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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.


2019.03.17 - Appetite For Distortion - Interview with Brain

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2019.03.17 - Appetite For Distortion - Interview with Brain Empty 2019.03.17 - Appetite For Distortion - Interview with Brain

Post by Blackstar Sun Oct 29, 2023 11:21 pm


Brando: Hey, Brain, welcome. Hey, it's Brandon. How are you, sir? How's it going, man?

Brain: I'm doing well.

Brando: I'm here in New York City. We were just recording, we were learning about our fan co-host, and I appreciate you allowing that to happen. Oh, we're talking to Conie from Greece.

Conie: Hello. Hi, Brain.

Brain: How's it going, man?

Conie: Fine, how are you?

Brain: Oh, I'm good, good. Just, yeah, hanging out.

Brando: Where are you calling from?

Brain: I'm actually calling from the Bay Area because I had a my first USTA tennis match last night.

Brando: Whoa. That's too specific for you to be joking. So that actually you had an official tennis match last night?

Brain: Yeah. You know, it's a long story and maybe we'll talk about it because it's part about what I'm doing now, but, yeah, you know-

Conie: Did you play against Lars?

Brain: No, no. My goal and I'm putting it out there now is actually... I think he's pretty fucking good though, so I don't [?]. I mean, I played a little bit in high school, but I've been playing now pretty seriously for about two years taking lessons and shit and my goal is to get up there. I don't know what he's ranked, you know, so I gotta figure that out. Like I gotta like look it up or find out. But once I get up to his ranking, yeah, I definitely wanna challenge him because I've been practicing. So I had my first match with an official USDA team last night, so yeah. So I'm in the Bay right now. And then I got some other shit I gotta do here. So anyways.

Brando: How'd you do? This is so cool.

Brain: I won. [?] They're like, "Wow." Usually people have to do like two or three matches before they get into it. But yeah, I've been practicing. So, I felt pretty good out there.

Brando: Wow, good for you. Yeah, no, I do wanna get more into that, but as we, I mean, I don't know if you remember, cause it's been a while since we've spoken. I just really appreciate you coming back on. Cause we spoke back in episode 42, I don't know what that means to you, but since I do it kind of in perspective, almost once a week, I'm up to 110 now.

Brain: Yeah, I noticed that, yeah.

Brando: It's just been great. I mean, you were one of my early, I think like really big guests and people still are talking about you all the time. Just like what a great episode that was and people who've listened multiple times, including Conie here who listened three times to the interview.

Brain: Didn't I talk for like five hours? I felt like, "Shit, does anybody want to even listen to me again?" But I appreciate you having me on. And it's always good to talk about stuff. So thanks, man.

Brando: Yeah, it's been, thank you. I appreciate it. Again, just your time and how personable you are. We were talking off the air, Conie and I. During that interview, we were like, "Am I talking too much?" And we were like, "No, we love it." I mean, this is the cool thing now, because I know you're not anything with social media unless things have changed. Podcasts are huge.

Brain: That's my goal though. This year, I'm getting into some shit. I'll talk about it later. I got a team of people working on this shit. So, it'll be good.

Brando: Good, good, good, good. Yeah, because we got to get you at least on Instagram or something. Although Instagram and Facebook had like a massive attack yesterday that it was down all day.

Brain: Yeah, I heard about that, like a blackout or something? The whole thing went down.

Brando: I know, people actually had to go outside and do stuff, live life.

Brain: Yeah, throw some dirt clogs around and shit.

Brando: Yeah. Unbelievable. So yeah, I mean, we're gonna talk about tennis. We're gonna talk about everything else that you have going on now. We got some fan comments and questions for you. I do wanna play you a couple things because for one, why people are appreciated and loved your interview so much, is I think you gave us, well, are you familiar with like, you know, how Pee Wee Herman, that show, Pee Wee's Playhouse, I had like a word of the day at the end, you know, or and at the end, like everyone, whenever it was said, everybody would scream. I don't know, did you watch Pee Wee's Playhouse or is this a weird comparison?

