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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

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2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain Empty 2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

Post by Blackstar Fri May 20, 2022 4:25 pm


I'd Hit That Podcast: I'm in Venice, CA.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: With Brain.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: What's up, man?

Brain: Oh, just hanging. Drinking some sparkling water.

IHTP: Yeah, well, it's, you know, it's very European of us.

Brain: Yeah, power bars and sparkling water.

IHTP: Power bars is a good way to start the day.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: Do we want to talk about the space?

Brain: We use it for, like instead of bowling night out, it's kind of like hanging at the studio night out.

IHTP: Yeah, because it's kind of studio vibe, but it's also got a great hang vibe.

Brain: Yeah, yeah. That's sort of what we built it for. When we first got it we thought, "Let's build a control room," you know, like have it like a real traditional studio and, you know, this guy next door was building out the studio that way. And he came over and looked at our spot. We thought maybe we can get some free advice. And he was like, "Well, I'm building like studio right now, he's just leaving it open." We thought, "Wow, well, I am making a lot of money, so let's copy him." So we just kind of left it like this.

IHTP: But you live over in this neck of the woods or?

Brain: Yeah, I live about a mile away in Santa Monica.

IHTP: Because Brain was saying he's been doing more composing these dates.

Brain: Yeah, that's what I'm trying to get into.

IHTP: And spent some more work from home, got a home studio.

Brain: Yeah, I got a home studio and then we have this studio and... I don't know, it's probably about.... Well, with Guns it was probably... It started with, I think, Primus when we were touring with Slayer, I think it was with Slayer, and I think we were like in Norway or something and they were rolling these huge cases that just looked like they were just, I mean they had been around the world, their Slayer's cases, road cases, and they had like a sticker from every country and they were just beat up. And I just looked in the mirror and I was just like, "Wait, I'm starting to look beat up," and like, "I'm becoming one of those road cases, I can't do this for the rest of my life." So I just really started getting into computers and music. This is probably, you know, 1999, you know, around that time I was really thinking I wanna get into computers and computer music was just starting out. We had done Anti Pop and Stewart Copeland was produced a couple of songs and he was like, while he was helping us produce songs at Les' House, he was at the same time doing a video game and he was like, "I've been doing some composing and video games and stuff like that," and I had already known that he was involved with what he did, Wall Street and...

IHTP: Rumble Fish.

Brain: Rumble Fish? Yeah, I love Rumble Fish. I love that soundtrack. And I thought, I don't know, it's just something, you know, I just got that like it was like something that I just remembered throughout the years of just like, "Oh, that's interesting, he's doing like video games, like composing and stuff like that." And I always liked listening to the music in movies and stuff. I always kind of gravitated to that, not because I was like a drummer or musician, just more  I like the, you know, with the emotion and how music and film work together and if it's done really well, you get the best. Like Jaws or something, you know what I mean? It's the simplest thing, but soon as you hear that, you just go, "Oh! Shit, the sharks coming!" or whatever. You hear this, that low base and it's this, "There it is!" So I don't know, I just always have gravitated towards that. So when he had said that I had thought about it and when I saw those cases and thought, "Wow, man, you just tour for the rest of your life and you're just going to be this like, you know, road dog and just, you know," so I was just like, "I gotta get into something!" So I just started really getting into computers and music and just taking theory lessons, you know, jazz, piano, just classical, chamber music, everything. I just studied all kinds, this theory-

IHTP: You got off the road with Primus and you just went right into-

Brain: I was doing it while I was on the road. So I would be like studying, you know, learning. And when I was off the road, then I would take lessons, get back on the road and just learn how to like plug in, you know. I remember being out with like Guns N' Roses, we were doing like Rock In Rio one time and Bucket and I would just be sitting there and trying to figure out how to like plug the first sound card that someone had sent us, into our laptops, it was like that black old school laptop, into the PCM slot or whatever and trying to make it, you know, we spent like 8 hours just trying to get like a piano to come through the keyboard or something, you know, because it was just that it was so early. So I was always interested in it and doing it while I was on the road and then, you know, since then, I mean, I remember when I bought-

IHTP: But you're self taught, is what you're getting at?

Brain: No, I mean, well, you mean as in traditional composing?

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: I mean, yeah, I mean, I guess if you're talking about, you know, going to like, you know, NYU and taking the film composing class and learning orchestration-

IHTP: But even, you had the attitude of, "This isn't going to be my future," like you knew you didn't want to be a touring guy, like you said.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: You just figured that out early, obviously.

Brain: Yeah. I swear, dude, I still remember when those cases were rolling up and I saw them all beat up. and I was just thinking, "Wow,  I'm just gonna be one of those guys that's just on the road till I'm 50 years old, just like, you know." So I thought, "Yeah, I want to know-"

IHTP: You were young.

Brain: Yeah, "I want to be sitting behind a desk."

IHTP: Yeah. Yeah. Did you did you have that discussion with Les at that point? Did you ever?

Brain: No. No one knew.

IHTP: OK. You just kept it to yourself at that point.

Brain: Yep.

IHTP: And you're like, "Alright, so I gotta figure something else out. I gotta have a plan."

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: Yep. And even-

IHTP: And "I don't know anything about anything," ss that what you're saying? You couldn't play piano or guitar or bass at all?

Brain: No. That part, yeah. So, you know, I would take private lessons and then from there just just figure it out. But I was always interested in computers, anyways, just, you know, computers and music, just like getting like Electronic Musician or Sound on Sound and those magazines as I was touring and just kind of going like, "What? What? These people are... What is this stuff? Oh, that's cool! Laptop and you can record or-"

IHTP: So you were geeking out on this stuff like early on too like just computers in general are you good with?

Brain: Yeah, I mean, I was never like programming from scratch, like, you know, like creating the plugins and using... you know, I had friends that were using this program called Chemo where it was just like, I don't even know if it exists now, but it was the most, you know, it just was a blank page and you just connect a bunch of fucking lines together and before you know it you can make sounds. You know, it's just that kind of synthesis. I was more just like, "Well, I wanna take what these people have, you know, started and kind of use it in a way to like, you know, express what I want to do on the keyboards and stuff, I mean, you know, with keyboards and with computers and music." [beep sound] Well, there's that sound.

IHTP: There's that beep again, folks. Alright, it's time to play [laughter].

Brain: And it's out, yeah.

IHTP: We took the batteries out of the smoke alarm. It wasn't that.

Brain: I don't know what that is. It's like a bomb or something like that go off. But, yeah, I mean so, yeah, basically that's how I started getting into composing and fast forward till now it's kind of like, that's mainly what I've been doing. But I get to double dip, I mean, I play drums on the soundtracks that i'm either composing or producing or working on.

IHTP: Yes.

Brain: Sometimes I just get hired to just play drums on, whether it be a film or a video game or, you know, whatever.

IHTP: But are you getting calls from bands or artists these days who are like, "Dude, can you just come lay down something?"

Brain: Yeah, I mean, I did some, just some shows and did some stuff with The Crystal Method, so that's recently what I've been doing.
Most of the stuff I've turned down, like, you know, a big one was like when Joe Satriani called me, I think he, you know, replaced me with Vinny Colaiuta, so I don't think they missed me. But, you know, he was like, "Hey dude, you know, I got this album, we're gonna go to Skywalker Sound, do all this stuff." And right then I was just like getting a video game with Sony, it was the infamous #2 [?]. It was from the infamous series, right now I think they're on #4, but. And it's a big AAA game on, you know, for Sony PlayStation. And I was just getting it and going, "Wow!" that was my big turning point of, "Wow, I can either start getting into that or go back to just, 'OK, we're going to be in Europe for, you know, six months....' I don't know if you've seen those double decker Europe fucking tour buses, but no one wants to be on those things. So, you know, I mean, I just had to say, "You know, I'm getting into this, I have to take a chance, you know, I have to break in at one point," and it worked out great. I mean, the soundtrack was great. They asked me to come back to do #3. So, you know, Infamous Second Son just came out, so. You know, I got to play drums on it. I'm just trying to get that going.

IHTP: You're happier, man. You're doing your thing. You don't wanna be doing that. So what was the last touring thing you did? Was Guns?

Brain: Yeah, full on tour was Guns. Yep, the Europe Tour, the European Tour. I remember leaving.

IHTP: And what year is that, by the way?

Brain: 2006, I think it was, 2007? So, you know, I've been off the road now, you know, because the stuff I do with Crystal Meth was local. Stuff like that. It was just like some TV shows, stuff like that and, you know, it's great playing with those guys. I mean, those guys are like, you know, awesome. But I don't know if I missed the road, you know? I don't know.  And like, Larry goes back out with Primus and he's like, "Dude, I'm going out for six weeks, I missed that." Like, "Oh, I know that grind, I know exactly what's happening." You know, know exactly what venue they're in and what the toilet looks like and you know, the shower doesn't work in that one and, you know, that kind of stuff. You know, and because this is just a whole new thing, it's just like, I'm learning so much and half the shit I literally just walk in and like, you know, these, like, executives at Warner Brothers and they're talking about some kind of show or some movie. And they're, having terms where I'm just like literally under the table, just like writing them down. As soon as I leave out of that, you know, room, I'm like, "Wait, what, what, what, what, what is he talking about?" Like, "What, sync to what?"

IHTP: Sacrificial [?]

Brain: "I can do it, man. I can do it now." I'm just literally like on the phone, just going like, "Wait," 'looking up the term', going, "Oh, OK, that's what I'm supposed to do," and then go home and do it. So, you know it's a learning experience, but I think it helps to come from, you know, like Cliff Martinez who does some big movies and who's a big, you know, composer. Just like, I don't think he ever won an Oscar but some of the movies he's composed of won Oscars and, you know, he was the drummer for the Chili Peppers, you know, and Captain Beefheart. I kinda try to model myself off of like what he's doing, you know, kind of be the guy who has a specific sound, not the kind of guy who has the... when you deal with the Hollywood orchestral sound there's people that can just can run circles around.... You know, that's what they do.

IHTP: You're trying to compete against Hans Zimmer and-

Brain: Yeah, I went over to Hans, one of the composers that was on Infamous Two, Jim Dooley, was at a remote control, went over there and they got, you know, like 5 screens and just everything's touch screens, it looks like fucking you know, like the - what's that movie with the, you know, like with Tom Cruise where he's just sleeping and doing all this shit with like screens and stuff and and sounds coming out, you know, just pointing fingers and shit moves? You know what, I'm just like, "Yeah, OK, no, I'm not going to compete with them." You know, I'm gonna be on the fucking floor, you know, Tom Waits style, hitting shit and doing stuff. Yeah, I can't compete with them so, you know, I just kinda gotta get in where I fit in.

