I find the cover art of Bushmaster aka Gary Brown’s latest release “Drowning on Dry Land” beyond suitable; an outstretched arm-clenching a guitar or as most musicians call it-an axe, busting through cracked dry land. For years Brown has been establishing himself as one of the premier musicians in music, busting through clubs with the swagger and ownership of a wild west outlaw. His guitar playing rivals the great blues and rock stars that helped establish what it means to be a true rock star. “Drowning on Dry Land” is filled with energetic and fierce guitar riffs that would make the guitar Gods of a time long past–Clapton, Hendrix, Page, to name a few, proud to know that their work of establishing the ability to master the guitar an art in its own. Brown summons their goal to keep “real” rock music alive and beating wherever he travels (which Brown calls, addictive). Like most musical road warriors, playing show after show, night after night, winning over the crowd with his larger than life presence. That presence is what makes Brown very popular. He commands the stage, sometimes shirtless, contorting all the muscles in his body, from face to toes, as he maneuvers chords, resulting from years of practice. As long as there is life in Brown’s body, I believe he will keep on astonishing audiences…and right now Brown’s life seems to be rolling along rather smoothly. Have axe will travel. Read his XXQs to find out more.
XXQs: Gary Brown
PEV: How and when did you first get involved in music?
GB: Almost from birth. My parents had an extensive collection of blues, big band jazz, and R&B that I would listen to almost non-stop. I got my first guitar at age 12 (a guild acoustic), and I haven’t looked back since.
PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a studio to record your own music?
GB: Exhilarating. Terrifying. And yet somewhere I belonged.
PEV: Is there a certain atmosphere you surround yourself in when you write music?
GB: Yeah, life (LOL). Seriously though, I know some people immerse themselves in settings that facilitate relaxation, and therefore creativity. That’s generally not how I do it. Songs just come to me and there’s really no rhyme or reason to it. I just try to get out of my own way.
PEV: Tell us about the creation of your latest album, “Drowning on Dry Land”?
GB: Writing the album was a reaction/statement inspired by that aforementioned “life” thing. I wasn’t living in the safest of neighborhoods, or necessarily keeping the best company. But I think ultimately, good did come out of it. You know, from the grain of sand grows the pearl, from pressure coal becomes diamonds, and all that.
PEV: Describe the feeling when you first started to write ” Drowning on Dry Land”.
GB: In a word, liberating.
PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your music?
GB: I generally get the impression they think I’m doing the right thing, and they really seem to be feeling it. I can’t overstate how gratifying this is, and how much I appreciate them for it. There has been the odd person here and there for whom my music is not their cup of tea, but no one likes everything, right?
PEV: How has life on the road been for you? GB: Addictive. It’s where I feel I belong.
PEV: If I were to walk into your house/and studio right now, what is one thing I would be surprised to find?
GB: Me there (ha ha). Let me see, hmmm, that would probably be my pair of musk turtles.
PEV: When you are not working, what do you like to do?
GB: Think about working. After that, watching movies with my wife, and my guilty pleasure – boxing.
PEV: What can someone expect from a live Gary Brown show?
GB: To be transported (albeit temporarily) away from your troubles and worries, and brought with us to a place of joyful celebration, and funkiness.
PEV: What is the best part about playing live?
GB: Hmm, that’s a hard one to answer. There are many different good things about playing live, catharsis among others.
PEV: What other artist right now should people be watching out for?
GB: Geez, I’m afraid I’m really out of the loop as far as current artists go. I can tell you which of my current peers totally kick my butt. Jay Turner (www.jayaturner.com) writes some great stuff, is a great musician, and a hell of a nice guy – check him out! Another good friend of mine, Dayne Shannon (guitarist), has a band called Serving The Industry (www.servingtheindustry.com) that totally rocks! These are the first guys that come to mind.
PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best music scene?
GB: All of them. (laughs) Lemme see… Baltimore is pretty jumpin’, it seems to be the place where the players interact in a mutually beneficial manner.
PEV: What drives you to continually create great music?
GB: The satisfaction of exposing your innards and having people not only understand you, but empathize with you as well.
PEV: Which venue is a favorite place to perform and why? GB: I’d have to say the Ram’s Head Tavern in Savage Mill, MD, Ôcause those people really know how to party. And though I know you asked for one venue, I also have to mention the Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD, it’s also a very happening place (with the coolest owner and staff).
PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Gary Brown?
GB: Sometimes I tear-up watching a particularly poignant movie. I’ll still take anyone in a fight though (LOL).
PEV: Which artist do you feel has had the most influence on you?
GB: Oh no, this question… I just can’t single out one person. But if you’re gonna make me say… I dunno, Freddy King? Yeah! (I also could have easily chosen fifty other guys including Hendrix, Eric Gales, Robin Trower, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Frank Marino, Johnny Winter, Miles Davis…)
PEV: What is a normal day like for Gary Brown? GB: There is no such thing, is there? I play guitar, go for walks, watch cable, same as anybody else.
PEV: Finish this sentence, “The most embarrassing moment at a gig was when.” GB: I can’t really think of anything since I tend to take things in stride (although my band mates may beg to differ – LOL).
PEV: 20. So, what is next for Gary Brown? GB: Hopefully just to keep making more music, and keep on keeping on