Brass Owl Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews. com)
PD. What type of artist are you?
BO. Well, I have always tried to be a bit unique when it comes to original music. We would rather make the music we like and how it comes to us rather than try to fit it to what’s popular or what we think will get us somewhere. I know our influences go way back and there is always a vintage vibe but we like to take something from one style and blend with another style that you don’t often see. We like to throw elements of funk and jazz with nasty sludge riffs, and love to improvise with intense jamming but take it somewhere besides the typical and predictable, push ourselves. We are sort of a musicians type band with the jamming but also try to mix in the hook riffs and sometimes commercial song structure and not totally lose the ones that are not into that. Also, the way the songs are designed, we can play them different depending on the situation. With so many genre influences and experience, it is much more fun than being painted into a corner of certain style. It’s not like we are going to become pop stars anyway. ( Brian )
PD. Tell us the brief history of yourself.
BO. ( Brian ) I started playing around 12 years old and grew up in the day of the guitar shredder so you had to have your chops down. I was really into the instrumental guitarists early on and started getting into writing riffs and songs around 18 when I put together my 1st original band. It was mostly metal and shredding. A few years later I got into song structure and older bands, sort of backwards, and getting into other styles of guitar like blues, jazz, classical, finger style, chicken picking, etc. Around 25 I started writing lyrics and played in several cover bands doing the vocals besides just the guitar. Around 5 years ago I was jamming with some guys and were started a original band with and gained local popularity. After that ran its course I decided to put together the type of band I wanted and do something with some of my songs I had been sitting on. I met Lonnie who is just a super freak drummer and can play any style and he was really burnt out on being everyones hired gun cover band drummer guy and just wanted to do some original music and use his skills. Greg contacted me when he heard that I was putting something together and was the perfect fit for this. We started jamming around November of last year and started recording the EP in January. We tried to reel in the jamming for the recording but live we can really let loose and we have a lot of fun. We have plenty of new material to work on and hope start on the next album soon, book some shows and get out there.
PD. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
BO. Musically there are so many but ZZ Top, Allman Brothers, Zepp, Cream, Sabbath, C.O.C., Pride and Glory, Audioslave, JJ Grey, Hendrix, Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr., Gary Moore, James Brown, Trower, Rival Sons, Jerry Reed, Waylon, Satriani, Vai, Dimebag, Jeff Healey. ( Brian )
Non musically, I love to art of creating wether it be music, hot rods, choppers and motorcycles,etc. Vintage drag racing, vintage guitars, travel, boating, adventure. People who do stuff with there hands and work hard to accomplish goals. Evel Kneivel, Clint Eastwood, Billy Bob Thorton, Jackie Gleason, Billy Gibbons. (Brian)
PD. What are your dreams and goals?
BO. Of course when I was a young man I dreamed of being a rock star. I still have that dream and I always wanted to tour at least once. I would like to do the things we see so many do. My goal with this band is to get the music out there beyond my hometown, book some out of town shows or mini tours, record a sick full album on vinyl, and grow into a touring band through earned reputation of killer live shows and hard work. I don’t want anything for free. I just want the opportunity to earn it. ( Brian )
PD. Who writes your songs, what are they about?
BO. ( Brian ) I had a handful of songs when we formed the band but we wanted to write a couple fresh ones and mix it up with a couple new, a couple old. The lyrics are mine as well as the riffs but we were all involved in the arrangement and style of the final product. My lyrics are more about daily life, real experiences, mixed with tongue and cheek dark humor and sarcasm. I wrote the lyrics to State Of Mind about 15 years ago and they really fit and relate to what’s happening now. Being in our 40s, still doing it, doing our thing, still got some gas in the tank. Land Shark was written about 5 years ago and it is about the working man and the system, design of the system and being a part of it vs having a chance to get away and do want you want to do, be free. I have always felt a good song will stand the test of time and be as good now as it would be 30 years ago. I mean if you take a classic Sabbath song and it just came out this year, it would be just as good. I am not real good at writing love song lyrics or mythical dragons and wizard lyrics. That’s just how it is. Just real life of a working man.
PD. How do you promote your band and shows?
BO. We have a web page we recently set up but guys in their 40s aren’t the most tech savy types. Of course we have Fakebook, Tweeter, Instagramp, all that crap. We usually share info on those and try to rally some folks. It works OK. I mean, Cincinnati does not have a great scene to begin with and from the 80s to present it has just gotten worse. But I have been known to get several hundred people in a club here and there. ( Brian )
PD. What do you think about downloading music online?
BO. It doesn’t really bother me as much as some. Of course it was way cooler when people went to the record stores and bought cassettes, cds, records. I guess the worst part is that most people never hear the music cranked up on a badass stereo. I spent so many hours recording and mixing and checking every mix blasting in my truck and most people just listen to new music on their phone, which is just sad. And music sales are not the same. A dollar for a song. It is what it is. ( Brian )
PD. What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
BO. I remember back in the late 80s when everyone wanted to get signed and it was the popular belief that after that, life was grand. Maybe it was. I will never know. I do have a couple friends who were on major labels and toured the world and it was not all it was cracked up to be, at least for a touring artist playing huge festivals but still not a huge household name. I know some labels control too much and sit on albums that never get released. I don’t think it holds near as much weight as it used to and a lot of folks would rather not be tied to a label. I mean, you are just a product for them to make money with, that’s the idea right? I would consider it but it is not a big concern of mine. Depends on the deal. ( Brian )
PD. What song do you wish you’d written and why?
BO. Whippin Post. It has the dark down and out blues lyrics and it has the epic intense jam that just seems to take flight. You can feel the pain and the way it sort of, get’s it off of your chest. It sort of blows off some steam. ( Brian )
PD. What are some of your pet peeves?
BO. Lazy people. I don’t mind hard work but when other just hang out and reap the rewards it makes my skin crawl. People who drive slow in the fast lane. People who don’t do anything but are the first to criticize the ones who do, Judge others but would not last a day in their boots. Trendy bands, how most modern rock bands sound like the same band. Kids today that won’t go outside and play or eat vegetables. Young women that don’t have any skills, or class, that think the world owes them a living, wearing their pajamas in public. I am grumpy, everything bugs me. ( Brian )
PD. What is your proudest moment in music?
BO. I used to always say when I won a guitar contest and got to play with Steve Vai. But, a couple years ago, I started a new original band for the 1st time after several years of doing cover and starting to slide into that old guy type of gig, giving up basically. and in a few short years we went from nothing to headlining out local amphitheater to a record crowd of thousands. For me, seeing that crowd and the energy, bringing people together through my original music, was life changing. I will never forget it. ( Brian )
PD. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
BO. I have been invited to perform at the Cincinnati Guitar Festival May 11th at the Madison Theater, Covington KY. We are playing one of the coolest venues around June 2nd , The Southgate House Revival in Newport KY. It is a huge historic church converted ti a venue that host a lot of national acts. We play a big animal shelter benefit Ales For Tales August 11th in downtown Hamilton Ohio. You should be there because we will jam. Hard.
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