IHTP: Yeah. Alright, you mentioned him. We jump around. That's how we do it. Let's go to Tom Waits. How does that even happen?

Brain: Well, that was a good story because I didn't really even know who Tom Waits.... I'm kind of embarrassed. But I had heard of him. But I didn't really know. That's all I want to really say. I guess he needed a drummer and he was up, where Les is, Sebastopol area, and I think he's in Valley Ford Tom or whatever, you know that area or whatever. And it's kind of all close together up north in, you know, past Marin, San Francisco Bay area, about probably an hour and a half outside of the bay, north. He needed a drummer. This was before I was in Primus and he just said, you know, Les was just like, "Oh man, you gotta get Brain, try out this Brain guy!" you know, because I was around town playing, doing some stuff. And then Les calls me and says, "Dude, Tom Waits is looking for someone and I recommend you do." And the idiot that I was, because I was into fusion, like, I was into like Zappa, you know, Terry Bozzio, Vinny Caliuta.

IHTP: Vinny was your guy.

Brain: Yeah, I was into trying to learn how to play in 21-16, in 19-16, and learning 'keep it greasy so it goes down easy' and all the 'shut up and play your guitar' stuff. I was trying to learn 5-5-5. I think at that point. And I was like-

IHTP: You were that guy!

Brain: I was a fusion nerd. Mahavishnu, just Tony Williams, believe it, I would kill if I could be that. You know, I was like a fusion guy. So when he said that, I didn't know about, oh shit, songwriting and just fucking, just vibe and feel, and making you know, a pot chick cry or something, you know what I mean? I was a music dork. Just, drumming nerd. So Les calls and says, "Dude, Tom Waits," I'm just like, "OK, yeah, I mean, sounds good," you know, I'm just thinking in my head like, "Well, you know, shit, I want to get this new Joe Montanari snare drum or this pork pie kick drum so maybe he'll pay me enough so I can get the," you know, something cool, you know, or something, you know, like that. I'm living at my parents at that point because I'm flat broke and Les says he's going to call and I'm just like, "OK, great." Heard nothing. Then it was probably 11:30-12:00 at night, I get a call and my mom literally is like, you know-

IHTP: He called the parents house?

Brain: Yeah, yeah, I'm at my parents because that's the number he had.

IHTP: Beautiful [laughing].

Brain: And so it's like, I get on and it's literally like, "Right, this is Tom," I'm just like, "Oh, hey, what's going on?" He's like, "Hey, man, I need you to come down tomorrow." And I'm just like, "OK, cool." You know, I'm just like, "Yeah, that sounds good. Like where, where are we going?" And it was.... It was where the tubes.... I forgot the name of the studio.

IHTP: It's where Prairie Prince and the Tubes rehearsed?

Brain: Or it's where... he had he had built like a room and I guess he's a painter so he painted on the wall-

IHTP: Oh right, right.

Brain: I can't remember the name of the studio but it was up north and he said, you know, "Here's where we're gonna meet this is what we're gonna do." But, "What kind of drum set do I bring? Like what do I do?" "Just don't bring anything that you can buy in a store." And that's all I remember. And I'm just like, "Oh, OK," you know, so and I'm just like, that was it.

IHTP: Did you have anything that-

Brain: Well, now I started panicking. So I woke up in the morning, I called a friend who knew about Tom. And he goes, "Oh, you know, bring some cool stuff, bring some cool weird percussion, just bring some, like, whatever you can find, like a garbage can lid as a cymbal, stuff like that." It was Joe Gore, I think, who was telling me about him. And Joe Gore was the editor of Guitar Player at that time. He's a great guitar player, plays with PJ Harvey and actually was playing with Tom Waits also, I think a little later Joe Gore got in because I think that was another Les hook up. But anyways, let me finish the story because it didn't end then. It went from 'don't bring anything that you can buy in a store' to calling back and literally just going - he didn't even really even say like, "Hey Brain, what's going on? It's Tom again," it was literally just, I answered the phone and it was like, "Can you bring some shoes that have wooden soles on them or wooden like, like heels or something?" I'm like, "What?" He goes, "Yeah, we're just gonna pound on some stuff with our feet." And I was like, "OK," and he was like, "OK, I'll see you tomorrow." And then that was it. So I'm like, now I gotta find some, like, clogs with like, you know, so the next day I gathered a bunch of junk, threw it into my old beat up like Honda Civic, drove out there and I think we were recording for Bone Machine. That was the album. The one snare I brought because I thought he would get a kick out of it was a Joe Montanari metal snare that was made out of a bullet shell.

IHTP: Wow.

Brain: Yeah, it was a bad-ass snare drum. And I don't know where that snare drum is to this day. I think I lost it somewhere on the road or something because, you know, I had so much shit. But yeah, I remember that. So I brought that. And after I told him the story, he was really into it, you know, he thought, "This is bad-ass," you know, like, "Yeah, let's use this." I use that on the album, but for, I think, two or three of the songs we literally, he just set up a bunch of wood and I literally put these like clogs on that I had found that had kind of like wooden soles, and we tapped out rhythms together. Like the song would just start and I never heard the songs before and he would just say, "Roll!" and it would just... There's one song on there I think - I forgot what song it was - where I had never heard it and he just said, "Roll!" and I had my headphones on and I had a snare drum and like a piece of metal in my hand that I was like hitting another piece of metal and we had like an old 26 inch like marching band drum that didn't have any [?] so every time I kicked it, it just kind of wobbled away. And he rolled the tape and because it was 24 track at that point, and he rolled tape and I'd never heard the song and I'm missing breaks, just never knew what the feel was, I just kind of heard and just started going through it, and at the end he like pressed the button, he was like, "That's awesome! Sounding like it was recorded in jail," like I was in another cell or something and he was... and he left it and it's actually on Bone Machine. And it's like, that's the track, I can hear myself missing breaks, like I played this like a snare fill the wrong time and then it goes into the next break and he just thought it was cool. Like it just sounded gone and so. Yeah, I mean, you know, I can go on forever, that's like one other recording experiences with Tom, you know, it's just kind of like... I mean, he's rad because he's the first one there. And if, like, the session starts at like 10 in the morning and I thought, well, I'll get there a little early so I get there at like 9:30, he's already bringing in car parts and shit to hit on. Like he'll just be fucking carrying like a fucking carburetor into the door. Like, "OK, we're gonna try, you know, hit this thing and try this," you know, so, I mean, it's amazing, you know. And he's got like the best people working around him, like there's like a $50,000 chain of recording gear to record like a beat up carburetor that he had, you know, found in the back somewhere.

IHTP: Beautiful.

Brain: Yeah, you know what I mean. And then... oh, this is a good one. I know I'm jumping around-

IHTP: No, go ahead, jump around.  

Brain: Dude, when we did the Real Gone tour there was a wheel, a cart wheel, like a metal - I guess from an old like carriage -  that is part of the sound, it makes like just one tone. It just goes "ping!" It literally was probably about 5 by 5 feet circle, you know, just like a circle and probably about 5 inches thick, but we would hang it and we'd hit it and do that thing. We built a road case to fly that thing out to Europe and I remember going up to the tour manager and going, "Dude, Tom wants to bring this," and he was flipped out of his mind because-

IHTP: He would use it like, what? Once?

Brain: Yeah, once and like literally just go "ping!" in one song. And the case I think was like $7000 and it was like $15,000 of shipping. And it was some of the most awkward piece. [laughing] And he was like, "No, I want to bring it and it's got a flight," -

IHTP: "I need that thing."

Brain: Yeah, yeah! It was genius. I mean, it was just so rad. I'm just like, it doesn't get any better than this, right?

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: You know, like, really, we're taking this fucking wheel to Europe.

IHTP: "We're taking the wheel!"

Brain: Yeah, yeah! The wheel went. This is the greatest gig ever. I mean that's so cool, you know, but it was that kind of shit just, you know.

IHTP: Because you started recording with him.... That took how long?

Brain: Well, I mean, we would do like a couple weeks, two to three weeks of solid. I think Real Gone, we're even there longer. You know, Real Gone was more where he wanted a kind of a band. So I was the drummer... because he hires a lot of different people. He plays a lot of the percussion to himself and stuff. I think he gets like a lot of people to come in, play on shit and then he kind of sifts through it later, you know. It seems like it because you know, except for Real Gone, it was me, Mark Robo, Larry Taylor, like we were the the trio and we started from scratch. I mean we were in there and we, you know, we recorded like every day, you know, for probably two to three weeks and just started making up stuff, you know what I mean? I mean, on that one he was experimenting more with loops and stuff so it was kind of cool, and even samples. So at that point that's when my - because this was this was around 2004 so I had already get gotten into computers and music and stuff - so he recorded all these sounds in his shower on a cassette of him hitting cowbells, making weird sounds with his mouth, finding any weird kind of percussion and hitting them. So he would just be like, "Huah!" "Hieh!" "Ooh!" like weird sounds in the shower so it sounded crazy and it was on the cheapest $2.50 thrift store like cassette type thing and cassettes were even gone by then.

So I was totally into the computer and music thing. So I had my computer... I can like make, I could blow that into this program, I was using Peak at that point. I had Pro Tools and stuff like that, but Peak was a great two-track editor. So I rerecorded, digitized this cassette, that he had, into the computer and I cut them up, made samples out of all the sounds that he just randomly was yelling or stomping with his feet and whatever, and put them, in Peak, cut them up and then blew them back out into my MPC - because I was totally into hip hop at that point and I was collecting all the MPCs and had this guy Bruce [?]... He did all the sounds, I think for Michael Jackson's album, on the LM1 [?] and all that kind of stuff back in the day, he's right on Ventura Blvd. And Bruce and I became friends and, you know, he's the one who paints like Doctor Dre's, you know, all his stuff and you know, he had one there that was purple for Prince, you know, he's had Kanye's white one and all that kind of stuff. So I had all these pimped out NPCs so I thought, "Shoot I'll bring this on tour," you know, I sampled all his sounds, put him in, you know, the MPC, and I had it to the left of me. And he just loved it because I was playing the stuff that he had as rhythms with the drum set. So I had like, you know, a manhole for a symbol, weird snare drum that, you know, he had found somewhere, you know, and then had his sounds here. So I was, I was introducing a little electronics on Real Gone and that's how we made those sounds on that album. It was pretty cool. And he was excited about that. You know, because it was a way to like play his stuff in rhythm with the music and stuff like, you know what I mean? It was pretty cool. So that's how.... I don't know how I got off track?

