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2005.03.DD - DRUM! - Cheesy Fun And Cubist Funk (Brain)

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2005.03.DD - DRUM! - Cheesy Fun And Cubist Funk (Brain) Empty 2005.03.DD - DRUM! - Cheesy Fun And Cubist Funk (Brain)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:13 pm

Cheesy Fun And Cubist Funk


By Don Zulaica

Brain didn’t know he was going to be juggling advertisement gigs with Tom Waits, Colonel Claypool’s Bucket Of Bernie Brains (CCBOBB), Bill Laswell, Primus, Praxis, Bootsy Collins, and Guns N’ Roses. He was going to replace Anthony Cirone in the San Francisco Symphony, and somehow … well … he got sidetracked. The man of many hats wants to have fun with music again, and is considering making a living by opening a public storage facility so he can “make avant-garde tweak ‘binge’ albums with Buckethead.” In the meantime though, he’s happy playing junkyard percussion with Waits, spreading cheese with CCBOBB, and looking forward to the (gasp) release of GNR’s Chinese Democracy. You heard us.

DRUM!: Between Tom Waits, CCBOBB, GNR, and everybody else, your Day Planner must be insane.

Brain: It’s getting kind of hard. The other day I was saying to myself, “Is this worth it?” I mean, I’m happy to have the work – when it rains, it pours – and when the work comes in, I just take it. I figured I’ve kind of over-booked myself, but Tom rarely tours, and we had a great time making Real Gone. He asked me to do some live dates, and it was in between the CCBOBB dates. We worked around Tom’s schedule in order to do the CCBOBB stuff. I decided, “Hey, let’s do it all.”

DRUM!: Is it tough to switch gears from Claypool to Waits’ “cubist funk?”

Brain: That’s what’s funny about the whole thing. I’ve always been a chameleon. Even in school – I’m half-Japanese and half-Italian – I could hang with pretty much any situation. I would hang out with the brothers and listen to funk music, and then with my white friends and listen to Van Halen. It always seemed like I was a chameleon, and the way I play is kind of an extension of my personality. Like when I’m with CCBOBB, I’ve got this big Neil Peart-ish kit with ten cymbals, an Octapad, Roto-Toms, and it’s all about improvising. The more notes, the more people go crazy. Then with Tom, I’m using fewer drums; a 26” kick drum, a floor tom, and a snare. No cymbals, four congas, and all this percussion – stuff you couldn’t even find in a junkyard. I’m going from more hi-hat notes than Stewart Copeland ever played, to no hi-hat. It is weird, but I’m able to adapt.

DRUM!: What was it like to meet Waits at first, musically?

Brain: I’ve been fortunate to play with what I would call my heroes: Tom Waits, Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, people like that. The people I find that are the raddest to work for, they kind of let you do what you do. I mean, when I go into ad sessions, 90 percent of the work I do is, “Hey, can you play this? Do it this way!” When you get into that world, when there are ten people sitting around with pens and paper – all not musicians – telling you what you should do, I call it a “wear down.” The things I’ve enjoyed the most are the ones where they never ask me to day anything, it just kind of happens. With Tom, I just walked in and it was, “Just do what you do and let’s see what happens,” which was so rad.

DRUM!: We have to ask. Guns N’ Roses. Can we talk about this?

Brain: I talked with Tom about this (interview) too, and he said, “As long as you don’t get into personal stuff, as long as it’s about music, I’m totally fine with that.” And that’s what Axl says. I can’t say what Axl eats, but I can talk about my playing.

DRUM!: Our readers need to know what Axl puts in his burrito.

Brain: (laughs) I want to say something, but I can’t.

DRUM!: Okay, Chinese Democracy …

Brain: … they’re pretty much 95 percent done with it.

DRUM!: (laughs) We can quote you on this?

Brain: (laughs) If you want. But really, I think the album sounds great. What we’ve done is awesome. I heard it recently and was like – damn. I want it to come out.

DRUM!: All of these big name bands and artists, and you actually had aspirations of taking Tony Cirone’s spot in the San Francisco Symphony. What went wrong?

Brain: I needed to get paid, is what went wrong.

DRUM!: That’s a Stewart Copeland answer.

Brain: Yeah, but it’s funny, just yesterday I was talking to one of Tom’s road guys, and I said, “I want music to be a hobby again. I want it to be where you just do what you want to do and have fun, and then if something happens with it, great. And if not, it’s not banking on that.” My new thing is I’m going to buy land and put public storage on it. That’s it. I’d rather make money in public storage, and then I could do an album with Buckethead for John Zorn’s label, and not worry about, “Oh, I’ve got to get paid now.” Every time that’s come into the factor, has just ruined it for me. I love music so much that I don’t want it to be the main factor for my living.

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