Vintage Guitar Magazine
Robert “Cutter” Brandenburg met Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1970. The two southern
boys were about the same age, and their friendship blossomed in and around the
Texas music scene of the early ‘70s.
Brandenburg went on to become a roadie, of sorts, initially transporting members
of various bands to shows and helping set up equipment. As Uncle John Turner
notes in his foreword, “…all the bands had all mixed together with the most
consistent member being the roadie, Cutter.” Later, as playing in local bars
evolved to playing in the next town, then playing a few hundred miles away, and
finally to playing several states away, Cutter became more of a road manager. He
worked with Vaughan through his rise to stardom and on the first tours after his
initial album release. Cutter parted ways to get off the road, and settle with
his wife and young son.
His book is a 303-page homage to Stevie, and while the writing can be difficult
to read (it appears to have been dictated in a stream of consciousness), it is
filled with memories and love for Vaughan, for the Texas music scene and its
players, and of life on the road. There are also insider stores about touring,
record label deals, recording studios, and more. But if the oral history
approach to writing the book is hard on the reader, the photos make up for it.
By far the most intriguing part of the book is the massive 250-plus photo
A full 100 pages is dedicated to photos – many shot by Brandenburg – many of
Stevie Ray performing, writing and composing, recording, or just hanging out.
These include some of the earliest known photos of Vaughan, and nearly all are
published here for the first time. Among the other artists photographed are Jo
Jo Gunne, Johnny Winter, Ian Hunter, Andy Gibb, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Mason
Ruffner, and others. These are early photos that make up in authenticity and
interest what they lack in professional quality.
Brandenburg’s book is limited to 1,500 copies that include a CD from the Texas
The long, awkward title could've been recast as Mr. Cee's Wild Ride. Cutter
Brandenburg, better known to friends and associates as "Mr. Cee," jumped aboard
the Stevie Ray Vaughan train in the early days, first as friend and confidante,
then as roadie and confidante. Without focusing on guitar-wanking or philosophy
(except his own), Brandenburg paints an arresting portrait of life behind a
guitarist destined for the stars, only to see it explode like a supernova. You
Can't Stop a Comet is hardly a traditional read, however, delivered more like an
oral history that's been transcribed without much thought given to style or
grammar. That's okay; Cutter cops to that early on, and those rough edges give
the book its offbeat charm, much of it courtesy of the book's insider photos
(over 250 of them including a color section) and their lengthy captions, which
offer a very personal look from the backstage perch into SRV's life, as well as
Cutter's further adventures touring with Johnny Winter, Jo Jo Gunne, and others.
Make no mistake, though. This is Cutter's story and Cutter's life, and he tells
it like it is, right up to tales of his own club. Comet throws sparks with the
passionate exuberance of a fan and friend, and at $60 bucks a pop, it's
obviously for fans and friends. To them, it's worth every cent.
- Margaret Moser
S.R.V. Fan Club
You Can't Stop a Comet - March 2006. Author Robert "Cutter" Brandenburg. 318 pp
of text plus hundreds of photos.
I can't think of anything but praise for this offering by Cutter "Mr Cee"
Brandenburg, and it's not because he has been a friend of mine for five years.
One caveat - I have only read the first 15 pages of the text, but I did spend at
least TWO HOURS looking at the photos and reading the captions. After those 15
pages and hundreds of photos I can whole-heartedly recommend that you
immediately buy this book if you are a fan of Stevie.
For the truth-in-advertising part of the review, since this is an SRV site I
need to mention that the book isn't all about Stevie, but that's a good thing.
Not only do you get all of Cutter's recollections of years on and off the road
with Stevie, but insight into his life as a roadie for Ian Hunter, Andy Gibb and
others. So, this is the story of Mr. Cee, whose best friend and "employer" just
happened to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
I've been doing research on Stevie's life and career for 15 years, but no one
can relate the stories of the road better than someone who was there. Years ago,
before I did my books on Stevie, someone told me not to try to track down Cutter
to interview him for the fan club newsletter, because "he won't be cooperative."
I wish I could remember what fool told me that, because, to use Cee's favorite
word, it was just dang wrong! I will always be sorry that I was misled about
Cutter, and didn't find out what a good person and rich source of information he
is before I did my books - and Cee will never let me forget it!
If you have watched this site for long, or have known me long, you know I call
it as I see it (just see the review of the Dickerson book from the link to the
2000-2005 reviews below). I have known the book has been in production for a
long time, but I refused to actually recommend it until I had one in hand. Now I
do. The photos alone are worth the price of admission, and the first 15 pages
have already told me that I am going to have hours of enjoyment reading about
Cee, Stevie and the other artists.