Brain: No, I mean, I did a long time ago. Yeah, I mean, I haven't in years, but I kind of remember something like that. You know, I mean, I would just randomly watch it at here and there, but I wasn't like an avid fan.

Brando: All right, well, there was always like a special word of the day, so listening to your interview, there was like a certain word you used a lot. And that word-

Brain: Was that "um"?

Brando: What's that? "Was it um?" No.

Brain: Was it "uuuuh"?

Brando: Nope, nope, nope. Here it is. "It's rad." "It's rad." You would say "rad" a lot. "It's rad."

Brain: I gotta borrow that, dude. I'm always playing samples. Like when I play gigs and stuff with Bucket, you know, in between the set, I'll always play like, you know, like weirdo, you know, Godfather samples or something. I might have to get that from you.

Brando: Oh, 100%. Yeah.

Conie: Or you could just walk into a mike and speak.

Brando: Just say it into a microphone? Is that what you were saying, Conie?

Conie: Yeah, yeah. You don't need the sample. You could just say it is a microphone.

Brando: Yeah, but then I couldn't say it's my sample. I want to be a part of it.

Conie: Yeah, okay.

Brando: Don't take that away from me.

Brain: Yeah, and I like the processing that it went through. Like it's been sampled a couple of times. It gets all weird. It kind of has that kind of like Howard Stern, you know, it's like all echo-y, way in the back type of feel.

Brando: And it's not just you. I guess I noticed like the "rad" thing also, and it was in a Duff interview. He said "rad". And because I'm weird, it reminded me of a certain, of the first Ninja Turtles movie, when they were all like baby turtles singing rad. So I put this together. "It's pretty radical. Radical, radical, radical." See, those random sounds that you and Bucket play, that's what's going on through my head 24 seven all the time. Oh God, I need help.

Brain: Dude, well, it'll probably be the word again for this interview because I say that that's my word. I mean, I grew up kind of in like the Silicon Valley, you know, during the skate era of, you know, right when like Stevie Caballero was coming up and this guy Blackhawk, you know, he would, you know, they had the, I forgot what they called like the Los Altos pool. I think it was like the hardest spot to hit, you know, and that kind of stuff. And everybody said, you know, "rad" was the word and that was it. And it's just, I don't think I ever let it go, you know?

Brando: I mean, I love it again, being a Ninja Turtles guy. They use "radical" all the time. And actually since, what was it? It was a bike movie. I'm looking at it now. It was called Rad. It came out in 1986. I think it was a, maybe it was a BMX movie.

Brain: Yeah, I think you're right.

Brando: But you were more of a skateboarder.

Brain: Yeah, so I came from the skateboarding. I never got really into BMX. I mean, I did a little bit, but I realized, I just, I cultivated toward the skate culture because you know, they were playing like a lot of old school, like, you know, punk rock and early AC/DC, you know, and I just, for some reason, I just cultivated toward that scene where the BMXers. They didn't really have that, they never had like a ghetto box on the side cranking music and stuff. And I wasn't even into drum jet. I was skateboarding, I wasn't even a drummer. When I heard early Sex Pistols, like early AC/DC, all that kind of stuff, I was like, "Man, this shit's rad." And then I tried to start playing the bass and doing all that stuff. I think bass was my first instrument. I don't know if I talked about this before, so if I'm repeating myself, you can just delete it.

Brando: I don't remember, maybe Conie does, I don't remember. So it's new to me.

Conie: No, really.

