Today’s Feature, August 23-24: Bryan Greenberg

January 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm (Today's Feature)

Earlier this year, I kept seeing commercials for ABC’s (now hit) drama, “October Road”. For

whatever reason, I told myself I have to watch this show. I admit it, the commercials

did me in (I’m a sucker for good advertising). After the premier, I, like the rest of

America was hooked on October Road; the story of Nick Garrett (Bryan Greenberg) acclaimed

novelist, who returns after leaving a small town in Massachusetts, to people who all think

they were “burned” by his portrayal of them in his world renowned novel. Besides the

fascinating story line and identifiable characters (Laura Prepon, “That 70’s Show” plays

his ex-girlfriend and his father played by Tom Berenger) and the fact that every scene

looks like it was cut out of fall line of a J.Crew catalog (which is not a bad thing…big

fan!), ABC based their entire hope for success on the shoulders of a twenty-something

musician and actor, whose “boy next store” appeal, reminded me of every guy I went to

summer camp with growing up. On a side note, when I told a friend that I was interviewing

Bryan Greenberg, they said (honest truth), “Bryan?…From bunk 13?”…verifying my original

thought. I’ve researched a lot on Bryan and read tons of information posted by the fans

of this work. Over and over again, people can’t get enough of what Greenberg is doing.

Most notably off the Road.

Greenberg has starred along side Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman in Ben Younger’s “Prime”. He

will next be seen starring in Randall Miller’s independent film, “Nobel Son” opposite

Alan Rickman, Danny DeVito, Bill Pullman and Mary Steenburgen, as well his reoccurring

role on “One Tree Hill”. However it is his latest musical release, “Waiting For Now”

which showcases Greenberg’s undeniable skills as a singer and songwriter, that is quickly

becoming an iTunes favorite. Written entirely by Greenberg, “Waiting For Now” could very

well be the platform Greenberg has been waiting for his entire life. He has a very

realistic take on fame and his career but notes that music “…can be rewarding

because it’s mine. I write it. It’s a direct expression from instead of a collaborative

process which television and filmmaking is.” Greenberg has even had several tracks used

in shows he’s appeared in, which in turn has made his impromptu on-set performances a

repeated request. His cast mates aren’t the only ones making those requests, which is why

we can expect to be seeing a much more diversified performer in Greenberg for a quite

some time. Whether it’s Nick Garrett, troubled writer or Byran Greenberg, gifted musician,

this “boy next store” has claimed his spot in today’s pop culture.

XXQs: Bryan Greenberg

PensEyeView (PEV): Everything’s going well?

Bryan Greenberg (BG): Everything’s going well, yeah. Busy, but definitely going well.

PEV: So are you shooting for next season right now?

BG: Yeah, we just started this week, shooting October Road and we’re shooting in LA now,

which is great. But, I’ve never really shot on location. I mean, I always shoot on

location. I never really shot at home so it’s like it’s a whole different beast for

me. I usually go away and focus and you know, go in that world. It’s kind of weird getting

used to it. You know what I mean?

PEV: Obviously everybody knows you’re from October Road but when did you first get

started in music? And has that always been something that has been a passion for you?

BG: Yeah, well, I mean, not always, but when I was like 12 or 13, we moved to St. Louis

and my neighbor had a guitar. He was like this punk rock kid and he didn’t have any

friends either so he like made me learn guitar and we just played all his little like

punk songs and stuff and that’s when I started getting into it and I’ve been doing it

ever since.

PEV: What can people expect from “Waiting For Now”?

BG: Hopefully, my goal is just to create an album that was kind of, that was all new

material but a sound that you’ve heard before. Like a familiar sound. Sounds like a

classic song and a catchy melody that kind of sticks in your head. And so with the

production value of the album, we recorded it, my friend Emeil, we would sneak into

T-Bone’s studio on the weekends and cut some tracks and stuff in his studio-he’s got like

all this great analog equipment. We tried to stay away from getting, having the sound

too produced, so we kind of wanted that classic, familiar sound.

PEV: Since you talk about going to the recording studio, do you remember the first time

you stepped into a studio to record your own music?

BG: It was in New York and it wasn’t a real studio. It was an NYU Film School student,

to be an audio project, and he let me record a couple of songs. That was cool. I’d

never sang into a mike before so it was a trip.

PEV: Is there a certain element or atmosphere you like to surround yourself in when you

write music?

BG: You know, I can’t predict it. I can’t really, I don’t know, when I write a song,

it just like sometimes it’s really not within my control, cuz I’d probably write about

more, but it’s one of those things, a melody will just come into my head, and I’m always

writing lyrics down, and I usually apply the lyrics later. Sometimes a song will just

come together all at once. That’s rare. It’s usually, and that does happen, but it’s

usually just me writing a couple lyrics and then me sitting down on the guitar and sort

of figuring it all out. I definitely need to be alone. I can’t have people around or

distractions. It’s just, it’s usually late at night, too, when it happens. Sometimes

I’ll wake up and I’ll have this song in my head and I’ll just grab a guitar and grab a

tape recorder and just go for it. Like I was just thinking about it.

