Monday, January 4, 2010

Dean Dies

There are some sad people at Carnegie. Dean Obrol, a longtime musician in the Carnegie Music Program, has died. Dean wasn't a drug or alcohol abuser, so his death came as a surprise to Carnegie members. He was found in his apartment in a social housing building on Hastings.

Dean had worked in a fish clearing house in the past, and now was often seen playing his guitar at Carnegie or sitting in Waves coffee shop surfing the net on his laptop. He was always eager to get paid gigs playing at events in the Carnegie theatre.

Some musicians and other Carnegie members had known him for over two decades.

He was born July 25, 1954 and died Dec. 3, 2009. He was 55.

A couple of months ago, Dean was saying that he regularly bought multi-vitamins on sale at one of the large natural food stores downtown. "So I'm covered", he said. Looks like he wasn't covered.


Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad he was able to surf that net at Waves.

Rachel Davis said...

And I'm glad I knew him.
Dean was, and the "was" is very hard to write, a good person and an amazing musician.

He was not easy to get to know, throughout the decades that I knew him I always wished he'd loosen up more, musically, and with himself, but I've shared so very many times of musical bliss with him, and so have literally hundreds of people in the DTES through the years. His acumen was astounding, and his enthusiasm catching.

He nurtured the talent of SO many many nascent musicians, me among them. Acting as their live kareoke person with someone, he could play almost any tune they named and though he steadfastly refused to sing lead on most all of them, he could prompt on all the lyrics and call out all the chords. He carried these sheafs of loose unlined paper covered in his beautiful but miniscule writing ( a hand writing I somehow always associated with his slight accent and it's implied european background) containing the words and chords for four or more songs to a page. Dean knew songs that I knew that No One else I've met in my life knew. It's like the last speaker of my tiny language died.
His natural ability to harmonize just grew and grew through the years, and his range was so high, it would blow me away. The last music we were making together was just so incredible.....he could harmonize straight through a jazz song with me. Really, really, sweet high sounds, staying right with me all the way through. Quite a feat. I was so impressed.

I have originals that Dean used to play with me a lot through the years....His lead guitar for those songs was always so tasteful and subtle and somehow exotic. It hurts a lot to know I won't hear those leads breaks again, won't hear his wry asides, and bizarre satire songs. I can't mine his encyclopediac knowledge of Beatles tunes. with
all his musical knowledge...I'm glad he was the kind of guy who shares it with others because it does so much good, and he had so much. He was very, very, good

He had an unusual bent for disco and would suddenly lean forward with pursed lips in his chair while you were on stage ( he almost always sat, no matter what was going on) and start driving into the beat of "Bille Jean" and sort of dare you to start singing it spontaneously. That, or "Heart of Glass".
The songs he loved, he loved absolutely, and would make me sing all the time. The songs he didn't like, well, the passive aggressive side of him would come out, and he'd suddenly have to tune for five minutes or more...That was a side of Dean we always knew, the one where he made us wait interminably for him.... to start a song.... adjust the amp.....or arrive for rehearsal. But it occurred me today, as I played a song we used to do together a lot, if you want to make music with Dean now, you don't have to wait for him anymore, he is with you when you think of him.
I am so grateful to have known him.
Thanks Dean, for your help, you did help so much, Very happy trails to you, until we meet again,

Earle Peach said...

Beautifully said. Dean was a prince among musicians, unforgettable

Anonymous said...

he did not die jan 3rd he was found jan 3rd. he was always at carnegie Christmas gigs with mike r. brian chris carl rosetta earle nancy many others and myself. he will be missed. jack meoff.

reliable sources said...


"he did not die jan 3rd he was found jan 3rd"

Nowhere in the post did I say Dean died Jan. 3; I said he died Dec. 3. The Downtown Eastside Enquirer was given a photocopy of the notice posted at Carnegie announcing that Dean had died and that he had lived from July 25, 1954 - Dec. 3, 2009.

Some of Dean's friends had become concerned over the past several weeks as they had not seen him for some time. I was even asked, around Christmas time, whether I had seen Dean.

A couple of his friends from Carnegie went to his apartment building once or twice and eventually learned from the manager that he had died, that he had been found in his room.

Anonymous said...

Do the other staff at Carnegie know about you and your blog?

reliable sources said...


"Do the other staff at Carnegie know about you and your blog?"

Yes, they know. Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty and staff [CUPE] were persecuting people they thought were involved. CUPE supported that persecution. One Carnegie member, Bill Simpson, was literally barred from Carnegie Center for daring to have a website which carried a link to the blog. Carnegie staff and management were criticized for this activity and even questioned by CBC radio.

Now Carnegie management and staff use a more subtle means of getting rid of people they believe have talked to bloggers. One woman tells me that she has been driven out of the Centre since allowing bloggers to publicize the fact that she had been barred from the Carnegie Lounge for talking back to a notoriously abusive coffee seller. (That reminds me, I should post an update on her case.)

There is a frightening police state environment at Carnegie. Carnegie management and staff are "cash addicts" and discourage blogging on the part of members, presumably because it contradicts the carefully crafted messages they send to taxpayers through the mainstream media in order to keep the guilt and the cash flowing.

Mayor Robertson knows about the chronic abuses at Carnegie but won't stand up to the abusers because it would mean criticizing CUPE members; CUPE helped get him elected.

Anonymous said...

Soooooo, when you are at work (at the Carnegie), I guess you get quite a chuckle at the rest of the staff not knowing who you are eh?


Anonymous said...

yeah, that was my take on the sentence "Do the Other staff know...." too.
An excellent scenario.
R.S. is probably Staff, and just got tricked into revealing that fact!
I think the Carnegie should start looking amongst themselves for the infamous DTES blogger, they should fire themselves one by one on suspicion of being the author of the DTES Enquirer!

Starting at the bottom with front desk, working their way through security, skipping Skip because he's just not smart enough. Then, as the blog marches on and they see the culprit is still at large, they'll start moving up the ladder. First to go will be
Colleen, then Rika, moving on up to Dan, finally Ethel will be all alone, feeling safe, but wondering if she didn't cut off her own nose to spite her face!!

Anonymous said...

In fact, Ethel is the blogger!
Think about it......

The Downtown Eastside Enquirer and Ethel showed up around the same time.......

What would she have to gain? Plenty!!
She can go to the City and show them the terrible nasty public conditions she has to work under and make them grateful that they have her to deal with this totally unmanageable situation. making herself un-fireable no matter what atrocities she commits.

She can create an atmosphere of fear for the Establishment, and then be the "G0-To" Girl to fix it.
Everyone knows that when security is threatened, it's okay to throw out the Civil Rights, and keep DESPOTS in control......

By the way I notice Bill Simpson no longer links to your Blog on his Website, Timetender. So there is no longer any flimsy excuse what so ever to bar him whatsoever. A**holes. Idiots. Yeah I mean you, Danny Boy, Ethel, etc.....Grow up, and let Bill back in, and stop being laughably stupid and paranoid.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't there be a new post started for these topics, isn't this about dean?

reliable sources said...

A memorial will be held for Dean at Carnegie Centre. I'm not sure on what date. Two of his friends have mentioned it.

Dean's accent used to make me wonder where he was originally from. Last night, one of his friends said that Dean had told him he was from the former Yugoslavia.

Rachel Davis said...

The memorial for dean will be March 3rd, says a notice on the front board.

reliable sources said...

I saw a notice at Carnegie. The memorial will be at 7 p.m. on March 3rd at Carnegie Centre.