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2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain Empty Re: 2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jan 10, 2023 8:29 am

IHTP: There really is no track in a way. It's really just, I mean, he didn't really know what he wanted. He had ideas and he wanted you guys to, he wanted everyone to experiment together. Like you said with you Marco Robo and Larry-

Brain: Yeah, there's a funny story with Mark and I and Tom. He stepped out probably, you know, he was gone for about an hour and Mark, I guess, knew some of the chords to one of the songs that he wanted to try. So. I was like, "Well, you know, Tom's gone, you know, can you show me what's going on in this particular track?" And so he's sitting there and Mark is kind of going, "Oh, we go here, we go here, A flat here," you know, we're going through it. I'm tapping some stuff out on, you know, my legs and just kind of working out ideas. The door opens and Tom walks and he's like, "What do you, what are you guys doing?" And Mark's like, "Oh, I'm showing Brain the song," and he's all, "Oh man, don't ruin it!" That's him and he doesn't.... It doesn't matter. You know it's like he doesn't want you to-

IHTP: Don't rehearse the-

Brain: Yeah, yeah. I think it was Bill Laswell who one time told me, you know, I was totally into Ornette Coleman, and he was saying that he just did this thing with Ornette Coleman, you know, he played a show or something, and he was just like, I go, "Well, did you rehearse? Did you do whatever?" He goes, "I just went over to his house and we had some food and we talked," and I said, "So that's how you did this?" He goes, "Yeah, it was just like, you either know or you don't." You know, on that level it's just like you're the right guy or not. I remember Miles Davis saying he can see a guy walk and could tell if he can play the drums or he's a good musician. There's just something there. It either works or it doesn't.

IHTP: It's like, I was gonna say you had that obviously, because you did that with the Bone Machine thing, he called you back for-

Brain: Right, right.

IHTP: -for Real. And then you go on tour. Is that a long tour? Is that like-

Brain: Well, the tour went like that, yeah. I mean, I got a story for the tour. I think we're in Berlin and I think we did a sound check for six hours, like a six hour sound check. Went through songs I had never heard, just, you know, whatever. Or, "Here's a song I wanna try, remember the gig last night, you know, we fucked up some shit, let's practice this." Whatever. We're just doing a 6 hour sound check. Got all the songs we're going to do for the set or what we're, you know, for the last set, we just played down, totally got it all down. It feels great, you know, gonna play this great two hour show. Go to the dressing room and Kathleen, his wife, brings down the set list. Not one of the songs that we rehearsed for the six hours is on there, and I don't know about seven of them. So I start to get kind of a panic attack and going like, "What the?" like, "There's nothing on here we rehearsed, we didn't do anything." You know what I mean? I go running up there, I'm knocking on the door. Tom's getting ready. So Kathleen opens. You know, I'm just like, "I don't know like seven of these songs, I've never heard them. Don't even know what they are," and Tom, you know, I could just hear him in the background going, "That's fine. Don't worry about it." And we go out, we play, and it was awesome. I don't know how it was awesome. I don't even know what some of the songs were. It's just that's how... you know what I mean? It was like we did all that rehearsing to be a band. Then it doesn't matter, when the show starts it's like he just would call something off or he'd start, Mark Robo would just start the song because he knew them, or he didn't, or he just saw the chart, or he just.... A lot of the times I asked Larry, the bass player, and he says, "I just watched Tom's hands. I'm just behind him on the, you know, upright and I just, I know he's going to C, to F, to D flat, to whatever, and you just kind of follows it and it just kind of goes and he flows and I just get some brushes and..." As long as Tom is up there playing piano, it doesn't mean nobody else really cared if I was there. I think that's really what I got at the end, you know? I mean, that's kind of the the way it was. It was just, you know, it was about just vibe, I think, you know. There was like kind of opposite of Guns N' Roses, you know. Guns N' Roses was like, let's rehearse Welcome To the Jungle seven million times. You know, and that fill wasn't exactly the same. And I'm not dissing Guns. We can get into those stories.

IHTP: Yeah. And we will and we are. I mean, you're doing that. Remind me actually of the order of things, because you came in Guns....?

Brain: Yeah, I mean, the way it kind of went was.... Like the stories I was telling you about Tom happened somewhere before Primus, and then post after Primus, in between when Axl didn't do anything for two years. I went out with like Real Gone. But it basically started with, I did Tom Waits before I even did Primus, because Les had recommended me - because I had known Les around the Bay Area just from him being in this rad band Primus-

IHTP: And you were living up there, right?

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: At this time?

Brain: Yeah. So I was just one of the drummers in town and and just playing, so I think Les just said, "Oh this guy's a good drummer, so Tom's looking for someone so check him out," type thing. And then I was doing somewhat lesser side project stuff, you know what I mean? Like just sausage [?], stuff like that, you know, and then when Tim [= "Herb" Alexander] left, you know, I remember one day I was here in L.A. doing studio work and I got a call, I was living in Silver Lake, and, you know, it was Les [=Claypool] and he was just like, "Hey Brainer, what's going on?" I just be like, "Oh nothing, dude just, why? I don't know, what's happening?" He's like, "What if Jane's Addiction called you right now and said they need a drummer?" And I was like, "I don't know, that'd be cool. I'm kind of hurting, you know? I'm just kind of sitting here doing things," like "What if the Chili Peppers called you right now and said they needed a drummer?" And I was like, "Wow, I mean, that would be great." "What if Primus called you right now, said they needed a drummer?" And I was like, "That's that sounds cool, too." He goes, "Well, I'm calling you, why don't you get over here and do some jamming," you know. So I went, did some stuff, and I think at that point he was trying Jay Lane out and me, we were the last two going. And Ler [=Larry LaLonde] and I we had this like Frank Zappa cover band called Caca together and, you know, we do all Frank Zappa covers and stuff. So I think Ler and I had this connection that was pretty tight and I think Les just saw that and just thought... .You know, because Jay is a great drummer and he went off to play with Primus. He was Primus', I think, original drummer, before even Tim. I think he was doing some stuff with them. Yeah, I think it Jay Lane and Tim came in. Yeah, I think so, I think that's how it went. But anyways, Lest was just like, you know, "So what do you think, you want to do this?" And I was like, "Well, I know everybody, this would be great, yeah." So I went and did Primus. Then after Primus, I did Guns. Then when we had time off, I did Tom Waits. And then I went back to Guns and that brought us all the way to the 2006 when I started getting into the composing.

IHTP: And you're like, "Get me out of all this."

Brain: Yeah, because....Yeah, Guns has a way of doing that. I mean, Axl's always been great and, you know, all that. But by the end I was pretty much like, yeah, that road case and the touring was getting to the end. And I'm just like, "You know what? I'm gonna go back and do how I wanna, you know, and my life with, or whatever." So that's sort of the way that went. So the Primus thing came with Les and I just being friends, really.

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: And him just going... And then that's how it kind of got into, because I was listening to some of your other podcast, I was listening to the Josh Freese one, and he was talking about how I got into Guns was through Buckethead because I introduced Buckethead to Les and all that, to bring him on the Ozzfest. And Buckethead kind of came in to that thing because I had met Buckethead through Joe Gore, who was the editor of Guitar Player, said, "Dude, this guy sent me a video cassette of him just saying he can take out Paul Schaefer and his band." [laughing] So it's a video where he's just in his bedroom soloing, and he had some, Maximum Bob was his name, just yelling into the camera going, "Paul, you need to get Buckethead to play guitar!" Buckethead was just going [imitates squealing guitar sound]. So he had turned me on to Bucket, I turn Bucket on to Bill Laswell, who said, "Bill, you gotta check out this guitar player, he wants to-"

IHTP: So had you met Bucket at that point?

Brain: Once. Yeah, before Joe Gore brought him and he was this kid from... What's that area right in between... Claremont! He was from Claremont, CA. Never been to the outside of it. You know, he was in like, San Francisco. And, you know, he was just this freaky dude who, you know, he showed up in a mask and did his whole schtick the whole time and and then we hit it off.

IHTP: You met him under that, like-

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: And he had the mask? [laughing]

Brain: Yeah, he had the mask. He had-

IHTP: Did he talk?

Brain: I mean, he kind of, he was talking with a puppet.


Brain: And then we just hit it off.


Brain: Maybe we should just end it right there. There's nothing else to say, dude.

IHTP: [laughing] "Talking with a puppet!"

Brain: Yeah, he has this puppet that he talks through.


Brain: Oh shit, I can't take it. [laughing]

[long pause while both Brain and IHTP tries to recover from laughing fits]

Brain: But I introduced Bucket....Sorry man!

IHTP: So fucking [?]


IHTP: Okay, okay. So Buckethead comes down, he's in full regalia. He's doing the full thing. He's talking via puppet. I can see that though. I can see like clicking with the guy, being like, "This guy's alright, this guy's-"

Brain: We just hit it off! And Joe kind of just said like, "I think you guys will get along, I think you should play..." You know, so I was doing the Limbo Maniacs then and I gave Bill Laswell this tape, right? And he gave it to Bootsy Collins. And Bootsy just flipped out. So Bill made a band called Praxis, which was Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, me, AF Next Man Flip from The Jungle Brothers, and this guy Torture. I mean, and we made that album.

IHTP: I mean, that just came on?

Brain: Yeah, yeah. Bill just had this thing with him and, you know, and then Bootsy and, you know-

IHTP: But how does that even... how did you get in? Who started that again? Bootsy?

Brain: Bill. Bill, after I brought this cassette.

IHTP: Okay, Bill Laswell was the ringleader.

Brain: He said, "This guy's amazing and he's out of his mind." You know, and the first time Bill met him was, he had the mask on and the puppet, because he would talk to the puppet.

IHTP: He would do this like even with Bernie Worrell and Bootsy-

Brain: Yes! And they loved it. First time Bootsy met him he had the mask on. I'll never forget it. We're at Greenpoint Studios in Brooklyn, NY, and, like, at that point there was like a building on fire next door and we all pulled up and it was just chaos, and, you know, Bill's totally in that 'chaos never dies' William bro stuff [?]. So it it was just crazy. Bucket's sitting there in his mask, like, with the puppet talking to Bootsy who was just going, "Yeah, man! Yeah, yeah, I get it. I got it. I got it!"


Brain: He's so in [?] got the puppet when he needs to go to the bathroom, he like asks with his puppet head, and he's gone, and I'm sitting there just going, "What the...?" You know, chaos never died. You know, that's it.