Brain: Can we talk about this? Yeah, cause it was like, you know, I wanted to play first, first I dabbled, you know, with, you know, string instruments, you know, guitar, bass, and then I was like, "Ah, shit, this isn't really working." So, my friend Merv, who, actually I'm doing a project with him now, said, you know, he was at school, he was like two years younger than me and my sister was in his class and he was like, "Oh man," you know, "he's got a band and he's playing some AC/DC and Led Zeppelin and all that shit." And I was like, "Oh shit, that's the stuff I've been hearing, you know, at the skate park and stuff. Shit, I'm going to try to learn some of that shit." And the easiest thing to pick up was the drums and it kind of just came naturally. You know, I was just kind of like, "Oh shit, AC/DC, a straight beat. This is cool. I can just like rock out," going, and they play riffs over it. So that's sort of how I kind of got into the whole, you know, like, music, was through skating and hanging out at the pools and people would be playing all this music that I was just like, "Oh shit, this is rad!" This is rad. It's rad.

Brando: You know what I was just thinking of? I'm wondering if that kind of, how you like the beat, the pacing, translates to tennis. Because in a way, tennis is waiting for a beat, you know? Or am I overthinking it?

Brain: No, no, I mean, yeah, I mean, you're right. Like, you know, what my teachers are teaching me is, yeah, is, you know, the way that the ball, the way the ball, I mean, to hear the sound of the ball bounce. And where you hit it determines if you're going to hit it early, late, you're going to, you know, pick it up or, you know, get it on, you know, like get it before it comes up or whatever that stuff. You listen to where the ball hits and then when the racket hits, so you get into a rhythm. It is all about rhythm. I think that's why I do like tennis because when we were golfing on tour and shit, it wasn't the same, you know, it was like, I mean, I guess you can get into the rhythm with a swing, but it's not the same as tennis. You literally, I mean, that's the name of the game is to kind of get that rhythm going. And that's why they say when like the pros like will take a break or like, "So, shit, I gotta go to the bathroom," or, "I got," you know, they try to, if they're losing, they try to break the other person's rhythm by, you know, complaining about something or taking a little more time during serves, that kind of shit, because your rhythm gets off. So yeah, you're right, actually. I mean, I think that's why I'm kind of cultivating towards it, and you know, plus it's great exercise and stuff.

Brando: Oh, for sure. I just want to see you take over men's tennis, you know? It's been lacking since Pete Sampras.

Brain: Yeah, he was just on the open they're having at Indian Wells. He was in the, like Djokovic was playing in there. He went up and shook his hand because he was in the stands watching because that was his idol. You know, like 10 years ago or whatever, 15 years ago. But anyway, yeah.

Brando: Right on. Something that, it's funny, and Conie, I want you to ask about, because one thing I know we didn't spend a lot of time on last episode was Tom Waits. So one of the reasons why I wanted Conie to come on and talk about that, but before that, again, what made me reach out to you was having Tommy on again. And I spoke to Tommy about, you know, somebody told me to ask him as listeners submit questions, ask him to give the other side of Brain's story about when Brain tried out for Guns N' Roses. And I said to Tommy how you were so candid about kind of being underprepared. So Tommy thought that was kind of funny and I just wanted you to hear his response to that, if you don't mind.

Tommy [from previous episode]: You know, he was very candid about being ill prepared. And we were about to go on tour at some point soon after. And I had this guy kind of got rid of the rest of the band for probably, I might've been like a good week or two where him and I just hunkered down and learned the songs the way they had to be done and worked together. And I had to kind of, you know, get him in the shape and in the gear to do the stuff, cause he couldn't just, those songs have so many parts and so many dynamics to them, you can't just kind of wing it. You gotta learn the goddamn song. And so that's what we had to do. And I had to kind of strap him down and get him to that point.

Brando: I just thought it was funny how he was just kind of taking, he's like, "Oh, Brain was so honest about that moment." So I guess, but he was so nice and he loves and misses you and appreciates you. So I don't know, I just thought you might get a kick out of hearing his response to that.

Brain: Oh yeah, no, you know, because I know I talked about that in the last one a little bit, but yeah, I mean, it was pretty bad that first couple of days. I think he was looking at me and was just going like, "Wait, what the fuck? Like really?" You know, like "This is Guns N' Roses and, dude, you're just going to walk in thinking you can like, just, you know, like this is an improv, you know, like jazz jam or something" You know, he kind of had that look like, "Oh no, this ain't gonna fly." So that's why I think I started learning the songs and he worked with me. I mean, that's pretty funny. That's such a good story.

