10 Quick Ones with BRIAN McKENZIE – March 2018

According to a recent press release: “February 26, 2018 – New England Singer / Songwriter Brian McKenzie has released the official music video for the single “Higher Than This,” off his January 26th release Bruising From the Fall. Originally premiered on Paste Magazine, “Higher Than This” was shot by Andy McCarthy and Brett Davey. Look for Brian McKenzie on tour in March in Austin, including SXSW, and New York, with a more extensive tour in June. For more information visit brianmckenzie.com” We get Brian to discuss new music, influences, and more in our 10 Quick Ones…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Bruising From the Fall is my 3rd solo release and probably the most “me” of all my albums so far. It’s more of a singer-songwriter rock album than the previous two, which were a little more on the country – Americana side. It’s a little more emotional and personal than the other two, as well. It’s basically the “music version” of what’s been going on inside with me, covering a few different vibes and moods.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My mom is a musician and I grew up with music and constant singing around the house. I was always a music fan, but it was the mid 80’s and Mtv that got me wanting to be a musician. I remember blasting Cinderella’s first album (yup), standing on my bed, and playing a Badminton racket when my parents walked in on me, laughing, and said “I thinks it’s time we buy you a guitar.”

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I’d say it goes by genre for me. I originally come from rock and metal first, so I’ll start there. The musicians that hit me the hardest are:

For metal: Anthrax and Early Metallica. I started playing metal first, and I wanted to play rhythm like Scott Ian and James Hetfield. The Master of Puppets tablature book really got me started with learning to play guitar and listening to see how it all works.

Still in the rock / metal area: Jim Martin era Faith No More. The way Early FNM and Jim Martin blended the instruments of the songs to make a multi-layered, cohesive work of art work as one piece just blew my mind. And Mike Patton’s melodies were just awesome.

For my main singer-songwriter influences: Glen Phillips and Toad the Wet Sprocket. I love how they can craft a song, make you feel, and just put all the elements together to just make it work. Todd Nichols’ guitar playing just puts the right amount of icing on the cake. It just works so well. I have TONS more singer-songwriters that I’m into, but they’re my favorite for sure.

Elvis Presley. I LOVE Elvis. I love all the Sun Records artists and the whole era in general, but the soul in Elvis’ voice, his persona, rhythm playing… I’m a huge fan… although I’m not on board with the Karate Choppin’ Elvis era.

Dean Martin. I love the crooners. The passion in the songs, the delivery, the emotion. Dino, Sinatra, etc. I am definitely an old soul. I would have been doing that for sure if I lived in the 40’s and 50’s.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

I’d love to collaborate with Glen Phillips. I’m interested to see his process.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Hmmm… soulful, singer-songwriter rock? Idk. It’s tough. I think it’s different to everyone who hears it. I get a lot of people who heard this record and say, “Oh you play country?”, and I think… “well…I don’t think this album is country at ALL, so…”.  I think acoustic guitars automatically mean country to a lot a folks. So, I guess it’s a matter of opinion.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

It’s socially acceptable and pretty much expected that you’re crazy. HA!

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I pretty much play solo for the most part, so I do all of the above. Starting with the drink, of course.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

That’s not something I ever even think about. It’s in my blood. It’s why I’m here on this planet, regardless of success. I honestly have no idea.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

I played a round at the Bluebird in Nashville about 14 years ago. I was a bit green in the singer-songwriter world at the time and I was beyond nervous. I fought off a panic attack for about an hour and my voice was shaking to the point that I sounded like Katharine Hepburn. It was, by far, the most intimidating show I can recall. I’ve played Nashville a ton of times since, but, man, I’d love a Bluebird Redo!

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Elvis Presley with Sam Phillips and Sun Records. The birth of Rock n’ Roll as we know it. To feel the magic of what was happening in that studio… man. You feel it even when you tour the Studio today, so I can’t image actually being there and taking it all in.





10 Quick Ones with BRIAN McKENZIE - March 2018

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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