IHTP: Fucking puppet [?]

Brain: Yeah. And that's what he did.

IHTP: Did you ever... have you ever been to his home? I mean-

Brain: Bucket's?

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: Oh, yeah. We're best friends.

IHTP: I'm saying, you finally.... What does it take to like get behind the mask?

Brain: He doesn't let too many people get behind the mask. I would have to say, you know, me and about three other people have been the only ones that have probably ever got behind the mask. And, you know, I haven't seen him in a couple years because, you know, I just think that we just played each other out, if that makes any sense. We've been working together for 15 years in solo projects, like Giant Robot, we did together, we were in Guns together. He was like my best friend, you know, I think we just played each other out.

IHTP: Yeah, sure.

Brain: And I think we just kind of said, "It's time," you know, "Brain, you're doing this thing now, I'm gonna go solo, do my thing." But, I'd have to say, he was one of, I mean, and still I consider him one of my best friends, I mean, you know, he doesn't let too many people in. I mean, in Guns, the greatest thing was, you know, he would do the puppet thing and what wore out the managers. There's millions of dollars on the line and they're talking to a fucking puppet! So finally he just went MIA and the only way to get ahold of him was through me. And it was kind of fun. I mean at that point I was kind of like "Oh, okay, they only get a hold of the main guy keeping it together, Slash's replacement, was to go through me." So I kind of felt like a big cock, you know, whatever. I just thinking, "Oh, okay, they gotta go through me. This is cool!" you know?

IHTP: You were acting as Bucket's manager in a sense?

Brain: Kind of because that's how close we were. I was saying is that we got along, you know, like musically we got along, just everything, you know.

IHTP: There's obviously a sense of humor there.

Brain: Yeah, it was. He got off on that it wore everybody out and that I was together enough to speak for him.

IHTP: Did he give a fuck at all or did he just not-

Brain: Yeah, he cared so much so that that's, I think, was his protection. It was like, you know, "I can't get worn out by this because I do care about this." It wasn't from a punk rock attitude, it was from a, like, " I'm scared," you know, "So I don't wanna get worn out by these lawyers and I have a talent here." I think he knew he had a talent that people wanted so he would just wear them out with... You couldn't get a hold of him for like a month, we're going on tour. "Is he coming? I don't know if he's gonna show up." I think they actually, like, had people like, like undercover cops, like checking him out at one time. He  called me and he's all, "Brain, there's a car out front. It's been there for like three days." And I'm like, "What?" He's like, "Yeah, I don't know what's going on." And this was before we're supposed to go on a major Guns N' Roses tour. "I think they're wondering like if I'm gonna come or..." We didn't know what's going on and so he was paranoid and scared. So he said, "Okay, I'm gonna go out there with a mask." And he had a hatchet, so he said he went out there with a mask and a hatchet and just stood next to the car and he was just like this [likely posturing]. Just stood next to the car!

IHTP: He stood tall like a British Guard outside Buckingham Palace.

Brain, Yeah, yeah! With the mask and a hatchet. And they just looked at him, and they just took off. So I think he was being followed. You know, I mean, he never found out the truth, but I think that's how paranoid, that's the game he was playing. Because he was MIA for like a month sometimes. "Where's Bucket?" "I don't know," "No one knows where he's at."

IHTP: And they always come to you?

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: "Brain, you know, where is he?"

Brain: And I'd always know and I just play like, "Yeah, yeah." I mean, it was part of the game, I mean, I think that was whole thing, you know-

IHTP: But he's almost like in wrestling, like Parts Unknown, right? He's that guy. Like, we're not supposed to know.... You know.

Brain: Yeah, I mean that's just the whole thing. So, yeah, we were really close, you know, and we had some wild, crazy times. I mean, it was crazy. But he never swears, he doesn't drink, nothing. He's as clean as... you know. And oh, man, I mean, the letters that he would get from the lawyers in stuff because he would just wear them out so much. "You're never gonna work again." "You'll be working at a gas station before you ever will pick up a guitar again." It's like they would try to call him and they would just get, you know, like Looney Tunes would come out of his answering machine, and you know, there's a huge tour coming on and The Haunted Mansion would come on. You know, he loved Disneyland. He signed his contract with Axl at Disneyland.

IHTP: He forced Axl to do that?

Brain: Yeah, I think Axl went to Disneyland and they signed on the Haunted Mansion, I think as he was on the ride he signed the contract.


Brain: You can't make this up!

IHTP: Like he was doing the whole puppet thing with Axl.

Brain: Yeah, with everyone. Every rehearsal, he had the mask on. No one ever saw him without it.

IHTP: And Axl loved it?

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: He did.

Brain: I mean, oh yeah.

IHTP: He must have.

Brain: Yeah. I mean, how could you not love it? I mean, it was awesome. It was just the greatest. Every time it was like, "What mask is he gonna walk in this time?" You know, and he would have a different one on and, you know, whatever. I got a picture of him just, you know, being swamped at Rock In Rio coming off the bus and he's just got, like, you know, a Freddy Krueger mask on and he's just signing, you know, no one ever saw him. You know, that was his thing. Yeah. It's pretty good.

IHTP: I remember seeing some video of you guys, like you come in behind the drums and like you guys did something-

Brain: Oh, yeah, yeah! [?] video.

IHTP: Was that your idea, that kind of set up or is that him involved too?

Brain: On that one that was him doing a favor for me. I was like, "Dude, can you, you know, do some crazy shit, let's make some stupid shit." I'm making this video for DW, and we called it the 'Brain has made the worst drum instructional,' because it-

IHTP: Which is a great title, by the way.

Brain: Yeah, yeah.

IHTP: Way ahead of its time.

Brain: It was the worst. So we thought, "Yeah, let's just go with it." But yeah, Bucket did that on Prairie Son, because that's where we did that also.

IHTP: The studio?

Brain: That's where we were, that's where Tom had me go on that first time.

IHTP: [?] Gray Princess.

Brain: Yeah, I went back there to do that stuff. But you know, I mean, we've been in here, we did a lot of Twisted Metal, which was a game for Sony, we had three or four tracks on there and we did them here. Bucket was in here doing them and you know, on that couch, just soloing. We've watched, you know, just horror flicks, put on horror flicks and just solo and jam and stuff like that. But, you know, I think Axl and everyone loved it. I think Bill loved it. Axl loved it. You know.

IHTP: Axl didn't even care when the lawyers were pissed, he was like, "Fuck-" He probably loved that.

Brain: I think he was doing, you know, billion dollar deals and trying to build the Guns N' Roses hotel and stuff. You know, I think it was just the chaos. It's just like another thing.

IHTP: So you were swept up in a machine at that point.

Brain: Yeah, the Guns thing was... that was the first time... Like, joining Primus was the first time it was like, "Oh, okay, I get it, it's a job," you know, and it's not a bad job. But, "Hey, we have to tour," and it's like, "you have to show up," "you have to do stuff." It wasn't just, "Oh, I play in a band when I want." Or sometimes I'll get a gig and I'll play some, I mean, you know, do a studio session and do stuff like that. I was never like the studio session kind of guy, you know. Maybe I just didn't have the talent to just pull it off or whatever, but I'd always like, there had to be more. I couldn't just go in and like read a chart and play something. I wanna know like, well, what are we playing? What are we making? What are we trying to make this? What are we saying with this that we're making? You know, I couldn't just, I just need to get my paycheck and play. That's why I think composing and that stuff is perfect, because the stuff that you have to do now, you're looking at scenes and you're saying, "Well, what type of sound are you making for this? Is it gonna be dirty? Is it gonna be clean? Is it gonna be," you know, "what mood are we trying to set for this setting?" And so it was hard. I think, you know, a lot of times I'd go and do studio work and people would just be like, "Look, dude, shut the fuck up, we just want you to play [humming rhythm]," because I'd be going like, "I don't think this is... you guys got the wrong drum sound if that's what you're going for, cause what are you trying to make out of this beat?" you know, like, "What are you saying with this thing you're making?" And so I think it was like just too much. So I think that's why the composing thing and that stuff was just the perfect, you know, kind of segway for to get into because it's like that's what I get called for now. It's like, "Hey, this is a game and it's like it's set in New Orleans and we need. you know, second line fields, we need you to gather some players together, we need you to, you know, get that kind of sound, how do we put it together." And I kind of, you know, I'm into, I can make that happen, you know. So it makes more sense than being just like, "Oh, I'm just gonna go to one session after another and I'm just the drummer," you know? "I'm just playing," because I like to get into the sounds and the feels and, you know, "Well, what kind of drum kit is gonna work, what are you actually, you know, making from this?" or whatever.

IHTP: Yeah be creative.

Brain: Yeah, cause a lot of it's not, it's just more, "Hey, just play the part, it's already set up," and it is just what it is and you just go in you do three or four sessions a day. I could just never be that guy because I just wanted it to be more, or something. Maybe I wasn't as good as like [?] or Josh where they could just go in there, and Kenny Aronoff and just, you know, kill it or whatever, you know.

IHTP: Did you get a lot of opportunities to do that though?

Brain: I mean, I did. I got asked a lot, but I shyed away because I just felt-

IHTP: You turned stuff down?

Brain: Yeah, I would turn it down, which isn't, you know, I'm not happy for because I could use the money now, but-

IHTP: Are there things you wish you had?

Brain: I mean, there was a point, you know, even when I was done with Guns and I was trying to get in as composing thing and you know bands were calling like, you know, at that point I think like even Korn called and they were just like, you know, "Terry Bozzio wants like $5 million to go on the road. So, you know, can you do it for like, you know, this amount of money?" and I'd be like, "Oh no, I'm just sitting here and we're trying to figure out how the Azio driver goes into the, you know, blah blah blah folder and you know the thing," and I remember the manager going, "You not like money? Hello?" Like, "I'm offering you a bunch of money," you know? And I was just like, "I don't know, I just getting off on, you know, I'd rather do this."

IHTP: Because, like, "I don't really like Korn."

Brain: Yeah, I mean, I love Korn, don't get me wrong. But I don't wanna go out on tour again. I just don't want to be the drummer playing behind, you know, the thing or whatever, you know. You know what I mean-

IHTP: But there's someone who could drag you out, right? I mean there's gotta be that one thing or a couple of things that, "Well, if they called I definitely would go."

Brain: Yeah, I mean at this point, you know, I don't really know. [ping sound again]

IHTP: Times up.

