I don’t even know how to process last year into this year and I’m not even sure that I can yet. In a lot of ways its been an incredible slow motion ride, and in other ways it’s like a bullet train through the psyche. The future does seem lighter even in the darkest of moments of yet still an on going pandemic, but there is more hope than we’ve had in a long time, and that’s progress. It’s still time to hold on to whats most important, like family, friends, health and gratitude. Live music seems to be the last thing on the list that will happen, but when it does, look the fuck out, and we’re all looking forward to that day as the band is itching to play the new record for the people. I also want to thank everyone who’s purchased the Vinyl version, CD’s, digital, and have helped get the word out across literally the world for “God Save The City.” When I started making it I couldn’t fathom where it would lead to and how it would resonate with folks. I’m extremely grateful to be able to tell the story about what went into making it, and also hearing what it means to you the listener. A big thank you to everyone who’s been playing it on their radio shows, having me on their podcasts and writing about the record. As an independent unknown artist, it all helps. Also a big thank you to Mike Farley & Kayla Sprindis over at MichaelJMedia for all his work on helping to promote it in the US as well as Birgit Schwanke and GerMusica in the EU. Below are all the highlights from the past couple of months and more things are still around the bend including a live stream performance at some point. Thank you for listening, watching and putting up with me!
Oh and before I forget there is a soon to be released new video for the song “Lee Marvin’s Uzi” made with a very talented young man from Tucson named Wyatt Booth. Get ready for that!
……………..and speaking of Lee Marvin, I got a strange but incredible little shout out from the Dwayne Epstein the author of “Lee Marvin: Point Blank” who found the song and wrote about it for his blog. “Brad Brooks, a Bay-area rocker who’s most recent album has an interesting Lee Marvin reference, was stumbled upon by yours truly while Googling for any Marvin mention in the media. It’s a kickass song and I can tell you honestly, I’ve never heard of the guy!His website describes him thusly: “Brad Brooks is that rare quadruple threat of writer, player, singer, and performer. His songs combine the melodic sensibility of Elvis Costello, the best instincts of Wilco and Brian Wilson, the orchestral sophistication of Queen, along w/the Stones/Bowie gritty edges of rock/soul.” Okay, fair enough, but truth be told I hear more than a little reference to such blue-collar rockers as John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen. Such promo hype aside, I listened to the song recently and my girlfriend and I both agree. The man can rock! Now I don’t know if Lee Marvin ever used an Uzi in life (he did in (Delta Force) but the imagery works for me. As to the “Prime Time Rapist,” might that be a veiled Trump reference? Hmm….
– Dwayne Epstein
Goldie’s Garage: Genya Ravan (Little Stevens Underground Garage) 1/5/21: God bless Genya! This was a “holy shit” moment as I just fucking love Genya’s show and have been listening for years and “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” is my go to station on Sirius in my car. So to have this happen and the kind words from Genya at the end was extremely touching.
The 13th Floor w/Marty Duda: Enjoyed a fantastic conversation about the new record with Marty Duda via zoom from New Zealand. Marty has an incredible show and has talked to just about everyone in the music business and is a record collector of the first order as you can see by his collection in the background. We covered a multitude of topics and including how NZ is handling Covid.
Renee & Irish Greg’s POP-UP Podcast 12/21/20 : w/Renee Richardson & Greg McQuaid: Adam Rossi and I had a great time doing a Holiday live stream w/Renee Richardson & Irish Greg who have always supported live music in a big way while they were at KFOG, but also with their podcasts which feature artists every week. This was a fun night and Adam and I got to do Harry Nilsson’s “Remember/Christmas” and talk about what we’ve been up to during this insane year.
Because The Night 2: Light Rail Station: This was a crazy 4hr webathon for the Independent Venue Alliance which has been helping to keep venues around the Bay Area open and alive until further help arrives. Without places to play and support, these venues will just become memories. This was put on by the good folks over at Light Rail Studios and MC’d by Parker Gibbs who put on a holiday show for the ages which included live performances in the studio, along with Parker’s interviews of Jane Weidlin & Dave Alvin. I was honored to kick off the start of the show and then at the end they used the video for “God Save The City“ to finish it off. This was one helluva show and you can skip around as you like.
