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How a Piece of Shit Sousaphone Player Became My Worst Enemy

Submitted by OathMeal at 2019-03-06 10:00:57 EST
Rating: 1.0 on 7 ratings (13 reviews) (Review this item) (V)

Ah, Denver.

Its sights. Its sounds. Its smells (mostly cannabis).

The Mile High City has long been considered a bastion of independence and forward thinking. It's where cowpokes in the olden times would travel to stock up for the harsh winters along the Rockies. It also ranks near the top on the list of American cities with the worst drivers.

Denver has a long history steeped in that tried-and-true American spirit of 'Frontierism', and it's always called to me as a place I knew I would end up, eventually.

I've been here for almost 12 years. In that time, I've made countless connections (including one with the beloved Flack), smoked untold heaps of the greenest pot the ground can produce, and been fortunate enough to become a relatively well-regarded musician.

But, one thing has happened to me since moving here that has grown into a nagging source of animosity where none existed before, at least not since my decade-old interactions with JayPeg. That one thing is a constituent member of a band of horn players that go by the name 'Brothers of Brass'.

Let me tell you the story of how a single sousaphone player named Khalil Ladd Simon - a convicted domestic abuser, financial fraudster, and Craigslist scammer - became my worst enemy. This is a story of street musicians, felony criminal activity, and a modern-day case of Bret-Dallas-Against-the-World.

Get comfy.


In November of 2018, the Denver Westword, a weekly print magazine, ran a cover story about the Brothers of Brass. You can read it for yourself, here:

https://www.westword.com/music/brothers-of-brass-challenge-rights-of-buskers-in-downtown-denver-11031626

This story was about how a band of horn-playing street performers were pissing off residents and pedestrians in Denver's downtown area. To be fair, it was also about how popular the band had become; as of today, the group has amassed over 4,000 likes on Facebook along with a fiercely loyal troupe of fans - fans that are now my adversaries by proxy.

I was included in the Westword story. You'll see my commentary mentioned next to a high-constrast photo of me looking like I needed to squeeze out a monument-sized poo.

Frankly, I think the magazine did a shit job of accurately depicting my beef with the BoB, and they left a few key facts out of the narrative. That's fine - I can't expect every journalist to conform to my exacting standards of Truth Representation.

I'm sharing this news clip with you to give you an idea of how this mess has been brought to a frothing boil, and how I now find myself at odds not just with a douchebag bottom-feeder of a human being, but with an entire subset of the Denver population.

This all started one cool, crisp evening in Denver back in 2016. I was playing my guitar in front of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, a notable venue for plays, ballets, and creative performances of all stripes. Just as I was easing into a groovy blues tune for the passers-by, I noticed a large, impending figure approaching me. I looked up to see a 6'4" black man staring at me with a look on his face that I can only describe as angry gorilla-esque.

His brow was furrowed, his arms were crossed, and he clearly had something to say to me.

So, I stopped playing my music, and I asked him, "Hey, man. What's up? Can I help you?"

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" was his response.

"I'm...playing guitar?"

"The fuck you are. Do you not see us over there?" he said, and he motioned to a group of six young men all standing around with brass instruments, each of them looking my way with a glare of discontent.

"Well, I see you there now. But, I mean, I've been playing here for half an hour. When did you guys decide to set up and play here? Just now?" I said.

"Dude, we play here *every* Friday night. This is our spot. And trust me, you don't want a war with us. We're the Brothers of Brass," he said.

With this, the man edged closer to me, leaned in, and made his presence an issue. He knew that he had the power of six dudes behind him (ha-ha buttsex), and what the hell was I going to do about it? At the time, I acknowledged that I was going to do absolutely nothing but acquiesce, because I didn't feel like getting jumped by a throng of angry trombonists.

Oh. And one sousaphonist. That's what the tall black guy played. The sousaphone.

Dude, it's a tuba. Stop calling it a sousaphone. Whatever. Dude plays a tuba. Moving on.

I decided that whoever this asshole was, it wasn't worth my time or energy to get in a fight with him. So, against my better judgment, I packed up my gear, and I moved to another street corner a solid half-mile away from where I was.

