauchery.
I was, however, at Billy Jack's the very first time Julian played on stage. It was 1984, and his band "Herass" played covers of bands like the Scorpions, Motley Crue and AC/DC. We'd dated on and off for two years, and I didn't like the groupie thing (too many blondes), so i moved to Arizona. I got a letter from him with a picture (that is long since lost) of him with blonde hair telling me he was in a punk band called XEQ. Shortly after that, he joined Dick and the Chicks, and I completely lost track of him during the Dogs days.
I did hear about his accident on 12/28/2002 -- and since that time, I tried to find him through band members, but was unsuccessful until early 2008. We immediately became attached at the hip, and if he wasnt rehearsing -- or working at the coffee shop -- we were together. He had just started his project with Matt Davis. He'd just switched from bass to lead guitar, and that band started out as Old Man Stu, then Throbbing Pink Jesus and ultimately became the World Famous Johnsons.
In my mind, Julian was a true musician. He loved music, loved being on stage and truly loved playing. He'd done the "sex drugs and rock n roll" thing, so in the past few years, music was his art. He would play for hours and hours each day. He would take his guitar and cube amp on vacation with us. His other pastime was shopping for new gear and selling gear he no longer needed on Craigslist, always looking for that perfect pedal, amp or guitar. His biggest pet peeve was not rehearsing at least twice a week, and when one of his band members would cancel rehearsal....he JUST WANTED TO PLAY
He was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a precursor to Leukemia in August of 2010. He had chemotherapy treatments each month -- seven days in a row. Julian would play gigs, rehearse and work on recordings through chemotherapy, saying that playing made him feel better. The treatment was successful, and he was in remission (however did have to continue treatments) until this past July.
The only hope for a sustained remission of MDS is a stem cell transplant. And after the dirt bike accident, he'd had limited lung fuction. A stem cell transplant is a dangerous endeavor for the healthiest of people, and Julian had been given a 40 percent chance of survival and/or cure. It was our only hope.
On October 17th we packed up his Gibson SG and Cube Amp, and he was admitted to the University of Colorado Hospital. He played guitar regularly in his hospital room until he became gravely ill, and at times, even still, he would play. Julian developed severe complications to his lungs after the transplant and was not expected to ever recover fully.
He connected via music/love of guitar playing with one doctor in particular. Dr. Ajay Wagh would come into his room -- talk medicine for five minutes and Julian would show him cords/licks, and he Dr. Wagh would play for a half an hour every day for a couple of weeks. Dr Wagh tried all he could to get Julian home.
We knew he would not be with us long -- but he just wanted to go home....even if it was to die....ultimately, it was not possible. About two weeks before he died, Julian told me that he planned to give the SG to Dr Wagh. He wanted to have his name engraved on the pick guard for display in his office. After being placed on the ventilator and unable to speak -- Julain wrote Dr Wagh a note saying "Thank you for helping me with my dreams. The SG is yours. I know you will shred it!"
Julian died on December 27th 2012 of respiratory failure, a complication of a stem cell transplant. He was the consummate musician, a beautiful man who'd give anyone anything they ever needed -- and shared his love of life with everyone he met. Everyone was his friend. He would be proud to know that his death certificate states MUSICIAN/Guitar as his Occupation and Type of Business.
I was blessed to know and love him for more than thirty years and share the last five at this side.
Continue on for more photos of Julian.
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