The Big Takeover: Mark Suppanz: A big thank you to Mark Suppanz for the write up of “God Save The City” and also to Jack Rabid and all the fine folks over at The Big Takeover. A nice shout out to Erik Schramm & Pie Fiorentino from the band also. This magazine is always a great read and this issue has Joe Pernice on the front along with a great interview of Robert Pollard from Guided by Voices. Go pick it up!
Vinyl Writer: Andrew Daly (Interview): This was my first time talking with Andrew Daly and I just appreciate all of the crazed vinyl folks like myself who are obsessed about music and like to hear it on wax. This was a long form interview and I really appreciated the coverage and all the kind words.
The Morning Call: Alan Sculley: A surprise review from “The Morning Call” and really appreciate this one “In a year when we lost more than our share of talented artists from COVID and other illnesses, it’s nice to welcome back Brooks with this impressive album.”
Elmore Magazine: Peter Lindblad: Some one who listened to the record and got it!
Fireworks UK Review: Bruce E.J. Atkinson:
FIREWORKS UK: Oh, Funk-Soul-Rock… what more could we ask for?! That’s what Brad Brooks gives us with this, his latest album; and heaven forbid, we almost lost the chance to hear, enjoy and be inspired by his soul- filled and musical testament. In 2012 Brooks released ‘Harmony Of Passing Light’ which drew critical acclaim. Fired up, he was preparing to go back into the studio, but fate intervened as during a routine dental appointment it was discovered that this extraordinary singer from the Bay Area of California had throat cancer! Part of his treatment demanded sensitive surgery with the distinct possibility of him losing his voice. Thank goodness this didn’t happen, and Brooks was able to continue with what has become ‘God Save The City’ – his most clear-cut recorded work to date. Full of fire and a certain degree of urgency, this album moves with energy, heartfelt messages, and all with more than a decent dose of soul. Straight forward in performance, the opus motors with a high-octane fuel, full of harmony and groove-laden Funk. Every track on this album has enough Rock signatures to make us hardcore music lovers rejoice in what we are hearing. Perhaps being aware that he has been given another chance, Brooks does not mince words in this collection of songs. He doesn’t back off of our current social and political issues. He sings with such force that we can’t help but take notice – and he does so in such mighty fashion! ‘God Save The City’ is a fiery, heartfelt musical expression set to varied undertones of styles that blend in to create absolute ear candy which floats out of the speakers. With Brad Brooks’ wide-ranging vocal ability each song will take us on a voyage of sheer delight. A harmonious Funk-fuelled sound that brings these ever so important messages directly home! by Bruce E.J. Atkinson
Strutter Zine: Gabor Kleinbloesem (Holland): Strutter’Zine:BRAD BROOKS ‘GOD SAVE THE CITY VINYL RECORD’ (MOUTH MAGIC/USA IMPORT) The story behind the making of this vinyl record is remarkable and it makes the album even more sensational than it already is musically speaking. 5 years ago Brad started recording this album, but right before he went into the studio he found out he had throat cancer, so it is a miracle that the album is now released. It has 12 tracks in total and they are clearly showing the man’s ups and downs during those tough years of his life. Brad was kind enough to send me the beautiful vinyl record of this new album, and the minute I put it on, I knew this was going to be really good! Brad released his debut album Harmony of passing light in 2012, so hopefully I will be able to hear that record as well, because God save the city is a sensational album! Besides Brad on Lead Vocals and a bit of Harmonica, the other involved musicians are Erik Schramm: Guitar, Pie Fiorentino: Guitar, Adam Rossi: Keys, Andrew Griffin: Drums, Joey Dibono: Bass, Vicki Randle: Backgrounds & Percussion, Loralee Christensen: Backgrounds and Ralph Carney: Horns & Mojo. Together they have created a great pure American music sounding record that gives me a lot of memories of the good old past, without ever sounding dated. Opener and titletrack God save the city is a strong classic uptempo American soulful Rock and Roll tune, sounding raw and edgy, with Horns added it has a HANOI ROCKS, ROLLING STONES and a SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASHBURY JUKES vibe, but