* A huge thanks to Pete for the idea - and to all the friends of Imminent who helped construct this post with their silly stories, happy wishes, and lovely musings on our extraordinary friend.
Well, dear chaps and ladies, it’s about damn time we put a post up here about our friend/colleague, Rich Larson. It’s Rich’s birthday this week, and a bit of a milestone one at that. Rich has been running this blog for a solid 18 months at least, and he’s been too humble to write a post about himself, despite our constant urging. So today, in all our gratitude that you have come into our lives, and in all the glory you deserve, Rich, we raise our glasses and celebrate you!
“‘CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE?’”
*insert wonderful introduction to the musician(s) gracing our taproom*
“‘THIS IS A TIP JAR. THIS IS MONEY.’” Most of you get the picture.
Rich Larson is a force of nature to say the least. The first time we met, I just got back to Minnesota for my senior year and he told me we hit the lottery for work. Damn was he right. Thank you, sir, for helping Imminent feel like family and Northfield feel like home.
- Tessa Rogers
The first time I met Rich, I felt an odd sensation that crossed discomfort before I realized just how refreshing it is for someone to be so delightfully honest. Rich has a certain swagger to him that, at first, I mistook for something other than what it really is: a genuine spirit to speak one’s truth no matter what. I know it gets him into trouble sometimes, because people are used to beating about the bush and people aren’t used to that sort of directness (especially in small town MN). But my own truth be told, Rich has saved my bacon enough times for me to know his candor is worth looking up to — nay, Rich’s brand of honesty is worth aspiring to. Rich is the kind of kind person who looks you in the eye and says, “Really, how are you?” and not only expects an honest answer, but cares deeply about it. Rich always has time for you. Rich is the kind of person who is suddenly and immediately at your side, backing you up to haul that dude out by the scruff of the neck, even when moments before he was across a massive and densely crowded room. Rich always looks out for you. Rich is the kind of guy who’ll go the extra mile on writing the right words and on researching a new musician who might come play, and sits down for hours to let you pick his brain about what direction we need to take the music scene at Imminent, in Northfield…Oh, Rich. Imminent wouldn’t be what it is today without you. My life wouldn’t be the same, either. I’m so grateful that our paths crossed in this lifetime and that we’ve had the joy and dumb good luck of having you be part of this wonderful team, but more, that I have the absolute privilege of calling you my friend. Sláinte - may all your days be as happy as you’ve made all of us!
- Laura Meyers
Rich has a way with words and it’s clear that he loves to write. He’s the pumping heart of the Northfield music scene, a powerful, enthusiastic presence, Rich needs no microphone, man, this guy has pipes! Have a happenin’ Birthday, Rich!
- Jon Manners
Rich is the dad at Imminent Brewing (don’t get me wrong, Stephen has the best dad jokes hands down). Rich is the type of dad who has the ability to intimidate any boy interested in his daughters. He’s also not afraid to call anyone out for being stupid; he regularly reminded me of this whenever I said things like: “who’s Neil Young?” or “what’s Motown?” However, after he would excrete a loud breath of air and stare me down for a few seconds, he would always try his best to be understanding. He’s the type of dad that will always be supportive, lend you an ear when you’re feeling down, and gives the best bear hugs. Rich is a gentle giant, a stand up guy, a role model, a humanitarian, and an outspoken activist. Imminent Brewing is lucky to have him.
<3 Jared Allerson
Rich Larson is the real deal, sweet and kind, full of integrity, one heck of a writer, my hero (I would love a bracelet that says “WWRD?” -- “What Would Rich Do”?) because that is the kind of guy he is.
- Barb Piper
Our favorite conversations with Rich are when you ask a question or make a comment and you know you’re getting a great response when Rich says, “Ok, Ok”, takes off his baseball cap, runs his fingers through his hair, puts the cap back on, leans on the bar and … a passionate and informative discussion is coming your way. I love bringing up politics and Chris has music covered. Rich adds to making great memories on our Thursdays (and sometimes Fridays and Saturdays).
- Kim & Chris Kittleson
Knowing Rich is like knowing Northfield. He adds the color to the sketches of this community that I make during every shift. His humor, his personality, our shared "old man cynicism" keeps things entertaining. Oh.....and he can throw a rowdy patron out like no one else. Cheers Rich!
- Stephen Vander Wal
Happy Birthday to the one and only Rich Larson!
You make us all feel we are “home” and “settled in” when you are behind the counter serving with a smile and a hug!
You exemplify passion and compassion at every turn!
Your presence improves every gathering and your taste in music impeccable!
Cheers to you, my friend and only the Best in this 50th year!
- Joel Beithon
Rich is a great ambassador for Northfield as well as Imminent. He is partially responsible for Louise and I moving here. In a prior gig Rich produced a Beatles Night featuring several artists. We happened to be visiting and were so impressed we put Northfield on the short list for our retirement move. Thanks Rich!
- Mike Elbein
Before I started working at Imminent, I remember Rich as being a cheerful bartender, who was always excited to greet my dog and me when we came in for a beer. So when I had my first shift I was excited to have a familiar face teaching me the lay of the land. Rich and I instantly clicked as co-workers, especially when we learned we have the same love for the Minnesota Twins. Working with Rich is honestly one of my favorite parts of being behind the bar. But I think what I appreciate most about Rich is how important it is to him that others are well cared for, whether it's using his booming voice to make sure the band gets some tips, or greeting everyone by name when they come in, or giving a shoulder to rest your head on when you've had a long shift. It has been such a pleasure getting to know him over the last few months! So, buy the guy a beer, wish him a happy birthday, and make sure that he is as happy during his birthday week as he makes you when he hands you a beer.