Brando: I guess I find it still, or maybe things have changed, just like, I guess going back to tennis, this might be the theme of today's episode, but how much work you do put into your stuff. I mean, you have like the natural talent to do stuff, whether it's like you said, guitar, or if it's a sport, but then you still practice at it. So I guess I'm still kind of just like, "Wow, for GN'R, he just..." I don't know if it was just like a moment where you just didn't think you needed to or... I don't know, I guess I find it surprising knowing whatever I do know about you. I know I don't know too much, but you always see-

Brain: Yeah. I think I was, well, yeah, I mean, like for Primus, it was, you know, I looked at it more like jazz, you know, I approached it like jazz. Because that was probably the biggest gig I had before Guns N' Roses. It was like, "Okay, I did the eight or nine years of Primus." And what happens with Primus is it's kind of like, "Okay, this is what Tim played, but you can interpret it," I can kind of interpret it the way I would want to do it or whatever. So when I was learning the songs, it was more just song form. You know, I would just go, "Oh, eight bars is this part, 16 bars is this part, four bars here. Oh, there's a little tag here of two bars." And I would, you know, listen to what Tim played, but I never wrote out the beat and never did, you know, the intricacies of it. Because I think with Primus, maybe even the fans, I don't know. I mean, it's probably, you know, I mean, some fans hated my style and hated my playing and some fans loved it. But I think that that was kind of a given in Primus, if that makes sense. You know, it's just kind of like, "Oh, okay, they got this guy now and they're still playing Tommy the Cat but this is the way he plays it and does it. And he changes the kick drum pattern a little bit." And, you know, I'll go to the ride at a certain section, but, you know, I'll do accents a different way. But with Guns, it was like, "Wait a second," you know, these were probably, you know, Appetite was like, you know, the biggest album of that time, I guess, or whatever. So it was like, "Wait, no, this is the way you have to play it." You know what I mean? It was like-

Brando: There was no room to be, to do your style.

Brain: I couldn't just put eight bars here. So when my first rehearsal with Tommy, you know, like I think I said it before, you know, I came in with like a Primus kit, you know, I came in with this drum kit, my drum tech brought in like three toms, front, two floor toms, two snare drums, I think some splash cymbals and shit, you know, and I was like, "Wait, I get..." you know, and I had some of the forms I knew and had written out, you know, like, or something made, you know, I don't quite remember, but I kind of was like, "I kind of know how the song goes." But I think Tommy was just like, "That's not right, or, "This isn't working," you know, "The sound is weird," or whatever. So like, literally, when I went back for a couple of days and started learning the songs and woodshed it and then came back, my drum tech brought the more bottom kit. You know, it was like a 20, I think I even tried a 26 inch bass drum. I didn't end up using that, but I think we ended up using the 24, but it was like a 24 bass drum, 13 tom, two floor toms and three cymbals. Like get rid of the splashes, get rid of all the high, this shit doesn't need this shit. You know, like, so I started to kind of realize, "Oh, this is the way he played this part. Oh, I see it's orchestrated. Oh, I see. Slash is doing this here. This is a build and the drums are actually following it in this way and this style with this sort of swing." You know, it was like that kind of stuff. I had to start. I had to do with them. And I had never done that before because before that I was just mainly in bands that were allowing me to just do, "Here's the form, but just do your thing." And even with Tom Wait, that's sort of how his stuff was. You know what I mean? When we played every night with Tom, every night I probably played every song totally different. Like if you go back and you watch anything on YouTube, you know, each night it was like a different... I'd play it differently depending on how I was feeling, the tempos were different. Cause a lot of times I just go off of like how I'm feeling. So the songs will be really fast or too slow. Well, with Guns it's like, well, Axl can't sing it if it's this fast or, you know, because it just doesn't make sense, and the fans are expecting it to be a certain way.

