GOD SAVE THE CITY: OUT NOW!
It has been a long hard road getting to this point but “God Save The City” is out to the world!
Available in all digital formats along with physical copies (Vinyl/CD’s) through BANDCAMP!
I’ve been talking & talking about this record for so long and maybe you got tired of me telling you about it but it’s available NOW! It’s almost a miracle in itself because I never plan to take that long between records but sometimes there’s a certain amount of living that you need to do in order to make it real and tangible to the truth of whats going on in your head, in your life, and in the world. I’m excited that it’s getting out and it’s the type of record that’s a blast to play out and of course all musicians are waiting for that. When will that be? I call it “Soul & Roll”. You can shake & scream to it while your contemplating what the fuck is going on! I’d like to think the main theme of this record is perseverance under extreme times. Falling out of the darkness and stumbling into the light that’s hopefully not an on coming train. It’s like a Saturday night record, that creeps into Sunday morning. But also a shot across the bow to people who can’t see beyond themselves or understand that we all bleed the same, no matter our differences, or how we look.
I need to thank a lot of folks and I’ll start with the producer Adam Rossi who kept me on point, kept me from getting to precious with it, kept it raw, live & real. A band playing in a room! What a fucking novelty. The band of Adam, Andrew Griffin, Erik Schramm, Vicki Randle, Joey Dibono, Pie Fiorentino & Loralee Christensen gave me all that they had and it shows. We had a lot of joy making this record and these guys played their asses off and co-wrote some of the more “Soul n Roll” tunes (God Save The City & Strange Fruit Numb) and together they figured out how to do it in not many takes. A big thank you to Jerry Becker for writing with me (Feel The Might, Millionaires, Angel Of Angles) and really helping getting it to the finish line. I tend to take longer to write sometimes because the OCD in me needs to finish a song before I can start another and Jerry, who likes to write fast and with hooks really allowed me to just flow, work on it quickly, and come back and write another one. We also laughed a lot as that’s how much fun he is to write with. Jerry also mixed “Millionaires”. Speaking of hooks, I also need to thank my friend & mentor Robert Tepper for more than I can mention. I’ve told the story in the last blog but I’m so happy that the song (Why Do You Hurt) is going to finally be heard. We demo’d it in 89′ and now it’s out there. He also introduced me to David Lee Roth one late night in Phoenix, but that story is for another time. Life is weird! I also can’t forget about how much the world misses Ralph Carney. I don’t know if he ever knew how much he was loved & admired in the Bay Area and the longer time goes, the more you just realize that there ain’t another one like him. I’m so damn honored and glad that he is on this record & shines. Also my Tucson compadre’ Craig Schumacher mixed (Why Do You Hurt & Do Same For Me) at his candy store Wavelab, and they have been doing some incredible live streams over there.
I also can’t forget some key elements in this record and that’s some of the string parts written by Laela Peterson-Stolen (Deb Gravrock) and performed by Patty Espeseth & Pie Fiorentino. Those 3 make an incredible string section and there are some songs at the end of the record that just break your heart. This is the 3rd record that Patty has played with me on. Yo Patty Jo on The Cello!
Lastly there are some badasses from my last record “Harmony Of Passing Light”, namely the 2 guys who produced it, that are also on this record and that’s Paul Hoaglin who added some sublime pedal steel to “Burn It Off” and Sir Shay Scott of Klickitat Bandcamp who wrote the music to the final track “Scared I Was” which is probably the most intimate song that I’ve ever sang because of what I was personally going through & what state the world was headed. Also a big thank you to Brian Mello who put together the graphics for the vinyl version, along with Brianne Lucke for doing the CD layout. I’d also like to give a big massive thank you and gratitude to Mark Kitaoka once again for his incredible photographs that are not only a big part of this website, but also this record and also “Harmony Of Passing Light”. I’ve been lucky enough to be one of his subjects now for over 10 years, and he and Tracy Martin who put together this website are incredibly talented, caring folks who do amazing work. He’s gonna hate that I’m saying nice thinks about him, but fuck it’s true! Now it’s time to sell this thing so I can make another one. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
The video for “God Save” also came out this week and I wanna thank Chris Carlone for just adding the perfect amount of action along with some of his footage to what is a crazy ride of a video. It captures Oakland & SF in all it’s beauty & ugly truths. There’s footage of that crazy “orange day” during the fires. There’s protest footage from Jay Siegan & his daughter. There’s my friend Dr Grady Lethermon- Bey in front of Oakland City Hall. Because of Covid all of my plans to shoot the band with us playing live just couldn’t happen so I ended up shooting the band members individually in key spots to tell the story…………….This video took some time…….some of the footage was shot 2 years ago before the world changed……some of it during Covid……..and some of it last week……It started when I was looking for a storage locker and I found one near where I live in East Oakland near the 23rd yard. Enclosed in the facility is a large graffiti mural wall that says “Oakland Wall Of Fame” and in it I kept seeing the word “Dream”. It turns out that “Dream” was for Mike “Dream” Francisco who was a renowned graffiti artist in the 90’s who’s art was political in tone, and his pieces often critiqued the United States government’s treatment of poor and marginalized people. If you’ve ever heard the term “Rest In Power” it’s first attributed to him as he was unfortunately killed by an armed assailant in 2000, but his legacy and impact lives. This football field sized wall, all created and dedicated by his friends and artists from all over the world was speaking to me not only to that time period but to NOW. Had nothing changed at all? When I finished recording the song “God Save The City” I’d always envisioned the wall to be part of what I hoped would be the backdrop as the song deals with much of the same topics in the song, racially motivated police oppression, gentrification, homelessness. I wanted to be very careful about appropriation of culture in shooting this, but also to tell the story of what I’ve seen between the dichotomy of wealth in San Francisco and how it’s affected Oakland. The artist’s on this wall, (shout out to TDK) as well as all the muralists & graffiti artists that are currently exploding art all over downtown Oakland in wake of the George Floyd protests, are the real stars in this video and it is to them that I’m indebted for their creativity, bravery, activism, and inspiration.When we started shooting with my friend and editing genius Chris Carlone at the helm, one particular piece we kept coming to was called “Aerosol Moses” that I later found out was made by Caleb Aero, and it was this piece that became not only the center piece of the video but also the cover for the record. Thank you Caleb for it’s use and the inspiration! Fast forward to the onset of Covid, and now all of these things within the song & video have become even more antagonized & exacerbated and it is in these insane times that we release “God Save The City” to the world NOW!