It's at this moment that Khalil Simon and the Brothers of Brass decided to wage an assault of subterfuge and harassment with the clear intent of forcing me out of downtown Denver. They followed me.

That's right - they followed me to the next street corner. Where I set up, they set up. I began to play, and then they began to play. Keep in mind that this band is composed of a tuba, two trombones, a clarinet, a saxophone, a snare drum, and a bass drum. This is essentially a marching band, and if you've ever been in close proximity to a marching band, you know just how fucking loud shit can get.

The sonic barrage that came from the Brothers of Brass that night - aimed squarely at me - was not at all unlike the 'shot heard 'round the world' of Revolutionary War lore. It was a gauntlet being thrown down, a stake in the sand. And so, I decided that this story needed to be told. I didn't want to be the only one who knew how territorial and disrespectful these guys were.

The next day, I took to the internet to share my story. I posted numerous threads on Reddit, one of which gained a ton of traction and brought some social justice warriors from out of the woodwork and into the YouTube limelight, where the Brothers of Brass' performance videos were thumbs-downed into oblivion.

People began commenting about the criminal nature of this band. There were allegations of the clarinet player brandishing his firearm on the street, and I was direct-messaged by one redditor in particular who keyed me into a series of interesting facts about the ape-like character that approached me that fateful night in 2016.

As it turns out, Khalil Simon, the all-hallowed tuba virtuoso, has a long history of scamming elderly people on Craigslist. He has outstanding warrants in two states, Georgia and Florida, both for financial fraud charges. Oh, and he has a history of beating women, one of them being a family member that took out a restraining order against him in 2015.

Now, I would have probably just let this story end with the Summoning of Angry Redditors. But, Khalil Simon and the Brothers of Brass were not happy with what had just happened, and so began a months-long campaign of harassing me, both in-person and online.

I would be playing on the street, and I would look up to see Khalil Simon filming me and hurling expletives at me during my performance.

I would start to receive threating phone calls from unlisted numbers.

I would begin receiving hateful YouTube comments seemingly out of nowhere, complete with threats like "We better not see you out in Denver again...watch your back, Bret Dallas." And on, and on.

This all culminated with the release of that Westword story that I referenced above. Since then, the Brothers of Brass have gone on to enjoy quite an impressive amount of fanfare. They've toured the country at least once, and they've made their way onto playbills with some pretty big names in the Denver music scene. You can imagine my chagrin at all this - all while I continue to pick at my pathetic six-string on the corners of the 16th Street Mall.

Now, it may seem like I'm feeling sorry for myself about all this. And, I'll admit, I did go through a phase of that. But, at this point, I'm using this experience as a tool for self-development.

In this world, there will always be self-righteous, violent thugs who take what they want without recompense. These individuals may even enjoy some level of personal success in their lives, even though their hearts are riddled with greed and malice.

Through all of it, I've chosen to maintain an attitude of gratitude. I am deeply grateful for my fans and for the people who realized that what the Brothers of Brass were doing was wrong. I am grateful to the City of Denver for embracing me as a creative force for good, not as a boisterous, obnoxious and imposing Caller of Brass-Fueled Cacophony.

Am I really taking the high road in saying all this? Or, am I just waxing infantile about what *I and I alone* perceive as a series of grave injustices? Who knows.

The next time you find yourself in Denver, take a walk downtown. Stop for a moment on a street corner and take note of what you hear. Is there a guitar being played somewhere, by a man who loves this city? Or is there a band of brass players pounding out a pop song cover for some easy adoration and a few five-spots?

If you happen to hear both at once, then you know the war rages on.

I'll see you on the streets. :)





bret_dallas-3.jpg
bret_dallas-3.jpg


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Submitted by monkeyswithguns at 2019-03-21 08:59:04 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

You do you dude, you do you.

Submitted by Fucking foul at 2019-03-08 17:38:54 EST (#)

That braindead fuck Watts is still giving interviews from prison. Talking about how he found Jesus and weeps to his dead wife's photo every night, like the inarticulate psychopath that he is. He'll probably kill himself when people stop giving a shit and forget about him.