Brando: Okay, no, that makes complete sense. So what about with Bucket? Cause I gotta imagine it's kind of the same thing when you've worked with Buckethead, that you have that room or things are never the same twice. Because it's so hard to, I mean, you can obviously explain him better than anybody. But just like he's so... it just seems everything seems so meticulous, yet at the same time, it's so improvised. It's just all improvised. It seems like I just after GN'R introduced him to me and also to you as well. Like I've never seen another guitarist like him where I'm just like, "Is he making that up as he goes along?" Can't be, it sounds like it was written by like Mozart or something, but it is being translated through, you know, through his alien self. Like, so what was it like? Was Bucket more like Primus or was it more like GN'R in preparation, or Tom Waits or however? You wanna compare it?

Brain: I mean, dude, that's funny you're asking that because this last tour I did, it got weird for a second, you know, on the road because, you know, I don't know if you've been following Bucket, but the last, what, maybe seven years or something, he's been playing solo.

Brando: Yeah, I saw him last year and I'm looking forward to seeing him this year, either in New York City or New Jersey. But yeah, it's just been solo.

Brain: Right. It's just been completely solo to tape. So when we decided to do this, you know, run of the West coast. And I think we did Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and then Seattle, LA, San Diego, you know, the whole, but this side of the... like for what I think we did, like, I don't know, like maybe a month and a half or something, and then we did one-offs all the way to the new year or whatever, like I think we started in September or something like that. So we did like about three months here and there, you know, playing and it was, we actually kind of, you know, it got weird for a bit because I think Bucket, I was doing it the way of, "Here's the song. It's just a form and I'm going to play it my way and it's going to be different every night." And it got weird because he was so used to doing it to the tape and no, in the tempo would be exactly the same in his own solo shows that he was having a hard time with it at first because he was going, "What are you playing?" Like, you know, like, "That's not the part," and I'd be like, "Well, I didn't learn the part, I just know that this is kind of the feel and this is..." But he was so used to it being exactly how his tape was every night, because, you know, when I looked at his schedule that he has coming up now or whatever, I think someone was saying he was touring so I was just checking out where he was playing, because he's going to do another solo run it looks like. It was like, you know, eight shows in a row, one day off, seven shows in a row, one day off, like that Mike Watt type of shit. And I was like, you know, like playing every day. And I guess he just gets so used to it that it was weird. Like we had to kind of find a happy medium of where I was going to play, how I was going to play every night, because it started to turn into more like, you know, a set thing that he was used to. I don't know if that's what the fans wanted. I know with GN'R that's what they want. You know, when this fill happens at the beginning of November Rain, it's got to happen and it's got to be the same, you can't do some kind of like 30 second notes fill when it's "Do do do do," you know? But with Bucket he was expecting kind of the, "Oh, hey, it was this fill that was I hearing every night for the last seven years." So yeah, it was weird. It kind of got weird, I have to say.

Brando: I can understand that from, I guess I can understand it. And I don't know if you can answer why you think he does that. But with anything, if you're gonna do something, repetition, of course, that's what you're used to. And especially since it's not like he had another drummer coming in, playing it the same way. It's literally the same tape and it's literally the same every single time. And you come in and you add that human element, of course, it's gotta be that adjustment period, but since you guys have gone on tour together, you've obviously been in Guns N' Roses together and you've done plenty of things, why do you think he, I don't want to say the word "prefers" because that may imply something, because obviously I don't know him, but why do you think he goes out just with a tape and he might have some, I don't want to call them theatrics because they're so, let's call them 80s horror theatrics, let's call them that. Why do you think he does that as opposed to maybe taking you out again? I don't know about you, Conie, but I kind of, I don't know, I felt a little disappointed there in you not knowing. What are you saying that, "Oh, I guess he's going out on tour solo this time." Like, I don't know, I feel like I would want you to know that. I don't know, I figure, maybe in my head, I'm thinking like Buckethead and Brain are best friends, you guys play Parcheesy[?] every night or something like that, so.