PEV: A lot of your songs have been used in TV shows, like One Tree Hill, of course

October Road, Unscripted. What was it like when you heard your songs on shows like

that and how did you react to the way they were used in the show? Did you like the

way that the songs were used in a scene or the way it was used actually on a show?

BG: I’m just so happy I get a chance to get my music out into a bigger venue because

this is just something I do for me. It’s not like I push it on the producers of these

films and television shows I’ve worked on. They’re just curious to know who I am and

I think that’s a big part of who I am and so they want to hear the music and when they

hear it, they’re like, ëOh, we could use this!’ I’m like, ëYeah, yeah if you want to’.

PEV: Laughs.

BG: So it’s like they all expect it to suck, and then it doesn’t suck as bad as they

thought it would and they can get it for cheap so they use it. (Laughs.) I’m

definitely honored when they want to use my music. I think it’s…crazy. I’m like a kid

when I hear it. I’m like, ëOh man, it’s me!’ It’s crazy. It’s a pretty cool feeling,

you know?

PEV: So, before October Road and before some of the movie spots, what were the earlier

days like for you, when you were just breaking in as a musician and just breaking in as

an actor. What were those days like?

BG: Well, I’ve always been ambitious. I was always hoping, and still am, you know.

It’s just weird though, I gotta tell ya. It can definitely quench the fire to perceive

that you’re getting some sort of recognition and some sort of like,… I know some artists

are like, ëOK, I’m good now, you know?’ But for me, it’s like, I want more. I want,

not more recognition, but I want to do bigger projects and create, and go on tour and

make big albums. I want it all man. I don’t see why not.

PEV: There’s nothing wrong with that.

BG: It’s a little more attainable now. It doesn’t feel so much just like a dream.

It feels like, oh man, this could really happen now. I guess that’s the biggest

difference.

PEV: What’s it like now when you walk down the street, you go in a restaurant, you

go in a shopping mall or movie, and people recognize you? Is it kind of hard to wrap

your brain around it at all?

BG: It’s not so hard for me. It’s harder for people that I’m with usually. They’re

kind of like, whoa, they get freaked out by it, especially my friends who I came up

with in St. Louis and sometimes it can get weird. I’m not one of those people to just

shy away from it. It’s not something that I look for, but it’s like, if someone comes

up to me and is like, ëI really like your work’, and I personally really like working,

and I really put a lot of myself into that, than I take that as a compliment. I’m like,

ëwow, thanks for appreciating what I do’. That’s great. I think it’s great. Like,

who doesn’t want to be acknowledged for doing what they love to do? It’s a great

feeling. And I hate, hate, f***ing hate, like celebrities who are like, ëoh I don’t

like fame. I don’t like’… f*** it. You don’t like the fame, what the f***are you

doing it for, you know what I mean? It’s not like I’m doing it for the fame, but it’s

not like I’m ignorant, and I’m not a victim. I hate these artists sounding like they’re

a victim all the time because like, they just wanted to work on their art. Will then

go play your art in a room where nobody can hear it. You know what I mean?

PEV: Laughing.

BG: It’s like. You just gotta know that this comes with it. You just can’t be so,

ignorant, I guess.

PEV: No, I agree. That’s pretty cool.

BG: You know, with musicians and actors, it’s like, I definitely am not one of those

people that like runs towards the spotlight, but at the same time I’m not going to shy

away from someone if they want to take a picture or sign an autograph. I’m like, hey,

that’s cool.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you decided that you wanted to make acting and

music a career?

BG: Ever since I was a kid, man. I just, like, music kind of came later, like in my

college years. I was really starting to write a lot and you know, I think it came out

of, the acting roles were so…the acting world alone was so not fulfilling for me because

it’s constantly hearing ëno’ and you’re taking other people’s words and other people’s

ideas and other people’s directions and you’re just kinda like, helping them create, a movie,

or an image, or idea. With music it felt like, just a total…you can still stay creative,

without so much rejection. It’s more fulfilling on those days where like, it’s okay that I

didn’t get that part because I’ve got a show tonight and I’m playing music. It’s a great

creative outlet to have. If you don’t have something else, you’re gonna go crazy. I know

actors, that’s all they’ve got and it drives them nuts because it’s so much rejection. It’s

so hard. You know, I think it would be the same, too, if it was just music. But music can

be rewarding because it’s mine. I write it. It’s a direct expression from instead of a

collaborative process which television and filmmaking is.

PEV: Is there another musician right now that you would like to collaborate with?

BG: I’ve always liked Fiona Apple’s voice. I would love to just write a song for her,

just have her play on something. I mean, I think she’s crazy, but there’s so many. I don’t know.