fans of might like this as well! Following track Feel the might is a different adventure, but surely a good one, because this is classic 1970s inspired Westcoast-Pop/AOR with that funky groovy vibe we know from the good old days when acts HALL & OATES, PLAYER and such light Soulful Yacht-AOR acts were ruling the charts. It even reminds me a bit of FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, which is due to the superb vocals of Brad, who reminds me a lot of FRANKE PREVITE! If you want a more modern comparison, then I should mention YOUNG GUN SILVER FOX or THE BLACK PUMAS, but here and there I also hear about similarities to classic SLY & THE FAMILY STONE. I think by now you’ll get the picture what this more or less sounds like!The soulful AOR continues on the ROBERT TEPPER (yeah, the guy who created one of my favorite songs ever, the Rocky 4 anthem No easy way out) co-written song Why do you hurt, so another hit for the fans of classic 70s Westcoast! Back to the old HALL & OATES school with the groovy soulful rocker Strange fruit numb, which even sounds like a lighter THE BLACK CROWES meets STEELY DAN. Once again, the vocals of Brad are amazing, and I am surprised he has not yet been discovered worldwide! His voice reminds me so much of such legendary singers like BENNY MARDONES, DARYL HALL, ROBERT TEPPER, FRANKE PREVITE, etc. etc. The most soulful song on Side-A is the ballad The chance, another pure HALL & OATES ish tune. Closing up the first side of the vinyl record is Millionaires, another ballad, but this time piano based.Flipping over to Side-B, it starts with the uptempo Lee Marvin’s Uzi, a catchy early 80s type of Powerpop/poprocker. Angel of angels grabs back a bit to the retro 1960s, with a slight ROY ORBISON meets BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN meets MICHAEL STANLEY ish Heartland Pop/Rock touch, but you could also label it as Working Class Americana with a lot of Soul, whatever you call it, it’s a great song to play loud and proud! Do the same for me is a lovely 80s orientated midtempo AOR/Poprock tune with a slight touch of QUEEN, and then I mean that Brad sounds really close to the legendary FREDDY MERCURY. Heartbreak of fools follows and is a little more going into a retro soulful poprockstyle that resembles ELVIS COSTELLO and especially JOE JACKSON in his late 70s/early 80s period. Burn it off is a calmer light Americana/soulful Country ish tune that sounds like it could have been a ROLLING STONES song, but it’s definitely written by Brad himself, and so are all of the songs. Scared I was is a very emotional piano ballad that closes the album in a RUFUS WAINWRIGHT meets QUEEN/FREDDY MERCURY style. Concluded, this is a highly recommended album from a superb singer who thankfully survived a horrible disease and is now making a huge comeback via this sensational release! More info can be found at: https://bradbrooks.bandcamp.com and https://bradbrooksmusic.com (Points: 8.7 out of 10)
Tracks Magazin-CH (Germany) Robert Pally: Robert has reviewed all 4 of my records over the years and I can’t thank him enough. The man is a treasure!
Passion Rock (France):
Adobe & Teardrops: Podcast : Rachel Cholst (Strange Fruit Numb at #2) A big thank you to Rachel for finding one of my favorite and what I believe one of the most important songs on the record.
Quarantine Creatives w/Heath Racela: Podcast. A nice long form conversation with Heath about the new record and what folks are doing during the Covid pandemic. One of the best interviews that I did in 2020.
What’s Really Happening? w/Luke “Walgreens” Sauer: fun podcast with Luke on FCC Free radio in SF.
Pop Culture Classics: Paul Freeman: Thank you Paul for the killer write up and much appreciated!
David Bash 2020 list:
Playlists: Thank you to all the good folks who have been playing GSTC all over the world!
Rockradio.de: (Germany) Holger Schubert: “God Save The City” CD of the week 1/14/21!
Bob Cesca Show: #2: More love from Bob Cesca playing “The American Ruse” that we did with Brother Wayne Kramer!
Hoex Radio.nl (Netherlands) Roland Eyerich: Thank you Roland for playing songs from the record on a bunch of your shows in Holland & beyond.
Dark Metal Radio: (Germany): Appreciate them playing (Angel Of Angles & Millionaires)
Woody Radio: Mike Lidskin: Mike’s been playing a bunch of songs from the new record and you can also hear the interview we did back in Oct.
Rarity Rock Radio: (Tucson): Thank you Michael & Cass for being the first ones to get behind the record!