Brain: Yeah, I mean, you know, we have our, we call it the dark period when we don't talk for a while and that's just mainly because he's doing his thing and I'm doing mine. You know, like, I told, you know, I don't think I would want to do eight shows in a row on the East coast, then a day off and nine shows in a row, you know, some, you know what I mean? Like that many shows. And I think it's easier for him. I think he loves to just go out there and play every night and grind it out and just not even have a day off. I think it's kind of like a weird therapy thing for him, you know, he just likes to do it that much or whatever. Cause I think I remember him when we booked the first shows, he had booked our first shows we had ever done in like 10 years together, he booked five in a row, like, you know, like five, you know, and I go, "Dude, I don't think I've played five shows in a row ever." [?] a time as we grinded it out at the very beginning, but once the shows start to get to two hours, two and a half hours, three hours... You know, a drummer playing five nights in a row. I mean, you know, I'm not flipping 18, you know, or whatever. And I like to give up my all in every show. So, you know,  I just told him it was kind of hard and he was like, "Oh, oh, sorry, man," you know, "I forgot, you know?" Yeah, I'm bringing a band. So I think it's mainly that he just gets used to doing it himself. Kind of just goes out there and does it. You know, I don't really feel like it's anything towards... Cause you know, after the first like four or five shows, he started getting what you exactly talked about was, "Hey, you know, I'm a human. I'm not going to play it exactly like a metronome perfectly every time. So it is going to waver and my tempo is going to be different," because nobody wants to go out with a Buckethead show and watch a band play to a click and stuff. I get it if he's just playing a tape, you know, of course it's going to be what it is because it doesn't have the human element except for him. But when you bring a band, it's been a waiver[?] and I think the audience wants to see a little improv and a little just, you know, whatever happens. And that's the good shit, you know?

Brando: That's what I want. See, you know, I want to see. I was disappointed last time when, I think it was when I reached out to you afterwards. That's when you were finished with those dates with Buckethead and then he was coming here by himself. And I would like to have seen you play.

Brain: Yeah, you said, "Are you gonna be there?"

Brando: Yeah, right, right. Cause I would like to see you play cause this was my first time seeing Buckethead and it was phenomenal. Yes, it was B.B. King's Blues Club, which is now closed, the famous club here in New York City. Finally got to see Buckethead, finally got to go there. And it was very cool. You know, I was right up front. It was a wonderful experience, but yeah, the human elements. I think would add a lot, but if you guys are on different schedules, and I use sports analogies all the time, I mean, it's like you can't compare a guitarist. You can say like a guitarist is maybe like a baseball player and a drummer is like a football player. Not the same schedule. You know what I mean? A baseball player is going to play almost every day in the week. Football, maybe twice. Maybe twice if there's a Thursday game, you need more time to recuperate. So no, that makes complete sense to me. Conie, was there anything as far as Tom Waits that he didn't, because I'm glad that you shed some more light on that because you've played with so many different legends. So any other questions regarding Tom or anything that you had for Brain?

Conie: Yeah, actually I have one, which is a pretty old one, referring to something that Axl said probably 30 years ago. I think Brain is the man to ask. So before the Use Your Illusion albums came out, Axl actually said that he has a couple of songs that sound like a cross between Tom Waits and Metallica. And he was probably referring to the November Rain or Estranged. And having played with both Tom Waits and Axl, did you see that influence?

Brain: Wow, I never even thought of that. I don't know. That's a crazy question because I never thought of that. Cause with Tom, you know, as far as the song, as far as songwriting and with, you know, and what you're talking about in that era, you know, I wasn't a part of, you know, I kind of just came in.

Conie: Yeah, because Tom Waitz, by the way, you came in, played far less piano, right? On his albums.