Brain: I mean, yeah, I can't really. I don't know really, you know, cause I really was into hip hop at one point and then I would be talking to these guys and be going like, "You know, I would love to play with Dr Dre," or "I'd love to go out with like something like that, some hip hop thing." And I'd be talking to the engineers and they'll just be going, "Dude, they just said, you know, you're not even in the mix." They just have like a 2 mix. That's my gig as I turn up the 2 mix. So would you really want to do that... I was talking to Dave, or whatever, about his Miley Cyrus stuff and how much work he had to put into that, you know, or whatever. And he was like, and I was just thinking, "Shit," you know, "I'd rather fine tune my craft of recording and, you know, learn from, you know, watch some 'How to record'-"

IHTP: Because, I mean, nothing's gonna also pay like it did. I mean, you were there in a nice sweet spot where it's it-

Brain: Yeah-

IHTP: - changed that Guns... Guns, I mean that has to be the right-

Brain: I was just talking to somebody about that two days ago because they worked over at Sanctuary and they were, you know, talking about this and they were saying, you know, I had some friends, and I was with Pablo and Kenny and they were talking about... That period, money was being thrown around like there was no, I mean, just like whatever. And I was telling them the story of like, how I wasn't, during the Tom Waits period, I wasn't - I guess I won't get in trouble for this stuff - but it's an amazing story, but during the time we, I think we just played like Madison Square Garden, everything went great and then we're supposed to play the Spectrum. And to make a long story short, you know, it just fell through. It was like one of those things where Bucket and I are in hotel room, and we're watching chairs being thrown on, you know, Channel 7, into the... they're like, "The Guns N' Roses show is not gonna happen."

IHTP: "Axl refuses to come out."

Brain Yeah, and then Clear Channel calls and says the whole thing's over and we're flying home. So I went out with Tom Waits for like two years. And did his Real Gone album, it was that period. And then they asked us to come back to do it. And during those two years I was supposed to get paid, but I didn't know, I was making money somewhere else and doing that stuff. To make a long story short, they paid me for the two years when I got back in, which would be unheard of to write a check for somebody doing nothing, you know. But money was just like, "Oh, we need Brain-"

IHTP: You were on retainer.

Brain: Yes. It was just like, but on a ridiculous amount of retainer, like hundreds of thousands of dollars kind of retainer to just... You know, it was like they would just throw it at you, you know. So it was kind of like, nowadays you'd be lucky if you can, you know. I mean, I'm sure Paul McCartney or something still pays 15G of week or something. But, you know, to get to be getting paid, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars to just sit around.

IHTP: That's over, man.

Brain: That's over. I don't know who would get that. I mean, I've been out of it for a while so I couldn't imagine. And these guys, you know, my friends Pablo and stuff who was in the record industry at that time, was telling me that that was a period where there was this money being thrown around, you know?

IHTP: Because you came from the Primus thing, making some money. I mean, it wasn't crazy, but it's making money.

Brain: Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, Ito this day and Les made me a member. I mean, you don't have to do that, you know, I was a third or whatever, of merchandise, of everything. I mean, it was the greatest thing. I mean, you know? I mean, that's unheard of, right? For to join a band now and just be like, "Oh-"

IHTP: Yeah, basically.

Brain: Yeah. You know, now you got so many great drummers that they're just, "Oh, we'll just hire this guy," and just get, you know-

IHTP: Yeah, it's gonna be a rape.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: And then from there you go to Guns.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: And I guess, I mean, how does that happen, again?

Brain: So yeah, we were doing Ozzfest and Les had known Bucket around, you know, because he knew us and the Limbo Maniacs and that kind of stuff and we had introduced him to Buckethead and, you know, he was like, "Hey, we should get Bucket to come out and sit in on a couple songs." So Bucket was out with us and I think Ozzy wanted him at that point, you know, because it was the Ozzfest and Ozzy was like, you know, I think Sharon was like, "Shit, Bucket would be great." But I think they had kind of a falling out with like, they didn't want to wear the mask or something like that. I don't really know what happened.

IHTP: They wanted to dominate him.

Brain: Yeah. And I think-

IHTP: Sharon wants to dominate.

Brain: Probably. Yeah. I don't really know too much about her, but I'm sure it's, yeah, it was a vibe like that. So that didn't really workout. And then I guess Josh recommended Bucket for Guns. You know, I had heard the stories that Josh was sitting around for like three years and someone like him who's, you know, one of the greatest drummers and could play anything with anybody, that would probably kill someone who has that kind of talent to be sitting around for three years, not touring or doing something. So Bucket was just like, "I don't think Josh is gonna make it," you know, "I don't think he's gonna like, keep going off this thing." And I was kind of at the end of Primus, it was kind of getting to where Les wanted to break off into doing some other things in the jam band scene. I think he was just picking up on that was a cool thing and he's such a great musician that that was a great way for him to just kind of show more of his talent. So I think he was like, "Okay, Primus, we play the same songs every time and it's just a certain form," and I get it, that's his job and he has to do that but I wanna get this jam band thing and we were kind of getting further apart, you know, as far as like, just, you know... I don't know, we just both felt something or whatever. And then Bucket had called and said, "Hey, Josh is leaving. Do you wanna come and play?" and I was like, "Well, I don't know, that sounds kind of cool, I guess. I mean, you know, I don't really know. I mean, it's probably crazy." But I'm not trying to sound like a heavy but in my mind, I was like, "I don't know if I wanna play rock." I mean, I thought Axl was cool when he was throwing the mic around and going crazy with his ascots and be a freak. And you know, I thought that was cool, but I don't really listen to their music. I don't really know anything, I was really into, you know, like beat music and hip-hop and that's when like computers and music was just taking off. So getting into Logic, getting into Pro Tools, getting into Cubase and all the loop based type and recording in the computer stuff was was popping up. So I was like, "You know, I don't know, I don't know if I want to do that." I'd say that was like what happened in 2006 when I really dove in, I was thinking that actually around 2000. But then Axl, they were like, "Well, why don't you just come down and meet everyone?" you know, "because everybody wants this gig." You know, "Kenny Aronoff's knocking on the door and all these people want this gig and they're saying, 'I'm the drummer for you,'" and I'm kinda out of just being like, not really interested. I'm thinking maybe that made Axl a little like, "Wait, no one says they don't want to play with me. This is Guns N' Roses." So I think there was a thing like, "We're gonna fly you out to meet everyone." So they get me a first class ticket from San Francisco to LA, like a a ridiculous, like, 550SL something something something Mercedes, black, all tinted windows, comes and gets me, they drive me to the studio, you know. I met Axl and they were like, "Well, you have to learn these songs," you know, like, "We wanna jam," you know, "You have to learn Sweet Child O' Mine, this, this, this and this". And I was just like, "I don't really know those songs and I don't really want to learn them because I don't really care," you know? I'm not saying like I'm a heavy, I'm just saying that through the my attitude of "Just, whatever," it was just kind of like, "No one says whatever," you know? "This is Guns," so "Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait!" So I went down and met everybody, and everybody seemed cool. Axl actually showed up. He was super cool, you know? I go home. And three months goes by, and you know Tommy Stinson, the bass player, calls and says, "Dude," you know, after three months, like, "Hey man," you know, "we need a drummer, so what's going on? I mean, you wanna do this or what?" And I remember sitting in a cafe in San Francisco while I picked up the phone, I was like, "Yeah, I don't know. I mean, it sounds kind of cool." And he's like, "Well, you should come down and jam," like, you know, like "learn some songs and do whatever." So it finally hit me then because they flew me out, we went to a ridiculous rehearsal studio, I think it was at Center Staging or something and it was like the biggest room, and my drums are on like a 6 foot riser and all these things are said, you know, I'm just thinking like, "Whoa, this is kind of cool. This is like, you know when you go to like the 10th floor, this is 11th." This is like it!" you know, "shit man, maybe I made it if I take this gig. This is getting serious now." So I go in and Tommy Stinson shows up, you know, with his Replacements punk rock attitude, you know, and I had a boom stand. He comes, he fucking takes off his coat, sets it on my boom stand. I'm thinking like, "This motherfucker!" like, "Okay, they want to play here." So we're, you know, playing the songs and I am sucking cock. I mean, I didn't know any of them because I didn't. And Tommy's going like, "I thought you were a good drummer, like what the fuck's going on?" you know? And I'm like, "Dude, I didn't learn any of the songs. I don't know any of them." He's going, "Dude," and then like, the phone rings and I hear him talking to like, Axl, it's like, "So how's Brain's working out?" I just know this is what they're saying. And he's going, "Well, it's kind of cool but he doesn't know any of the songs." And I hear Tommy and him kind of going back and forth, and at that point I thought, "Oh-uh", like now I'm turning out to look like a fucking douche. So I said, "Tommy, give me a day, just give me a fucking day and we'll come back." I came back, I reset my drums totally different. At that point I had kind of the Primus fusion set so it didn't really work with Guns anyways, right? You know, just having all these little small toms and fucking splash symbols and shit. I told the drum tech, "Dude, set up a bottom kit," you know, 26 inch kick drum, 13, 16, 18, fucking, I'm going in with just power, sat up all night, learned, you know, the five or six songs and went, "If fucking Tommy comes in one more time and puts his fucking jacket on my... I'm gonna go..." and went in and just played. I kicked over... by playing so hard I'd say four or five drums fell off the risers. And then Tommy was like,  "Yeah, he's our guy, that's it. Let's do this." So I knew I had to kick do it at that point, because now I am going have like, "That guy sucks!" You know, so I said, "Okay, this is it. I gotta kick some ass and get my shit together." And then I felt like this is the real deal. I mean, these guys, you know, this is as big as it gets.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Jan 16, 2023 2:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain Empty Re: 2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

Post by Soulmonster Mon Jan 16, 2023 10:57 am

IHTP: It's major leagues.

Brain: Yeah. You know, it's like Primus was big and we played some shit, but now we're-

IHTP: You went from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Yankees.

Brain: Yeah, yeah. It was it was like-

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: And so I was like, "This is when I gotta step up now." And then it was like, "Oh, this is cool," you know. I started actually listening to fucking... I owe it a lot to like that first Guns album and whatever. And really listening to and going, "This is a well crafted album. The parts are orchestrated." You know, I was just like in fusion and playing, you know, Primus was like jamming a lot and it was good and there's a certain side that you have to be able to do that. But I had learned by studying that album and listening to parts and like how Adler played and the feel and just the whole thing, I'm thinking, "This is a well crafted album. This is like good rock'n'roll," in that sense or whatever. Because I mean, I would always listen to Zeppelin and all that kind of stuff of course, and learn that, but it was more just like, "Oh shit! Trying to get Bonham's kick drum, trying to get..." you know, what the parts he's playing. This was actually kind of going like, "Wow!" listening to the parts and seeing how it works with the guitar and seeing how it moves with everything and, I don't know, it was good for me. It was great that I did it, you know, to learn and to do that. You know, I don't regret any of it at all.

