Sad end: Harvey rocked East Coast
The execution-style murder of a Richmond family on New Year's Day shocked not only the capital city but also the rest of Virginia and the music world. Bryan Harvey, slain with his wife and two daughters, was a singer-guitarist whose power-pop band The Dads rocked the 1980s college scene.
"It was a much more vibrant college band scene back then," says Mark Roebuck. "The drinking age was 18, and bands would travel up and down the east coast."
On big college weekends, Roebuck's Charlottesville-based band, The Deal, would often be playing a block or two from the Richmond-based Dads. "I found them to be an intimidating presence," says Roebuck.
The Dads won a CBS record deal in 1984, but broke up shortly after release of their self-titled album.
In the 1990s, Harvey partnered with drummer Johnny Hott in House of Freaks and in Gutterball, which featured former Dream Syndicate frontman Steve Wynn. While neither project found a wide audience, both won acclaim from critics and fellow musicians.
"The first time I saw him play was his band Gutterball in New York about 10 years ago," says Shannon Worrell. "He was just an amazing guitar player– really loud and beautiful, a wall of sound."
Worrell ended up collaborating with Harvey on two albums of her own, Lucky Shoe (with Kristin Asbury) and The Moviegoer.
"He could play everything from Hawaiian music to Dinosaur Jr.'s guitar," says Worrell. "He just lived inside the whole 20th century of music with his guitar."
At press time, the slayings are unsolved. "It's just a horror," Roebuck says. "He was a great musician and a great songwriter."
Bryan Harvey in 1984
FILE PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER
Kristin Asbury and Bryan Harvey in the mid 1990s
PHOTO COURTESY SHANNON WORRELL