R.I.P. Brother Tad Selzer

It is with deep sadness and regret that KFAI notes the passing of Brother Tad Selzer, host of The Rockhouse.  Though it was unexpected, Tad died peacefully on Wednesday, July 4th with loved ones near.    There will be a celebration of his life at The Turf Club in St. Paul at 2pm on Saturday, July 28th. 

His longtime on-air radio partner at KFAI, Miss Sara, will host the program in his honor on Wednesday, July 11th.  She posted this remembrance on the Rockhouse Facebook page:  

Although Brother Tad and I believed that we spoke with a single voice, both on the radio and on these pages, his contributions to the show were unique and extraordinary. Without him, his energy, and his passions, I am certain that the Rockhouse would not have been as long-lived as it’s been.

Brother Tad joined the Rockhouse in July 1992 after I had accepted a job with an employer that wasn’t willing to let me come in late once a week so I could continue hosting the Rockhouse on Thursday mornings. Hearing of my predicament, Brother Tad called me at home and asked if I would be interested to have him as a co-host. He could do the second half of the show; I could get to work on time; the perfect partnership was forged.

At that time, the Rockhouse was on the air from 6-9am on Thursdays. I soon realized that Brother Tad intended to bring the A-Game every week, in spite of the show’s early hour. He was a radio veteran, as a former announcer on KJHK in Lawrence, Kansas, and for every installment of the Rockhouse, every week, he showed up prepared – new records, new information, new stories from gigs he had seen. Wow, the man was unstoppable and we were all the beneficiaries.

Shortly after Brother Tad had joined the Rockhouse, Dalton Reed came to town for the first time. The next time Dalton was in town, he was a guest on our show, courtesy of Brother Tad. At one point, when we were off-mic, Brother Tad presented Dalton with a designer tie. Dalton was so pleased: “Brother Tad, this is a fine tie.” Later, I found out that Brother Tad had invited Dalton over to the house for dinner and to listen to records. It was thus, the following week that Brother Tad came to the show with a bag of Spinners records all ready to talk about Dalton Reed’s admiration for Spinners’ lead man Philippe Wynne.

Brother Tad’s friendship with Sam Myers was a particular source of joy on the show. Sam, in his own unique way, was something of a Blues polymath. He had been friends with Elmore James, had slept on pool tables in Jackson, MS when he had no place else to go, was an in-the pocket drummer, a big-voice Blues shouter, and a soulful Blues harp player, and was enjoying something of a renaissance with Anson Funderburgh’s band. Sam loved to tell stories and, once he knew who you were, he never forgot you. It was Sam who christened my partner Brother Tad and it was Sam who reminded Brother Tad, from the stage of the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis that “you might be a counselor, Brother Tad, but I’m your professor.” When Sam was diagnosed with throat cancer and came to Minneapolis for surgery, Brother Tad spent countless hours at his bedside and brought Sam a small fortune in old-time radio show recordings so Sam would have something to listen to during his convalescence.

We always referred to the Rockhouse as the audio amalgam but it was Brother Tad who really opened the aperture on the show and brought in the bulk of the new music. After a business trip to New York City in the mid-90s, he returned to the studio bearing recordings of his latest discovery, someone he had seen perform, who he was confident was amazing, and whose music had not previously been played in the Twin Cities. Sharon Jones.

The Rockhouse was also a particular beneficiary of some of the massive, single-artist/single-label retrospective box sets that came out over the years, thanks to Brother Tad. I’m not sure how he did it but he always managed to position himself as not being part of the lunatic fringe while freely indulging in, oh, the entire Motown singles collection, myriad versions of the “Tighten Up”, and the ne plus ultra of record love: the 23-disc Isley Brothers T-Neck collection. With Brother Tad at the helm, the Good Stuff was very good indeed.

With Brother Tad’s passing, the Rockhouse comes to an end. If you were one of our regular listeners over the years – a Rockhouse Resident – thank you. It has been our shared love to play music for you all these years. Our final broadcast will be Wednesday, July 11, 2-4PM Central, and will be dedicated to my beloved co-host. Miss Lolly Obeda, former host of The Sugar Shop, will be joining me for the afternoon. Please tune in if you’re able.


Miss Sara