A year later, on December 21, Krebs was driving a rented, red Pontiac. He didn't have a driver's license — court records indicate that it had previously been revoked for DUI. Krebs ran a red light, and police stopped him. He got a 30-day jail sentence and was ordered to get therapy.

Krebs violated his probation a year later when he tested positive for speed. He didn't show up to his next drug screening. His probation officer tried calling Krebs repeatedly, but he didn't answer. He also never showed up for his court-ordered therapy. Yet it does not appear that Krebs was penalized for violating probation.

In 2009, Krebs landed yet another assault conviction. This time, Krebs began the night of May 12 drinking at a bar called Taco Mac on Market Street — the main drag of Chattanooga's nightlife district. Court documents indicate that Krebs made nasty comments to customers before trying to pick a fight with a man. Things came to a head when Krebs slammed a martini glass against the bar. The manager asked Krebs to leave. Krebs punched him in the face. Krebs left the bar and calmly tried to hail a cab as if nothing had happened.

Promoter Jimmy Pagano was a well-loved staple of the South Florida music scene.
Courtesy of Denise Langella
Promoter Jimmy Pagano was a well-loved staple of the South Florida music scene.
Guy DiBona tried to subdue Brian Krebs at Fishtales.
Photo by Michael McElroy
Guy DiBona tried to subdue Brian Krebs at Fishtales.

Two nearby police officers saw Krebs getting chased by a man. They moved in quickly. The cops tried to slip handcuffs around Krebs' left hand as Krebs was easing into the cab. Just as in 2003, Krebs took a swing at one of the cops, hitting him in the face. Even after a third cop arrived, police were forced to use pepper spray to wrestle Krebs to the ground. Krebs wound up with a cut over his left eye and a bloody nose. En route to the hospital — where Krebs got three stitches — he tried to beat the paramedics. "I'm going to kick your ass when I get out," he told the officer who arrested him.

In March 2010, Krebs pleaded guilty to assault charges. He got probation again. He was ordered again to get mental help, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and stay away from Taco Mac.

Krebs appears to have moved to Florida right after one of these assault incidents. In June 2009, Krebs applied to live in the Ocean Riviera building at Galt Ocean Mile. A private investigator, however, did a background check on Krebs and told management about Krebs' extensive criminal history. He was denied access to the building. He moved instead into a one-bedroom apartment in the Galt Ocean Club.


Roscoe Peterson was in the bathroom of a Broward bar, naked from the waist up.

It was around 7 p.m., on a jam night several years ago, back when Peterson first became guitarist for Jimmy Pagano's band, Untamed. For weeks — months, maybe — Pagano had been on Roscoe about his clothing. Roscoe had fallen on hard times and would come to gigs in the only shirts he owned — faded buttoned-downs and T-shirts. Pagano would tease him. "He did it in a nice way because I'm not the worst guitar player in the world, and he knew that, and he wanted me to be in the band."

That night, while Peterson was busy lugging around amps, plugging wires into soundboards, and making sure the rest of the stage was ready for the band, Pagano approached. He shoved a lump of clothing in Peterson's face. Pagano kept walking toward the stage. His only words as he handed Peterson several $100 shirts: "Hey, these don't fit me."

Peterson went into the bathroom and tried them on. He had the same build as Pagano.

"Jimmy, I know these shirts fit you," Peterson said as he left the bathroom.

"Take my word for it," Pagano replied, "they don't."

For the thousands who knew Pagano, this kind of gesture was his way of life. Pagano, whom many credit with creating open jam nights in South Florida, wasn't merely a driving force in the area music scene. He was the go-to guy for a musician's every need and is said to have worked tirelessly to play and promote established and up-and-coming acts.

That started almost as soon as Pagano moved here from upstate New York. Pagano had spent his childhood in Mount Kisco, a sleepy hamlet of some 10,000 that's surrounded by a green hill or two. There, Pagano began down a path that would lead him to become a renowned performer and fixture in South Florida culture. Always a rough-and-tumble, wise-assed kid, Pagano was the boy whose house was the de-facto hangout, and he was always dragging neighborhood schoolmates home to play or raid the fridge.

Pagano was always on the move, said his mother, Vivian. And he was always trying to be like his grandpa, who was a drummer in a marching band. He had tried the trumpet first, but it didn't jibe with his personality. The trumpet didn't let his body get behind the music, shimmy and shake with rhythm, like he wanted. Pagano left the trumpet for percussion, starting off with his elementary school's band, then continuing with middle- and high-school bands as he grew older. At 14, Jimmy branched into the business and production sides of music too: He quickly memorized the ins and outs of sound engineering and almost immediately began selling his behind-the-scenes services to professional musicians.

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