- Katie Theis
Rich has often mixed his passion for music with his compassion for people, and his vision for The Big Event. The Neil Young and Bob Dylan tribute shows brought together most of the musicians in Northfield, and packed the Contented Cow from wall to wall. He followed these up with the 100% Local Music Festival, a fundraiser for the United Way. These events are the blueprint for the power of music in bringing people together, and every musician who participated in one (or all) owes the big man a debt of gratitude. Happy birthday, brother Rich! Thanks for your support, your vision, and your friendship.
- Ray Coudret
A big Happy 50th Birthday to Rich. You're a hell of a great guy. We love that big smile and warm "Hi, how are ya", as we enter, and you ALWAYS make sure our mugs are never empty. Enjoy yourself! You deserve it.
- Amy and Dan Ludwig
Rich could be considered the one-person welcoming committee for the patrons of Imminent. He knows just about everyone who comes through the door; and he is always quick to acknowledge and welcome them in like family. He's got this beer tending thing down to an art as he's equipped with a wealth of knowledge, experience, exquisite musical taste/talent, and, of course, some opinions. Rich enhances the whole experience of Imminent Brewing; both for its customers and its employees. He's a humble man of many talents and he is simply great company.
- Justin Holden
While talking about music history over mops at 11:45 PM on a Saturday night, “dancing” with him around the taps behind the bar during a rush, or while trying to quietly prepare for opening during Sunday yoga, I’ve gotten to know Rich pretty well in the past 10 months, and it’s clear to me that he’s a great guy. Whether he’s pouring beer, greeting all of the regular customers by name (sometimes accompanied by a “HEY, BROTHER!” and/or a personal anecdote), singing “Burning Love” with one of the live bands, writing these blog posts, or talking about music, it’s clear that Rich Larson is the type of human that you would want to have on your trivia team, post-apocalyptic survival group (he’s a jack of all trades!), or as a good friend/bartend/coworker. One thing, however, that impresses me the most and that he does particularly well is listen to people, so if you have a story or just want to chat, come and find Rich behind the bar! Happy birthday, Rich!
- Pete Smith
Happy Birthday Rich! Not only do you make the ages seem like they can be ageless, you make it look so easy to do! It truly is an inspiration to everyone in the seats right behind you on this wild ride we call life. Thanks for keeping a young heart while you let the years bring you wisdom. Enjoy your day, my friend!
- Matthew Griswold
Unfortunately there aren't quite words to describe the sense of comfort and feeling of home I get each time I return to Imminent after a stint away. A cornerstone of each reunion I have with Imminent is seeing Rich standing behind the bar and the subsequent warmth I get from an impending smile, hug, and "Welcome Home" from my favorite 'larger-than-life' bartender. How do I put this? Whether I am moving to a new city and am completely terrified to find my place there, or I'm looking for some calm in the middle of a snow storm, or I need to scream and belt out my favorite song to make it through the day, or I'm in need of a pat on the back and an "it's okay to f*** up" conversation, or I'm bartending for a group of angry bikers and need back up (of any kind)...whatever the context, whenever the day, Rich is the guy I would want by my side. He's an all-purpose, level-headed, down to earth badass who will tell you how it is with the most frank, casual, and comforting sincerity. Wherever I go, whatever is next, I know Rich will be one of my biggest cheerleaders not only telling me I need to buck-up and do it, but that I need to do it right, and always be me. There's no greater praise I can give of Rich than that he's 100% himself and refuses to tolerate anyone doing anything but that: being 100% themselves. You could hope for nothing better in a coworker and friend. To Rich!
- Jamie Herman
The Zllionaires reflect on Rich Larson. (Note how well his name fits with the band…)
Along with being a top notch bartender, you may know Rich as: 1. Baseball fan. 2. Thoughtful friend. 3. Gifted writer. 4. Deep thinker and 5.Musician
If we’re lucky enough to have Rich behind the bar when we’re playing at Imminent, we give him a mic and hope he joins us on stage. The man can sing! He is a Hunk of Burning Love and more. Thank you for being your wonderful self Rich. A man of many skills, great depth, kindness, and good pipes!
Rich is the best BOSS ever! (teeheehee)
- Johnathan Tran
When it becomes obvious that you’re going to need to forcibly remove a drunk from a Tom Petty Tribute concert, Rich will be there. It will seem to you that he has appeared out of thin air, like some kind of genie bouncer. In fact, you will wonder if turning your baseball cap backwards in preparation for dragging a guy out is some kind of Rich magic lamp. And maybe later, when no one is looking, you might quickly adjust said hat to the backwards position and then glance around expectantly to see where he may appear from. The point is, Rich always stands up for what is right, even when doing so may be difficult, and he will always have your back in a tough situation. He has shown me this time and again and I am forever grateful for that. He is a great friend, a kind, caring and honest person and just an overall fantastic human being. It has been a pleasure and an honor to get to know you over these past few years. Happy birthday Rich!
- Derek Meyers
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RICH!
- with love from all your adoring fans -
This is just a bit of a random sampling of thoughts from friends that we were able to collect - if you wish to share more, come on down this Saturday night (June 22), share some brews and some tunes and tell the man himself how much you adore him. Or, add a comment below sharing your favorite Rich-ism or story of the incomparable Mr. Larson!