Radio Daze : 9 – Kage

I honestly don’t remember how I came across Kage. Kage was a local band, based in NoVA of the greater Washington DC music scene. I saw them at The Bayou a number of times. They were unsigned, but pretty strong on the local scene. In 1993 Kage won the WAMA (Washington Area Music Association) award for Best Metal Artist/Group. Frontman, singer, guitarist, songwriter Jeff Brasfield won Best Metal Vocalist 1993 & 1994.

When I first met them the band was Jeff (lead singer, guitarist, songwriter), Alex Thorne (drums), David Groves (guitar), Mike Groves (bass). Eventually the Groves brothers left and Gary Jordan (bass) and Jeff Mortimer (guitar) stepped in. State of Mind was good for what it was. Shadow of Faith was a more developed album, tho I admit not liking it as much as State. What I really liked was a cassette EP they did where they debuted recordings of: The Chosen, Back Against the Wall, Fight to be Free, Stained Glass, and the cover of The Dead Kennedy’s Too Drunk to Fuck. They included that EP on the tail end of Shadow, and that remains my favorite of their discography.

There were silly things, like the records were released on Egak Records (Egak… Kage spelled backwards… get it?). Or the live show favorite, “You Bitch” – always great for audience participation. 

I saw them a lot live. It was really cool to follow and support them in this way because I got to see songs evolve. I think I first heard the EP songs live. I got to see the stage schtick they did. They knew how to put on a good show. Jeff having this crazy-long hair and whipping it around made for quite a visual (the bridge parts around the solo in Talkin Trash)! They also were still kids and just having fun! It wasn’t a stuffy show at all – very fun atmosphere.

One night at The Bayou, Morty’s girlfriend (I guess that’s what she was?) couldn’t get in because age vs. bar. They were asking me if I could drive her home. I was willing to do so, but in the end something else got worked out and I didn’t have to (and got to see the show).

I got to know Jeff a bit. One precious memory I have is a call I received from his mom, Nancy. You have to know that Nancy wasn’t just Jeff’s mom, but she also managed the band. Nancy Ford, because Nancy Brasfield – “your mom manages the band?!!” – isn’t cool, as she explained it to me. 😄. She was a warm, loving, and supportive person. She called me one day and invited me over to the house for Jeff’s birthday. I was surprised to have been invited, and I went and had a marvelous time. I’ll always cherish how much love Nancy gave.

When my metal show on WXJM was doing well in late night, I had… alas, I don’t remember exactly what I called it, but it was pitting two songs against each other and callers voted on the better one. One night Jeff and Alex came down and guested on the whole show. And over time, Kage’s Darkness Descends was so successful at winning week after week I had to retire it.

I wish the band was able to make it bigger. I recall being at some small Washington-area music convention thing. Cheryl Valentine, who was the Mercury radio rep, was there so I went to the thing so I could say hello. I got Jeff with her and recall watching Jeff talk with her and Cheryl politely taking a State of Mind CD. But despite not making it bigger, I’d like to think they made it well. I had a great time, and I do believe they did too.

Thank you Jeff.