Red wasn’t looking for the spotlight like a lot of activists in the cannabis movement. He was a dependable, behind-the-scenes supporter.
People in the cannabis community in New England and beyond were miserable to learn of the passing of Glenn “Red Blaza” Prescott in October. Red was a total gem, a genuinely kind advocate whose work in the grassroots won’t be soon forgotten.
Most importantly, though, is the kind of friend he was; as someone who knew him from a decade of events and through friends in the green space, I’m understating it to say he was a guy who always brought a smoky ear-to-ear smile to my face and that of others. Red leaned in for hugs, passed you whatever he was burning, and oftentimes reached into his backpack full of edibles to pass around free treats.
Thanks to Amanda and Brian Bagley, who sent over some kind words about this pillar of the Boston cannabis world: “Red helped people and patients that no one else could or would. He was a compassionate and selfless champion for those in need. Personally, I know many patients that he helped without a penny but a smile and a hug. Red had an incredible spark and has left some big shoes to fill. I hope as a community we are able to come together, step in, and pick up his life’s work where he left off. I feel privileged to have known him and to call him a friend. One lifetime was not enough.
What follows below are some more words from longtime Dig contributor Mike Crawford, who broke down the origin of the Red Blaza moniker and legend. -Chris Faraone
I met Glenn Prescott about 15 years ago, before he was known as the Red Blaza. At the time, he was a big supporter of Waltham-based dirtcore band Graveyard BBQ, who had won a contest that landed their song “Cheat on the Church” on the soundtrack for the hit PlayStation video game Guitar Hero. BBQ had also entered and won our first-ever MassCann Battle for the Rally that me and Dave Tree organized to select a new band to perform at the annual Boston Freedom Rally. That’s when I met Glenn.
At the Freedom Rally, Prescott noted the show was lacking in dependable stage management, so he offered his time to manage various stages at large events over the following years, as well as many of the benefits too. Unlike some other past MassCann volunteers, Glenn was an expert on how to keep a show running on time, and the bands respected his role. He wasn’t going to let them have an extra song beyond their scheduled time, which effectively cheats the next speaker or act. He was a firm, fair hand, and most important he communicated clearly to the artists in their language, “I love you, but LAST FUCKING SONG.” And it was.
But how did he become the Red Blaza? The late Michael Malta, the King of Pot (KOP) was a big supporter and would record video and interviews with the artists and attendees at the local MassCann benefit shows and the annual Battle for the Rally. The events brought together activists, local musicians from different genres, hip-hop artists, and supporters who would often be at every show. Local acts Prospect Hill, Graveyard BBQ, the Force, Roadsteamer, DJ Slim, the Andwutz, and Primary Others were a big part of that scene back then. As were Red Blaza and the KOP. Blaza would always be sporting a red blazer and KOP noted it, Who’s this guy in the Red Blazer? I love it. That’s your new name now.” And it was.
Red wasn’t looking for the spotlight like a lot of activists in the cannabis movement. He was a dependable, behind-the-scenes supporter who got shit done. Somebody who KOP, MassCann, and myself could count on to be there and to work the position he committed to.
Right before the 2013 Boston Freedom Rally, me and KOP had started a Facebook page called “Mike Cann & The King of Pot 2016,” which was our way of promoting the expected coming campaign to legalize cannabis.
When KOP and I arrived at the rally, we were surprised to learn that Red Blaza had printed up dozens of “MC & KOP 2016” lawn signs to promote the initiative.
Less than a month later, KOP passed away unexpectedly. It was Red Blaza who stepped up yet again, commissioning and selling a KOP memorial t-shirt and organizing two benefit parties with the Malta family to raise $10,000 for a KOP memorial bench on Boston Common.
Red Blaza was generous with his time and money back then, and he never changed. He’s helped countless patients, which I’m sure you will continue to hear about as stories surface. He’s somebody who was there for his friends, someone the community could call on.
And it was. -Mike Crawford