Rarity Rock Radio: This radio station in Tucson headed by Michael & Cassandra Peel are just crazy enough to spend a whole day playing, talking about, and promoting “God Save The City” and I’m literally blown away by that. We did an interview a couple of weeks ago and they’ll be interspersing that with tracks from the new record. It’s amazing how much of a connection that any one who’s been part of that music scene continues to claim and grow those Tucson roots and I’m proud to have started my musical adventures there and hope to get back there and play when Covid ends.
Americana Highways “The Hard Road”……..Americana Highways: Album review A big thank you to Melissa Clarke and American Highways for premiering “The Hard Road” which is the documentary about my year of throat cancer, also to Jon Apice for his stellar review of “God Save The City”.
“The 12-cut LP is a miraculous comeback for a fine singer-songwriter who fortunately didn’t lose his voice or enough to sound raspy like the late Levon Helm. Though the opener is a balls-out rocker soul is the focus of the LP recorded with minimal overdubs & few multi-tracking tweaks. Brad’s tone possesses a cool old-fashioned soul timbre. “Why Do You Hurt,” could’ve been covered by The Temptations or the Four Tops at the height of their 60s power. It radiates Motown Holland-Dozier-Holland skill & top 10 grooves” (Jon Apice)
“The “Hard Road” video was produced by Tommy Rickard and Kari Zanotto; edited by Brian Zalewski and Scott Limanek; with Steve Krespel on sound and Steve Knox on camera. A glorious American story with ups and downs, this video is mesmerizing. Who is William Faulkner? Brad Brooks’ album is a work of art. Sample it as you watch the story unfold” (Melissa Clarke) Honestly after 5 years (So far so good) it’s hard for me to watch it as my body changed so much as I lost 40 pounds, but I also have extreme gratitude for it being out there to hopefully help anyone who’s going through any type of cancer treatment. It really is a mental challenge along with the obvious physical ones.
Another huge thank you to the fantastic rock magazine in Poland called Netfan.pl & Kamil Mrozinski for the long form interview about the making of “God Save The City” and a host of other topics that we covered and was extremely honored to be on the front for awhile there. You can check out the Polish & English translation, and I’m also excited to become their “Artist Of November’ and to part of a give away to some lucky fans out there. How amazing would it be to play in Poland? I wanna find out………..
A big thank you to RJ Frometa from Vent’s magazine for getting the word out about this important song. “Today’s single premiere “Strange Fruit Numb” is a fantastic track that does a great job capturing and balancing the ole school, gritty Blues and vocals with a much modern sensibilities”
In 2016 Philando Castile was pulled over in his car by Minneapolis police for a busted tail light and while attempting to pull out his wallet saying “Sir I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me,” was murdered point blank in front of his family. He had a license to carry it and did all that he was asked to do………….the officer was acquitted………………..in 2020 an officer sat on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes & 46 seconds ending his life in front of the world and changing it forever! This song was also inspired by a conversation that I had with Cherrie Williams “The Singing Domestic Doll Lady” in 2016 whom I met in my neighborhood in Oakland talking about the murder of Philando Castile and the BLM movement. She told me about “Causal Music” a term that she used to describe her music and what it meant to her, and after such an inspiring conversation, I went home and wrote the lyrics to “Strange Fruit Numb” that morning. We recorded it shortly after and now it’s coming out first right now today from the forthcoming new record “God Save The City”. Please listen and TMFT’
Also one more thank you to Jon Sobel from BlogCritics for the premiere of the “God Save The City” video and the kind words. Jon did a nice review of “Harmony Of Passing Light” and I appreciated him giving me the chance to talk about the making of it.
“The album is all about fighting and overcoming fear – beginning, in Brooks’ case, with a bout with throat cancer, a diagnosis tailor-made to send a singer spiraling. But you’d never know from the edgy songs and recordings that emerged. The title track kicks off the album with a howl, and we’re pleased to premiere the video for “God Save the City” today.
It was upon Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent sad death that I first heard people saying “Rest in power.” According to Brooks, the artist who first inspired the video is also associated with the genesis of that phrase. The video took root when Brooks was looking for a storage locker and found one in a facility with a large graffiti mural that says ‘Oakland Wall Of Fame’ and features the word word ‘Dream.’ “It turns out,” Brooks explains, “that ‘Dream’ was for Mike ‘Dream’ Francisco who was a renowned graffiti artist in the ’90s and whose… [political art] often critiqued the United States government’s treatment of poor and marginalized people.
“If you’ve ever heard the term ‘Rest In Power’ it’s first attributed to him, as he was unfortunately killed by an armed assailant in 2000, but his legacy and impact lives. This football field-sized wall, all created and dedicated by his friends and artists from all over the world, was speaking to me not only to that time period but to NOW.”
Doug Jayne: Midday Music, once again another shout out and thank you to Doug Jayne for playing “God Save The City” right next to the Boss. See I keep telling ya we’re linked!