February 29, 2012
By JAMI JOINER | Opinion Editor
Dr. Brian Farmer, a social sciences professor, teaches a number of government and history classes throughout the week at Amarillo College.
His students may not always find him to be politically correct and usually are either found chuckling at his comments or left completely silent, wondering, “Did he really just say that?”
That certainly does not keep people from enrolling for his classes, however. Farmer is among AC’s most popular professors and, aside from the comedic nature of his lectures, he seems to be a lot like his colleagues.
Other than laughing a little more and possibly being subjects of lighthearted, good-natured ridicule, his students are expected to do the same things any other professor’s students would be expected to do: attend lectures, read the textbook and take exams.
Farmer even has written several books, including the textbooks required for most of his classes.
Seeing him sit in his Durrett Hall office, decked out in a suit and tie in front of shelves packed with books, anyone might guess Farmer leads a pretty standard professor’s life.
So what does he do in his spare time that sets him apart from the rest of the pack?
he Bentwood Rockers, a local rock/blues trio, can be seen around town on weekends playing at establishments such as D’Vine Wines, Fireslice Pizzeria and FatCats.
“Weekends are ours,” says their Facebook page.
The band’s members are lead guitarist Homero Campos, drummer Perry Justus and bassist, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Dr. Brian Farmer.
Farmer said he has been in a band off and on for 42 years. The Bentwood Rockers have been together since 2005.
The AC professor is a multi-instrumentalist but said he most frequently plays rhythm guitar or bass for the band’s gigs.
The Bentwood Rockers tend to play a variety of well-known classic rock covers, Farmer said. And the band does not rehearse regularly for its shows.
“If Homero has currently been playing a lot of ‘Black Magic Woman,’ we’ll play that,” Farmer said. “It also has a lot to do with playing something the audience will be familiar with. We don’t want to get up on stage and play something nobody knows.”
Farmer said he is a “blues guy,” and even though his influences include classic rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, most of them are from the blues genre. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Tab Benoit, Jimmy Thackery and Robben Ford are some of the most influential musicians to Farmer’s style, he said.
Farmer said he believes intelligence is multi-faceted, and while being a musician may enhance certain aspects of intelligence, the level of impact varies.
“Music is one piece of the whole thing,” he said. “There are people who are really good at math but terrible at word-processing and people who are good at word-processing but terrible at math.
“A person may be very, very excellent at all these things, but simply not a musician.”
Farmer said his mother and younger brother also are musicians.
“I’m fortunate because music is a gift,” he said. “Either you have it or you don’t.”