Band Of The Week: Brian McKenzie
Brian McKenzie rocked our Neighbor Day Block Party this past September. He was so good we just had to make a band of the week here. Since his record, Resolution, was just released on iTunes thanks to Cloverdale Music today we thought the time was right. So check it out on BrianMcKenzie.com and listen to one track, Ruined The Air, above. We’ll be sure to let everyone know of shows as he gets booked.
BIO: Brian officially started his music career in the early 90s as lead guitarist, songwriter, and founder of the alt/metal band “Kilgore (Smudge)”, who were soon signed to Giant records (a subsidiary of Time Warner). He toured the country with the band, “lived off ham and cheese sandwiches, begged people to crash on their floors…until eventually upgrading to the Motel 6.” He was 19 at the time; too young to even be allowed anywhere near the bar of most of the clubs.
During the down time on the road, he began to become a fan of the singer/songwriter scene. “It was me, four bandmates, a soundman, and all of our equipment, packed like damned sardines in a cargo van with no trailer, so we all got lost in the music on our headphones to mentally escape for a while. …I started listening to artists like Glen Phillips and the material he wrote with Toad the Wet Sprocket. I really loved the way they worked the melodies and the harmonies, and the how the acoustic, not heavy guitar riffs, really drove the music. That got me thinking, and writing.”
In addition to listening to the singer/songwriters, those touring days also led to his introduction to early rockabilly, country, and rock n’ roll. “One night in wherever the heck we were, USA, my drummer, Bill, bought an Elvis CD at a gas station and I laughed at him. yeah, I know, I was young, what are ya gonna do? I had overplayed my cds, so I figured, what the hell, and asked him to borrow it. It never left my discman for the rest of the tour. Not too long after that, I got a copy of Elvis’ ‘Sun Sessions’ from my singer, Jay, and it opened up a whole new world for me. ‘That’s Alright Mama’ just blew me away. I went back and bought almost the entire Sun Records collection: Cash, Perkins, Jerry Lee…all of those guys.”
Brian moved on in 1997. “After two years of touring, and researching all of the music I had missed, I left the band, put down the axe, picked up my acoustic, and truly fell in love with it. I still love my Gibson SG, but my acoustic is part of me.”
Brian released his first solo CD “Days Like These” locally in 2003, and in 2004, moved to Nashville. “The amount of talent there was incredible. I met, performed with, and co-wrote with some great singer/songwriters during my time there.” In 2006, he moved back to Rhode Island and released the project “…and Always September,” locally.
He began recording “Resolution” in 2009 with his long time bandmate and friend Jay Berndt at the controls of his fully analog, Moto Destructo Studios. “I feel it is my most mature CD yet. The time I spent in Nashville shows on this one. I had a great time recording it, and I truly hope the people enjoy listening.”
Brian has recruited the talents of bassist Caleb Cook, drummer Chris Piccirillo, and harmony vocals of sister Lisa-Rose McKenzie O’Connor to create the solid foundation to bring the songs and the live show to the next level.