IHTP: I was gonna say also, I mean once you get in, the money starts coming in.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: Right?

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: And that's must be all very nice.

Brain: Yeah, it just felt like it was the right thing. You know, and it was a good learning experience and some of the the techniques and stuff I know about recording was from some of the most amazing engineers and stuff that were on that gig, cause there was a lot of downtime, like Josh would tell you or something about, you know, being in the studio, I think we were at the Village for like 6 years. You know, I think I must have the record for the drums being set up in one studio the longest because it was literally like six years we were there. I would just wear out these engineers who were the best in the world about recording, how to utilize, you know, the software in the most efficient way and all that stuff. That's how I learned most of my techniques that I do now for the composing I'm doing from those guys. So I would have never have had that unless I was like thrown in that situation, you know, in the highest level, too. You know, and the people over at the Village and stuff, Jeff Greenberg, I think he's the owner now or whatever, he was so nice to me, you know, and just let me go in there all the time and just wear everyone out about recording and stuff so, you know, that was good. You know that stuff.

IHTP: But the politics and all that...

Brain: I mean, you know, there was some amazing... The stories I have with Guns, you know, like, everybody who I think has been in Guns can write a book, you know, within the period that they've been in. And in the eight years that I was in, or whatever I did, I think I could write one too. You know, the most ridiculous stories ever of the tours and just, you know. I don't know if you even want to get into those or whatever?

IHTP: Do you? Do you want to get into them?

Brain: Well, I mean, the thing that wore me out was at first I thought it was funny, I thought it was cool to be like at a gig that was supposed to start at 10.00, or like maybe even earlier, 8:39 and now it's 12:30 and the crowds going crazy and Axl's still getting his massage and, you know, the tension and the whatever. But you do that for like three years and you start to just go like, "God, I'm kind of ready to play at like 8, I just kind of want to do that and then eat my fucking pizza and go to sleep." But, you know, it's just like-

IHTP: You're on his clock.

Brain: Yeah. And after a while, that's what kind of got me. I was kind of like. Because to me the whole 'chaos never dies' with Bill Laswell and stuff and, you know, with Buckethead and the puppet and, you know, then with Axl and, you know, he's the ultimate puppet master because nothing happens unless he says 'yes' or whatever. And just some of the freedom that we had, you know, was also like what killed it for me, you know, because it was just too much. I can describe it in one story, we were getting ready, I think it was Rock In Rio, and I think we rented out the Sony where they did like the Wizard of Oz, so it was like the Sony lot, it was like this huge lot, and he wanted the whole stage set up, that we were going to have at Rock In Rio somewhere, so we had to go there because they had to mark it out. So we're there rehearsing and rehearsal started at 12 midnight.

IHTP: [sighing] Ooh!

Brain: So first of all, you gotta switch your whole schedule around. We rehearsed for like a month, the set, getting it down

IHTP: At midnight, every time.

Brain: At mignight. He didn't show up. We'd always get that call around like 4 in the morning, like, "Oh-uh, he might come," we have to all be like ready to play. But I think it was the day before the gear was supposed to leave. I think the crew had been there since like maybe 8 in the morning, you know, setting up, making everything... You know they have to break it down and the gear has to leave, like literally the next morning. Well, we're there and on this particular day we rehearsed the set, 2 1/2 hours, did the whole set. It's probably 3 in the morning now, Axl from Malibu called, he's coming, and he wants to see the whole set again. He wants to, you know, watch the show. Everybody's like, "Okay."

IHTP: He wants to watch?

Brain: He wants to watch the show.

IHTP: So you're just gonna play the music?

Brain: We've rehearsed only the music. He would never sing with us. We knew the set-

IHTP: Never?

Brain: Yeah. So he wants to come and watch it, so they put a couch out. You know, we're on this big sound stage and there's just a little couch out there next to the soundboard, right in front of the sound guy. We had already played for 2 1/2 hours. He's coming to check it out. Well, an hour goes by. "Is he really coming?" You know, the road crew's now, everybody's literally asleep, everybody's sleeping like, you know, next to their gear. Yeah, he wants to come but the problem is he wants to see the whole show, pyro and everything. So we're like, "Wait." I think each time the pyro guy hits the fucking thing, it's like $3000 for like each bomb or something, you know, just going off. We're gonna do it in this sound stage but in order to make that happen, they gotta get the fire department down here because, you know, just in case. So now the fire department comes down, but I think they're digging it, they're thinking, "I get to watch Guns N' Roses rehearse, so whatever." So they show up, we play the set from like by now it's probably 5, so we're playing the set. All I can remember is, I am playing like November Rain and they have the rain, the... What is it called? Like the fire rain?

IHTP: Oh, curtains of spark?


Yeah. The curtains of spark are like bouncing off my cymbals, like burning my face and like getting on my, like, shorts and shit like that. And I'm playing, the door opens, it's daylight. People are going to work like, you know, just like walking. Like I can see, you know, it's totally black but you see the door open for a second, one of those sound stages, you see people like coming to work. And we're playing now, we've been up since like 12:00 o'clock, the road crew has been up since like 8, now they've been up for 24 hours. He's in the chair with his cross [or arms crossed]. Just watching. We've been playing-

IHTP: Arms folded?

Brain: Yeah, just watching. We're playing the whole thing, bombs, fireworks, everything's fucking going off. We end with Paradise City. [humming the song] You know, doing the fucking shuffle thing. They blow the confetti shit, the shit that they do at the Super Bowl [laughter], like goes all over and has like six inches on the ground of a football field, so you can imagine how much it filled this place up. And dude, I am not joking, it's like 7:38 in the morning and in my mind I'm doing this, it's the most surreal moment, I'm just going like, "Who's got to fucking clean the confetti?" Like, "What are we doing?" Like, "Some poor guy has to sweep 6 inches of confetti!"

IHTP: You'd make a horrible Axl Rose, Brain.


Brain: But we hit the last not, he gets up, walks out, didn't say a word, didn't see him. We just get up, everybody goes home and the next time we saw him was in Rock In Rio. I mean, that's sort of Guns in a nutshell. Like, that's the chaos and what happens.

IHTP: There is no such thing as like hanging as a band with A... No such thing?

Brain: There is. I mean, you know, we hang and stuff.

IHTP: Once in awhile?

Brain: Yeah. But I just meant like that's the kind of chaos that would be around it.

IHTP: Just stupid shit.

Brain: We would just think like, "What are we doing?" Like, "Okay, someone's gotta blow confetti at 7:30 in the morning in the Sony lot", you know, "It has to happen? It really has to happen?"

IHTP: "Really, we're doing this now?"

Brain: Yeah, I mean, it's hard, dude, I don't wanna talk shit because it was the greatest time ever, really. It really was awesome. But I have to tell these stories but there's nothing against Axl, I mean, he was always good. It was just like, this is how it rolled, he rolled. You know, this was the gig-

IHTP: This is what he gets away with.

Brain: Yeah, this is the gig. "Yeah, alright, we're gonna blow confetti at 7:30 in the morning, playing a shuffle." [laughing] You know, a fucking shuffle. And Buckethead's doing fucking break dancing in the side while the shuffle's happening, you know, he's moonwalking. "This is it, huh? This is as good as it gets."

IHTP: "This is as good as-"

Brain: Yeah, yeah, this is it. Fucking shuffle, 7:30 in the morning, just the boogie woogie shuffle is I think what took me out. The [makes drumming sound] and then going like this stupidity and me going like, "Shit! I wonder if I can really do at 7:30 in the morning what Adler was doing on the album, which is three notes in a row?" [claps how Steven drummed on Paradise City] Not [claps a different rhythm]. He's fucking doing [claps the first rhythm again]. With fucking one foot. I couldn't do it. 7:30 in the morning with the confetti, not good enough.

IHTP: With the confetti, I like that [laughing].

Brain: If the confetti wasn't there, I could have pulled it [laughing].

IHTP: Yes, 7:30 you could deal with.

Brain: That's like the dumb drummer in me that I was thinking, "Oh, maybe if there was any meaning to this is that I could, you know, like get the [taps the correct drum pattern again]," but nah, I couldn't do it.

IHTP: That was like one of the toughest grooves?

Brain: Yeah, that's hard to play.

IHTP: Yes, it is.

Brain: With one foot it's really hard to play.

IHTP: It gives you a new respect for Steven Adler.

Brain: Yeah, but he might have not had to do it at 7:30 with the confetti.

IHTP: Yeah, no, no.

Brain: And I had done the set, you know, three hours before that or whatever. So I was already doing that.

IHTP: Did you ever talk to Matt Sorum or these guys at that point?

Brain: No. He never came around, Steven Adler came to a couple of shows. He came to a Vegas show. But I've never met Matt Sorum. I don't think I've ever met him.

IHTP: I was just curious if you ever like talk shop with any other guys, like... As far as...

Brain: No. I mean, there were stories that were going around about the previous band and the chaos and that.

IHTP: With the Josh thing?

Brain: Yeah. And that's why I was just like, everybody can talk about this, everybody could write their own book.

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: It just keeps going. But, you know, to this day I've never had any bad, you know... I know that probably the other guys in the original band will probably have, you know... I don't know what they would say. But he was always good to me and it was always like, you know, anytime I was hanging with him or whatever, it was all good, you know, there was no weirdness with that. It was just, that was what was happening. That's why I was saying, like, I don't feel bad saying this stuff because I'm not looking at it as it's a bad thing. I'm looking at it as it was kind of rad. I just think I got older and was just like, "Wait a second, wait until two in the morning is not so fun anymore," you know? It's just like, I was just getting-

IHTP: That sucks.

Brain: Yeah, you know, yeah. I was just like there comes a point where it's just like, you know, I just kind of want to do my work and get some shit done. But with that, it's kind of like, well-

IHTP: [?] the money, man, that's hard to walk away from.

Brain: Yeah, yeah.

IHTP: You had to think that out. You knew, like, "I walk away, I walk away from all this."

Brain: That's why I was saying I was kind of dumb. Man, I'll never forget when that manager dude was telling me, you know, he was just like, "Wait, are you saying you don't like money?"

IHTP: Right, right.

Brain: "Isn't this what you do?"

