Afghan Whigs guitarist and Gadsden native Dave Rosser dies at 50

Afghan Whigs guitarist and Gadsden native Dave Rosser dies at 50
Source: Michael Reid
Source: Michael Reid

GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - Michael Reid recalls a conversation he had with Dave Rosser, back in the 1980s, when the two were in a band called Cinnabar. Reid says Rosser told him of a personal goal.

"When I die," he recalls his friend Rosser telling him, "I want to have left enough of a mark that Rolling Stone prints my obituary."

Dave Rosser, who later became a guitarist for nationally-known progressive rock group Afghan Whigs, died Tuesday after a battle with inoperable colon cancer. He was 50.

Rolling Stone published his obituary the next day.

"Dave Rosser passed away peacefully last evening surrounded by love. Thank you to all who kept him in their hearts. He is forever in ours," said the announcement on the Afghan Whigs website.

The group re-formed in 2011 and Rosser joined in 2014. He had previously worked with the group's lead singer, Greg Tulli, as part of the Gutter Twins and the Twilight Singers. Rosser also composed and played for Ani DeFranco and others.

Rosser graduated from Gadsden High School in 1984, touring with Reid and two others as part of Cinnabar. Reid recalls their gigs consisted of covers of songs by Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Heart and other 1980s acts, but in private they would emulate Stevie Ray Vaughn.

As a member of Afghan Whigs, Rosser appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Late Show With David Letterman."

Reid says Rosser always wanted the people he would speak to, whether they were close friends or just acquaintances, to feel better about themselves after speaking with him. He says that was true when the two toured in the 1980s and true right up to his battle with colon cancer.

"He always stayed upbeat. He was always positive. He was still more worried about how you felt, and that you were going to be okay with all of this, he wasn't worried about himself. And that sums up David Rosser, the biggest heart of any person I've ever known," recalls Reid.

"You can see on the interviews," Reid says, "the old Dave comes through.

"He made it. He was world famous, he traveled the world, he played in all the places we dreamed about as kids, of being able to step on a stage,  but he was still David Rosser from Gadsden, Alabama, still no different than the person he was when we were 17 year olds running the streets of Gadsden."

His brother, Russ Rosser, is a well-known local musician in Gadsden, who held a benefit for his brother. The Afghan Whigs also performed a few benefits for Dave Rosser as well.

Funeral services for Rosser are still pending.

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