It’s more like producers I’d like to work with, somebody like Jon Brian, or somebody like that.

PEV: Is there another musician on the scene right now that you think is like, on the

rise, that we should all be looking at?

BG: I mean, I’m totally digging on the next Spoon album. I think it’s real good.

It’s not like an up and coming artist, but it’s definitely an album that everyone

should get. I love it. They’re awesome, man.

They put on a good show.

PEV:Speaking of shows, what can people expect from a live Bryan Greenberg performance?

BG: Well it changes. I like to throw in a cover every now and then. I like doing the

rock and roll thing. The last show I did we just stripped it down and did an acoustic,

like changed up the dynamic, standup bass, cello, piano, and guitar. I don’t know. I

like to change it up every time. I don’t want it to get routine because it’s boring for

the musicians.

PEV: October Road is a huge hit. Everybody loves it. I loved the show when it came out.

Before I started this project I was a big fan of the show.

BG: Thanks:

PEV: What was it like when you got the call saying you landed the role?

BG: Well, they offered me the role and I was a little hesitant because I wasn’t sure

if I wanted to do TV at the time because of my lack of commitment. (Laughter from

both.) Because normally I’d get 3 or 4 months done and then I’d have time for music,

but GEEZ it’s like, it’s your life. But then I just fell in love with the characters

and the world that they created and story and the creators of it. Everybody involved,

I really and truly like. They are good people so that had a lot to do with it I think.

PEV: Speaking of that, what is set life like behind the cameras?

BG: It’s great man. Like, I went bowling last night with a couple of the cast members,

trying to stay up because we’re doing a night shoot tonight. So we’re like, ëWe can’t

drink, (laughter from both) we gotta go out. We gotta stay up.’ If I stay home I pass

out. We get along. We all went to Vegas last weekend and had a big kickoff. Everybody

‘s really like quite a family. It sounds clichÈ but it’s true.

PEV:Do they ever ask you for an impromptu performance?

BG: They have, but I never have my guitar when they ask. But you know what; they all

came out to support me when I was playing my gigs. They were all coming to the shows.

PEV: Oh, cool.

BG: It was great man, and they’re very supportive and they love music and I think

they might put some more music in the show, which is great…definitely a warm, loving

atmosphere.

PEV: You travel around and you’re playing around. In all your travels, really, which

city is your favorite to perform in, or you think is the best for music? Internationally

or in America.

BG: New York.

PEV: New York?

BG: Yeah. I love it. But, that’s just me. I just love the people there. It’s the

best city in the world.

PEV: Do you feel more comfortable behind the camera? Or on stage playing music?

BG: I don’t know. I feel comfortable; I don’t have one that’s uncomfortable. I mean,

there’s no role to hide behind when I’m playing my music, you know? So it’s a little

scarier sometimes because it’s just you. I just went out with an acoustic

guitar and myself. I think it’s scary but it’s really freeing to just kind of get into

the music. You feel pretty comfortable. I’m not like one of those damn comedians,

when I perform and you know, try and pull all this shit all over on you. I just go out

there and try to play the music.

PEV: You talk about how you guys went bowling with the crew. You seem so busy, but

when you get to relax, what can we find you doing?

BG: Music, hopefully. And recording. That’s what I’d like to do in my off time.

Really music is my outlet. I play basket ball, hang out with friends, get drunk. I

watch movies, go see concerts.

PEV: You talk about how when your friends are with you and you get noticed on the

street. What do all your friends and family think about your success?

BG: I think everybody’s supportive. And my friends, you know, it’s like we all try

to help each other out. I talk to my friends about getting them jobs and hopefully…it’s

just like, I’m really blessed, man. I’ve got some good friends. Like I even recorded with a bunch

of my friends. We did it pretty cheap and everybody just loved doing it, so I would say they’re very

supportive.

PEV:What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

BG: Well a lot of people are surprised to hear that I do music (laughs). That’s still,

like, a lot of people are like, ëI didn’t know’. Most people don’t know me as a musician.

So it’s kind of nice now that people are starting to paying attention with the album coming out.

I’m psyched for that not to be a surprise any more.

PEV: So, what’s next for Bryan Greenberg?

BG: Well, we’re gonna cut this album out in November and I’m just shooting October

Road. It’s full-time. I’m working every time. I don’t have much time for anything

else, and play some shows when the album comes out. You know it’s hard…I can’t do the

normal musician thing. I can’t just pick up and go on your. I’ve got a day job. So

we’re just trying to figure out how to make this work. It’s not easy to do both.

Check out Bryan Greenberg at http://www.MySpace.com/BryanGreenberg

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah said,

    Bryan Greenberg is a very talented, good-looking man. I love that he is so down to earth. I look forward to what he will do next and wish him lots of luck on his future endeavors. I will keep watching “October Road” and I cant wait to hear his music. Bryan, you are awesome! Keep up the good work!! 🙂

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