IHTP: Korn!

Brain: Right, "I wanna pay you." Or to leave Guns, you know, cause I left-

IHTP: Oh, this was during Guns that you got-

Brain: Well, I left Guns and then they had called, you know, when I finally had left Guns or whatever. I mean, I left because, you know, I had a kid and I just thought, I wanna really get this composing thing going, I wanna give it a shot. I wanna see if I can get some stuff going and sneak into it and make something happen. And I've done this, I mean, how many more shows do I need to play? I've toured the world three or four times with Primus, probably, yeah, more than that, five, you know, times; with Guns, three or four times we did it. Because I was the first one that toured once he got the band back together. I don't think Josh played a show.

IHTP: I don't think they did.

Brain: So we we had done two or three tours. Like you're asking me who I'd wanna play with, of course there's people that would be honored to play with and that I admire. I just don't know if I'd wanna do the work. Especially after hearing what Dave was saying about Miley Cyrus and like, learning all the charts and just hitting every, have to play every note exactly how the album was, had to hit the pad at this point and that thing. I don't know, I wanna put what I know and the work that I know into something else.

IHTP: But would you go back out with Waits, for example?

Brain: Oh, yeah. I would go out with Tom. His son Casey plays drums with him now. We're really good friends and stuff. He started, you know, playing drums and he'd be on tour with us and come out sometimes and we're still good friends and, you know, we talk every so often. But I think he just uses him now. After I left it was just Casey exclusively, I think.

IHTP: Because you were dealing with like the, as you said-

Brain: If Bob Dylan called me there, I'd be honored.

IHTP: Now, there you go.

Brain: Yeah, I would go out in two seconds. Or Paul McCartney or somebody like that, you know, or whatever. Yeah, definitely. But you know, just to go out with like a another band... Or, I would want to be a part of a band. You know, if something started or something like that, I would love to do that and have creativity in it and and be a part of it. But just to be the hired gun, I think I'm just, you know... Because I still get to play drums and stuff on all the projects, you know, like any film stuff or any video game. They know that I know that side of it so usually it's a game that has a lot of percussion and drums in it that I'll be involved in. It's not like an orchestral thing or, you know, something like that, or only orchestral stuff. Yeah, I mean, you know, I would like to... I mean, if Axl called.. I mean, I do miss playing live, you know. I mean, I would want to do stuff as one offs. I wish I could get back into, you know, like maybe just one tour, knowing that was going to be it.

IHTP: A one tour thing, yeah.

Brain: Yeah, instead of going and then I can come back and do what I want or whatever. That's why The Crystal Method was so cool. Yeah, you know, because it was just like, "Hey, come and play these shows," and they are also composers, so I would learn a lot and watch them and how they work with computers and music. And I love their programming and they're great artists. So I felt like I could learn something in that whole scene. But, you know, to be involved in what I'm doing now, which is like the video games and and doing, you know, this movie stuff, I mean, I love it. I mean, you know, on this last video game, on Infamous, you know, we're at Skywalker with like the 70 piece orchestra. You know, playing, like, parts that I was fucking doing right here. They had the budget to like doing that.

IHTP: Do the real thing.

Brain: Yeah. And asking me questions and shit me just going, "Yeah, that sounds good. Yeah. Yeah. Have the [?]", you know, and have the violas, like played it and you know me just going, like, you know, going-

IHTP: "They're gonna find me out, they're gonna find me out!"

Brain: "-figure this out soon," yeah. You know, I'm partnering up with this girl, Melissa Reese, who is classically trained, and we just did that film for Joseph Conda [?], Power Rangers thing, that I was talking about that went viral for a little bit. We teamed up on that to, you know. We're hoping that's going to be our stepping stone into film and stuff because it went so viral, got like 15 million hits and stuff like that. That's what we're hoping to do, as far as a reel, you know, we've done enough on the composing now to to have a pretty good reel so I'm hoping I'm already kind of in it, like if-

IHTP: Do you have an agent like in this department or?

Brain: Yeah, ICM. So we we have Bryce over at ICM, they're one of the biggest and so-

IHTP: So you're just being out there, like, dude-

Brain: I think I'm dabbling-

IHTP: They're saying to other people-

Brain: I'm seated at the restaurant. I'm not sure they're gonna serve me yet. So I'm waiting to get served. It was hard, dude. I mean I think it takes probably 10 years for someone to say he was a drummer and then now they look at you as, "Oh wait, now he's a composer, he's doing this." Like Cliff Martinez, I would look as well, he's a drummer, I mean, he's a composer, even though he has some good credits as a drummer. It's hard to break and like I said, 2006 I started getting into this, and the only real gigs that I've been playing are, you know, we did some with maybe Buckethead and Crystal Method, that was about it. I think I did a couple with Bill Laswell and stuff like that, but that was about it. So I've kind of got, as far as like drumming, I've kind of like-

IHTP: You're in your 9th year so according to that next year-

Brain: I'm thinking, yeah, I might-

IHTP: -could be a pivotal-

Brain: People will start looking at me and saying like, "That's what he does." That could be my turning point because I would like to spend the next 10 years doing this, you know. I would love to like do two big movies a year, you know, like, two cool movies a year would be a great career. You know, spending time and really crafting it, not just, you know, shitting this stuff out, like getting budgets that let you work on it. That's the great thing about video games is we do have the budget, you know, on some of this AAA games like Infamous. I mean, shit, you know, you can go online and do like 'behind the scenes' of Infamous II and III and you know, they'll show us, you know, at East West for two weeks recording and Skywalker recording an orchestra and stuff like that. I mean, what even albums nowadays are you allowed to do that? I mean, it's ridiculous. Because I really like the crafting. I really like the kind of, you know, you're building a house and you're trying different fixtures. "But what kind of curtains are gonna work in this room?" You know, and taking time and having that kind of budget to really design something.

IHTP: That's the thing. Again, having the time.

Brain: Yeah, because most people don't do that. That's why I don't like ads. I don't like working with ad agencies. It's just, "Oh, how fast can you get this to us?" You know, I mean, I'm not gonna say no if someone's gonna pay us $75,000 to make a 60 second-

IHTP: But that's not what you're trying to do here.

Brain: No, my goal would be to have the time, you know, have the two movies, big budget movies a year. And having a fan base, you know, someone knowing you for the sound that you're making. So you can kind of have that personality that I had a little bit in with drumming with this too, you know. I mean, the ones I look up to all have that. I mean, like Terry and Vinny and all those, you know, in drumming. I mean, they're like gods, you know? And Neil Pearts and those kind of things, I mean, if I had half of that in the composing side, like I had half of it with the drumming side. And I'm happy, I don't need to be Hans Zimmer or fucking John Williams, you know? But if I can have a little bit [then] I'm cool because I'd rather be that guy who's crafting. My joke was I have like five fans. You know, wherever I go, I have like five, three or four fans that show up. "Oh Brain, we like you!" You know, Axl has 30,000, Buckethead would have 15,000, I have three. But those three know everything and they dig it. And so if I can get that in the, you know, composing side, I'd be happy. Cause I see what Hans has to do there and stuff, at like Remote Control, it's ridiculous. I mean, he's running a fucking block.

IHTP: It's an empire.

Brain: Yeah. You know, it's like three blocks of his buildings. Kike you said, I'd make a bad Axl Rose. I'd make a bad Hans Zimmer, you know.

IHTP: That's the thing.

Brain: I'm not interested in that. I just wanted to do a couple cool things a year and if I could live and have a cool car and, you know, and just live kind of at the bottom of the hill, I don't need to live at the top, I'm cool.

IHTP: Kind of the bottom of the hill.

Brain: Kind of, not at the very bottom, but kind of. You know, a little up there. I'm fine. I mean, that's what I'm hoping with this composing stuff.

IHTP: Where did you get the name, Brain, by the way?

Brain; I got it because I was going to PIT.

IHTP: [laughing] I loved the ads for PIT.

Brain: Yeah, remember back in the day it was always PIT, it was no MIT-

IHTP: But I always loved that, Percussion Institute of Technology.

Brain: I think I went like, Frank Gomboli was going there. He was a student when I was there and they've realized how he was better than all the guys so they made him a teacher I think that year. But I was going there and I was playing, practicing a lot. I was so into Terry Bozzio and Vinny. I was into portraits [?] and rhythm. I wanted to learn everything about that book, you know, Anthony Cerrone, I wanted to like just be a master at that book because I heard Terry Bozzio knew how to play it. So I would just have a snare drum in that book. And the kids there were into partying, you know, going out into Hollywood, going over the West side here and going to the beach and doing all this partying. And I would be like, "No, dude, I'm on page 17 and I got to learn these 32 note triplets and all this," you know, five tuplets with a triplet within this, you know, all this crazy shit. And they were like, "What are you, some kind of brain?" You know, they just kept saying, like, "You'd rather do this? Come on, we're gonna go check out chicks and stuff." And I'm just like, "No, dude, I gotta get this. I gotta get this down," I mean, you know, "Because I heard Terry Bozzio learn this." I was all into it. Then it kind of stuck. They would just call me 'Brain' there and it'll just be like "Brain!" It just kind of stuck. And my mom calls me Brain.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Jan 19, 2023 12:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain Empty Re: 2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

Post by Soulmonster Thu Jan 19, 2023 10:28 am

IHTP: I was gonna say, you were always Brain?

Brain: Yeah, and in the composing stuff that we do, you know, now that I've teamed up with Melissa, it's "Brain and Melissa". So you know, and it seems to be working. You know we got, [?] comes up and people like it and it's a good team.

IHTP: Can you still play like that, by the way? All that stuff you were just saying, like...

Brain: No. I mean, you know, that's like-

IHTP: You haven't tried to do that stuff in a long time am I right?

Brain: No, yeah, my reading, I'd have to practice again to be able to read that stuff. But like my goal was to play the black page at the school for my final, and I did in front of Ralph [?]-

IHTP: But could you do it today if I say, "Just go"? No, right?

Brain: No, no, no.

IHTP: Like all that's, it's just not there. You don't sit down in a pad and workout.

Brain: No, no. When I see, you know, Dave or whatever, it's just like, you know, the technique and stuff that he has, I'm just like, you know, "I'm hoping I'm just going to be able to hire him!" Like I'm gonna get the budgets on these games. I don't wanna sweat and get my shoes dirty, you know, or like get my, you know, my pants, you know? It sounds bad because it's just like I don't want to do the work.