Submitted by Flack at 2019-03-07 17:27:56 EST (#)

Submitted by Fucking foul at 2019-03-07 13:48:54 EST (#)

It's basically the weirdest murder case I've ever heard about. The whole thing seems like a hoax because of how braindead the killer was/is, and the wife's culty MLM shit adds a whole other level of wtf. Also every minute of their lives was documented on Facebook which is just about the creepiest thing I can imagine. I'm a little obsessed.

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Ladies, take note. This is what happens when you spend all your husband's money on shit you can;t afford and then document every detail of it on social media. You end up dead in a Colorado Oil field

Colorado: It's more than just weed, dude.

Submitted by Bestmate2 at 2019-03-07 15:57:36 EST (#)
Rating: 1

Liked the photo.

Submitted by Fucking foul at 2019-03-07 13:48:54 EST (#)

It's basically the weirdest murder case I've ever heard about. The whole thing seems like a hoax because of how braindead the killer was/is, and the wife's culty MLM shit adds a whole other level of wtf. Also every minute of their lives was documented on Facebook which is just about the creepiest thing I can imagine. I'm a little obsessed.

Submitted by Flack at 2019-03-07 12:16:15 EST (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by Fucking foul at 2019-03-06 18:04:58 EST (#)
Rating: 2

Found your Reddit UN. I love Reddit.

Good story, sorry those guys were such shitheads.

On an unrelated note - has the Watts murder case gotten a lot of media coverage out there? Such a weird, interesting case.
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Holy fucking shit, the Watts case is fucking nuts. Check it:

1. Dude marries some shrew that's all into MLM shit.
2. Shrew makes dude live lavish lifestyle they can't possible afford to keep up appearances for her her "customers" (i.e. nobody).
3. Shrew makes him do some MLM diet/cleanse and exercise shit to keep up appearances for (non-existent) customers even though they had to declare Chapter 11 because MLM doesn't fucking make you money.
4. Dude does it and gets fucking ripped.
5. Dude starts to pound mad strange because of it. He even fucks a couple guys.
6. Dude wants to leave shrew and kids to fuck strange more often.
7. Decides its a good idea to kill his wife and kids and bury them in an oil field so he can continue to pound mad strange.
8. Calls the cops, playing the sad widower angle.
9. LET'S THE COPS SEARCH HIS HOUSE because his brain is so polluted from all the MLM shit his wife made him use that it turned him into a homicidal retard.
10. Cops find evidence suggesting that he's the killer while searching his house (dumbass).
11. Entire Front Range of Colorado goes "wtf?"

Multi-Level Marketing: Not even once!

Submitted by OathMeal at 2019-03-06 22:26:15 EST (#)

FF - yup, the Watts case is kind of a big deal. I follow a lot of the developments on YouTube. That fucker is going to have quite a time in the slammer.

Submitted by Fucking foul at 2019-03-06 18:04:58 EST (#)
Rating: 2

Found your Reddit UN. I love Reddit.

Good story, sorry those guys were such shitheads.

On an unrelated note - has the Watts murder case gotten a lot of media coverage out there? Such a weird, interesting case.

Submitted by Doodles at 2019-03-06 17:41:56 EST (#)

Huh, this place still exists. Go figure.

I didn’t read this

Submitted by Flack at 2019-03-06 15:06:24 EST (#)
Rating: 2

Congrats on making it in Westword. Too bad it had to be about beef and not about your music. Best of luck.

Submitted by blackbear at 2019-03-06 15:06:23 EST (#)
Rating: 1

keep fighting the good fight.

Submitted by Murphy1844 at 2019-03-06 13:54:03 EST (#)

Your description of Denver reminds me of my experience in Portland, OR, circa 2005 + after.

The writing here is exceptional, IMO, but the topic is too much "First-World Problem," stinking. Dig deeper next time, keep writing from your heart, and pick a more interesting topic.

Murphy

Submitted by Dru M at 2019-03-06 12:35:50 EST (#)
Rating: -2

You are a fantasist


Marge: We're just going to have to cut down on luxuries.

Homer: Well, you know, we're always buying Maggie vaccinations for
diseases she doesn't even have.

Lisa's Pony