- Craig Hopkins
All I can say is WOW!!! What a work of art and labor of love. U and your book
should definitely be inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. The history
you've preserved via pix, documents and your narrative is absolutely amazing and
essential in anyone's interest or understanding of that period of Texas/Texans'
music history, culture, lifestyle.
The way you write is fucking incredible! I'm reading and I'm right there with
the people you're talking about or talking to. I was right on is in my last
email when I said I couldn't wait to "experience" your book, and I truly am,
whether I know, know who, or don't know the
person/s you're writing about. Your narrative style reminds me of some of the
"Beat Generation" writers, especially Tom Wolfe and Ken Kesey. (Jeez I'm
starting to sound like a book critic. ) Anywayz, hands down, you and Keith
Ferguson are the best tellers of stories I've ever met.
And the CD you sent! What a bonus. I can only assume (by the title) that this is
music from bands that played at your Club. Let me know if I'm wrong. My fave is,
I think it's track 9, that band that went or want to go to Longview. Who are
these guys cuz they're rockin my world with that song? I wan't more of them.
Antyway, this email is turning into an epackage so I'll cut it short. I sent
Peggy an email yesterday and I hope to hear from her. Let me know how things are
I also want to buy another book, so I can give my friend Kim from LA an early
bday present. I wouldn't have gone to Antones's for Unc's benefit had it not
been for her and her circle of sobriety Peeps that I went with (for us "Newbies"
safety is in numbers). And if I hadn't gone to
Antone's, I wouldn't have reconnected with you or bought your beautemous book.
And yes Cutter, "bestest" is a word just becuz you said it. That's the true
beauty of language, it evolves and becomes by usage. If not, we'd still be
grunting and pointing.
Peace & Strength, Lizz
Mr. Cee, I just got home from Pascagoula, MS and walked in and seen my special
delivery had arrived - your book "You Cant Stop A Comet".
I been working at a Chevron Refinery since Jan. 14th, 2007. I've been a welding
inspector for 15 yrs. which required me to travel a lot. I stopped taking and
playing my guitar on the road because of motel complaints and airport BShit. I
played from 12 yrs. old till I was 19. I've been back at it for about a year
now, playing whenever I get the chance. Several months ago I bought all of
Stevie's DVDs I could find. I never got a chance to see Stevie live, its one of
the few regrets I have. So, I live with Stevie thru DVDs, radio, my guitar,
articles, and most of all soul to soul - blues. I can relate to his struggles
because IÂ am, slowly but surely, finding my way back to a sober drug free day.
I know its up to me, but I wouldn't have faced or ever talked about addiction if
it wasn't for Stevie's AA letter and Stevie's musical gift from god, I really do
believe that. I watch him over n over n over in awe of his passion and ability
to speak to me thru his lyrics and stage presence while hitting every lick with
such grace and style. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing your memories
you had with Stevie. Stevie knows.
.......LIFE BY THE DROP.......
Thank you, Dave
I just wanted to drop a line and thank you for the book. I started it yesterday
and absolutely love it. I always wanted a career in music but I have never been
able to become more than a half-ass guitar player. I can entertain myself and I
guess that is all that really matters. I do repair and modify tube amps for
friends and sometimes a couple of guitar shops when they get backed up. When you
mentioned in the book about how seeing Stevie the first time changed your life I
can relate. I first saw Stevie open for George Thoroughgood at the U of H here
in Houston. I was a huge Thoroughgood fan at the time and didn't really know
much about Stevie, although I had heard the name. Well, 5 minutes into Stevie's
set and I was covered in goose bumps and absolutely mesmerized. I had never
heard anyone or anything like that. To this day just thinking about it gives me
goose bumps. When Thoroughgood started his set it almost seemed dull and
lifeless by comparison, although it was really quite good. I was hooked on SRV
from then on. In the game room upstairs at our house I have posters, ticket
stubs and autographs from all the musicians that have inspired me over the
years. SRV, Frampton, Nugent, Zappa, Robben Ford, I have a piece of wood from
the house Muddy Waters was born in and things like that. When I am up there
jamming I can look up and think of all the great songs they have given us over
the years. The only thing missing is Stevie's autograph, but that will come one
day. I have the music he gave us and that is what it is really all about anyway.
Even my son (who is 17 years old and in special education) loves Stevie's music.
When I put on a CD or a song comes on the radio he will crank it up and say
"That's my Stevie". He has Texas Flood in his walkman about half of the time,
jamming away on air-guitar and singing out of key at the top of his lungs. He
truly loves Stevie's music. Sorry to ramble but I really do love the book and
want to thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us. When you
open your club in Austin I would love to come and hear some great music in a
great environment. I hope it all comes together for you.
Thanks Again, Todd