IHTP: But you're doing other work, you're not-

Brain: Yeah, but the work is more-

IHTP: Do you know what I mean?-

Brain: Yeah, it's work. It's not like I don't wanna put the hours of the physical side. I'm just like, "Shit, this is-"

IHTP: That takes hours to do. You'd rather put the hours into doing the composing?

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: I don't see the problem with that. That's not lazy.

Brain: That's what I want to do. I want to be able to get the budgets where I hire these people that I've always... I would love to get a video game where there's a lot of like odd times and complicated stuff and be able to have Terry come in with his percussion set up and record him and then take that, put it in the computer, cut it up, break it up, make, you know, contact instruments out of it and do process, make different music, you know my thing, the composing side is. You know, that's where I would get the excitement. You know, because I'm still a fan, you know. I mean, I still put on, you know, Shut Up And Play Your Guitar, and just go "What the heck! What the fuck was he doing?" or watch old, you know, Zappa videos where Vinny was sitting six inches off the ground with his yellow drum kit, smoking, with the big glasses and he's just fucking ripping. I still, you know, rather do that than jerk off to porn or whatever. Like that gets me off. I just love it. So I'm a fan and I want to keep that. But as far as the physical thing and doing it as a job and going out there. I don't know. I think those days are... you know what I'm saying?

IHTP: That's why I ask. I feel like, I don't see it, I don't see you get behind a kit, like working out like, "Okay, keep my feet together"-

Brain: [laughing] Yeah, yeah! Like I'm going around to practice [tapping his feet], you know? Yeah, yeah. Paradiddles and some like... Right. Yeah.

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: Yeah, I think those days are done.

IHTP: Would you recommend this life to your kid?

Brain: Yeah, I mean, I want to say "Fuck it!" you know, "Fuck music," but come on. I mean, you know, we're sitting in Venice, CA,
talking shit, when people are working and shit, I gotta be grateful, man. I mean, what the fuck? I mean, yeah, I would. It's been good to me, but there's days when I want to talk shit to make myself feel better because I'm insecure. But, you know, I'm like, "No." What I really think about it now, I would, yeah. It's been good to me. I mean, you know, people are doing some shit jobs and we're kicking it, talking shit about puppets and stuff.


IHTP: It's fucking great.

Brain: Yeah, still trying to fucking find out where that beep's coming from.

IHTP: Is he around, by the way? Your friend, is he is he doing anything?

Brain: Bucket?

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: I mean, last time it was-

IHTP: Under a different name or something?

Brain: No, I mean, we were doing a track for a video game. I think it was Twisted Metal. The last time I saw him was here. He came in. He was pretty... it was just a weird vibe, you know? I think he was maybe done with.... I don't know. I just felt something weird. Something was weird and he had left. And like I haven't talked to him since, and it's been about two years. And up till then I thought everything was great. I don't know if it was me. I don't know if he was just like, "Oh, I'm sitting here playing and Brain's getting all the credit," or if it was just, you know. He was done with just playing for other people. He felt like that, even though I felt like, "Hey, they know you're playing and you know you got credit on. If you look at iTunes it says 'Brain and Bucket,' you know, or whatever on the tracks and stuff." But yeah, I don't know. And then that was it. And then, you know, I see that he's still touring and stuff, you know, solo. And, you know, I want to reach out to him, you know, and stuff, but I just don't know how, you know, because I just don't know if I... Yeah, I don't know. You know, sometimes you just gotta like, yeah, just let things-

IHTP: -move on.

Brain: Yeah. You just gotta kind of let things be what they, you know, you know, like, everybody's got their problems. And you just gotta, you know, I gotta worry about other stuff.

IHTP: Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly.

Brain: But I do miss it. I mean, that's the part. And the creativity and the craziness. I mean, he's such a genius. I mean, I miss the four in the morning calls and all you hear like [imitating Bucket soloing]. He just solos for like 10 minutes. I mean, I got the phone off the thing, I'm just sitting there and then and then he was just like, "You think I'm getting faster? I think I'm getting faster, hold on." [imitating rapid soloing] This is like, he just plays guitar, you know? Yeah, I miss that because that's why I got into it, was for the freaks and stuff. I mean, the composing side, the one thing I gotta say is you have to show up on time. They expect delivery on time. The main thing is that they have to know that you can deliver and that you can get the job done because there's millions of dollars. In rock'n'roll it's like, "Oh, you're early, what are you, like some kind of loser?" or you know, like, "What are you, a professional?" You know what I mean? It's like, that's the part. But I miss the creativity, you know, I miss the spontaneity of just like creating something, just art. He's genius and you miss that. It's rare that you get to work with people like that, you know.

IHTP: There's no one else like-

Brain: No, no, it's like the people that-

IHTP: I mean, it's the whole package-

Brain: Yeah. Yeah. The people that we hire now to do this stuff, you know, they're pros. They come in, they have all their sounds together. They have everything. Because we're on a budget. There's time. It needs to be delivered by, you know, 11AM the next day. You cannot have-

IHTP: Some time for puppets and-

Brain: No, there's no-

IHTP: Which is a shame, right?

Brain: Right. Because that's the best part of it. You know, that's the part I miss. I mean, I'm hoping to bring that back because what got me excited about even this punk rock way that Joseph Khan, this video that we just did for the short film that we just did for the Power Rangers, is he kind of did a punk rock thing. You know, he put like hundreds of $1000 into something, made a bad-ass thing, threw it on the Internet, and now everybody wants to take it down and he's fighting-

IHTP: He's a cool dude, Joseph Khan, he's a cool dude.

Brain: Yeah, he's been so kind to us. He's put us on everything. He fights for us. I'm hoping he becomes the next Tim Burton. And we are the next Danny Elfman. That's what I'm hoping.

IHTP: He already is a big deal.

Brain: Yeah. No, he's amazing in that... That's what we're hoping for is that we can just do good work for him and he can be doing great films and we can like support him with the music and you know, that's our goals, that's what we want to do.

IHTP: I haven't seen Detention. That was his movie, right?

Brain: Mhm.

IHTP: Yeah.

Brain: We did the music for that. [?] and Melissa. He did that with his own money also. Yeah, you know, it's rad he did it with his own money, he got you know, the same thing is his  Power Rangers. And those are the two films that we worked on with him and a bunch of ads and stuff you know to pay the bills, stuff like that too. You know, yeah, it's awesome. I mean, what's rad about him is he knows what he wants. I mean, it's such a pleasure working with... when you do ads and for ad agencies and you know, it's music by committee. Oh God. you just wanna kill yourself by the end. Doesn't matter how much money is involved, you're just like, "This isn't even worth it," because, you know, you got people that don't even know about music saying like, "Well, can you change the part that's going like, boom, and change the other part that goes like," you know, it's like, that's the messages you get. And you're just like, "Oh, okay, change, boom." What the fuck? You know, it's like, let me do my job, I'm sure you're great at selling this shit and writing the perfect e-mail. So do your job, you know, and let us do our. But they won't and that's the part. But Joseph he knows music, he knows what he wants, you know, it's awesome because he just gives you example, you know he articulates his vision of what the music is supposed to be and we're just kind of his like. you know, funnel to make it happen. You know, we can just like be like, "We can do that," "I see what you're saying," and so it's awesome. And then, you know, he pushes you, you know, he's like "That's good but I think you guys can do better," and like "Ooh." You know, he's listening.

You know, that's one thing about Axl too, is he knows his shit, dude. I'll never forget. I don't know how much time we have. We were working on a track and we probably were working on this track, I forget the name of the track, I don't even know if it made it on Chinese Democracy. But we were working on it for about two weeks, maybe even longer. We would work at the Village, which is in Santa Monica, at studio, and everything would be, like, dropped off to him. At that point it was like giving him CD's was a thing so it'd be a runner ready to go right when we were done at 12 midnight to bring it up to his house in Venice, and we would - I mean, in Malibu. We waited about 35-40 minutes till it got there, get the call, "Yeah, this is cool," or "No, we gotta change something" or do whatever. We've been doing that for like, I don't know, 2 1/2 weeks on this song, let's say. Finally, he loved what we were doing, but we had to change something with the drums. So I remember replaying the part but on the beginning of, like, the second-half of the intro, there's a kick drum that I had missed on the final take that we... We already had figured out all the parts and everything was going great and the producer Roy Thomas Baker was like, "That was the take." But I had noticed that I just missed one kick drum. One kick drum on the one of the second-half of the beginning of, like, the intro, okay. We send it there and I'm not shitting you, he says, "Everything sounds great, except I think Brain missed a kick drum on the one." So he's fucking listening. We thought we were sending this shit and he's literally, you know, sitting there, King Arthur with seven chicks on his pipe and licking his, you know, and no, he's working, he's listening, he's working. I mean, after that I respected.... I was like, "Holy shit!" Like, "He caught that?" Yeah, he's listening to every little thing, because that was my time of getting the drums right. So he was focusing on that. And he was like, "No, you guys missed this kick drum." We're like, "Oh shit," you know? Anyways, I don't know what that means or anything but, I mean, it's pretty amazing because you would think someone like him wouldn't like, does he need to care? I mean, he's, you know, the puppet man.

IHTP: As you said, he heard every little thing.

Brain: Yeah, that one got me. I was like, "Wow, he caught that."

IHTP: Yeah, that's pretty sick.

Brain: Yeah.

IHTP: Hey, man. Thank you, Brain, for doing this.

Brain: Yeah. Thank you, man. I mean, thanks for, you know, I reached out to you, so thanks for coming out. You know, I really love your show and, you know, I think you're doing a great thing.

IHTP: Thank you man. I appreciate it. And alright man, here's to it.

Brain: That's it. We're gonna wait for the beep to cut it off? You know what? I'm doing good with the sampler. I'll send you the sample. You can put it in.


IHTP: Wait for it. Wait. Wait for it.

Brain: It's gonna come, I think.

IHTP: I mean, we have to talk until the beat. We're extending this episode. And it's.... Now!

Brain: Damn, it didn't happen. Yeah, I'll send it to you. Yeah.

IHTP: And it'll be right there.

Brain: Do you wanna [?]? We've been working a lot [?], so maybe I'll send you high res.

IHTP: I like that.

Brain: Yeah, DSD.

IHTP: I like that. Alright, one last chance beep to do this live, to do this live, you got one last chance. I'll do it live, alright.

Brain: Thanks, dude.

IHTP: Thanks, Brain.

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2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain Empty Re: 2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

Post by Soulmonster Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:52 am

Done, done, DONE!!!
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2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain Empty Re: 2015.03.03 - I'd Hit That Podcast - Interview with Brain

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