Brain: Yeah, yeah. But I get the piano thing on, you know, like if you're saying the November Rain and stuff like that, I mean, that's very, you know, I mean, you know, like Tom or, you know, Elton Johnish or what, you know, whatever is whatever you want to say, you know, as far as like the piano and then having a band backing, you know, the piano. But, you know, I guess yeah I don't know it's weird I never thought because on those songs as far as starting the songwriting, you know, I wasn't there... You know, with Tom it's like he has all the songs written, you're very rarely improvising. You're definitely improvising the way you play but you don't, you know-

Conie: You don't make it up as you go along you mean.

Brain: Yeah, you're not in the room writing with Tom ever. Tom comes in with his wife Kathleen and he's like, "Hey, here's a song, this is a concept. This is kinda," you know, "I kinda want this kinda like 60s Rumba thing here. You have any ideas, you know, that you wanna come up with?" Or he'll have like, you know, he'll bring in like an old cassette or vinyl of some obscure album and be like, is, you know, "I'm looking for this kind of sound," like. And then you kind of listen, you kind of get into the feel of it and that kind of stuff. So I don't know. You know, I can't really answer that. That's a pretty crazy question. I never even thought of that.

Brando: I like that though. I like original questions that make you think. So we definitely know we didn't cover that last episode, Brain.

Brain: I would have remembered that one.

Brando: Sure. And I just want to read you just a bunch of comments again that I got, Brain, because, you know, your humility is just one of your best traits. And I just want to let you know, because you're not on social, not able to read them yet. Doug from Wisconsin says, "Brain was part of my second favorite era behind the original lineup. I don't think you hold that against them. I think this era, they sounded amazing. And a big part of that was what Brain was on the drums." Jared from Portland said, "I've listened to your Brain interview five times. It's rad." There you go. I do want to mention this one because sometimes you mean a lot to people. This is stuff from Dan Lutzka. He wants me to relay to you that a friend of his who passed away in 2016, they saw you back in 2002 at the Chicago show together. They weren't sure about going, but you were one of the reasons why you made that night very memorable for them. So I just wanted to relay that message.

Brain Well, that's rad.

Brando: Yeah, that definitely is rad. This was like the second request. I can only do so much guys. I can't get you autographs. People are like, "Can you get Brain's autograph?" I'm like, "A, he's not in studio. B, I don't know." I ask for pictures sometimes of many people. Autographs is another thing. But I will relay, because he's a crazy fan, and if you ever get on social media, I'm sure he will find you. I said crazy in a nice way. Alex Mendoza says, "Please ask him if you will sign my copy of the red hand." He was recently at NAMM, and he got Frank, he got Robin, he even got Duff's signature on the red hand. It's crazy. So, in return though, he says he'll take you to lunch or to Disneyland. Your choice.

Brain: Yeah, man, if you want to hit me up with some of these people just on the side and I can contact them myself. Yeah, you know, I always joke and, you know, or people like... you know, at the shows or the Guns shows or whatever, you know, like, "Hey," you know, cause you know, I don't know if you remember that whole scene in the, I think when Sting was doing the, you know, when he was doing his first solo tour. And I think Miles Copeland, it's in that Sting movie or whatever, Bring On The Night or something like that, I think it's called, I don't even remember the name, but you know, there were, the band was complaining about, you know, like not getting paid enough or whatever. And Miles Copeland was just like, "Well, you know, if the Sting name is off the marquee, no one shows up. If your name is off the marquee, everybody still shows up. So, hey, this is what you're going to get paid and this is what it's about." So I always used to joke with people like, you know, "Hey man, I got my five fans out there that are here, you know, and are digging what I'm doing." So I always try to, you know, like, you know, like reach out to those, those people. Cause I think that, you know, like you said, those are the two fans that [?] that shit.

Brando: Yeah, and you have plenty more than five.

Brain: Yeah, when it gets to the time for some of that shit, I will definitely reach out to them.

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2019.03.17 - Appetite For Distortion - Interview with Brain Empty Re: 2019.03.17 - Appetite For Distortion - Interview with Brain

Post by Blackstar Sun Oct 29, 2023 11:25 pm

Brando: Right on, right on. We'll talk about that after. So, no, you definitely have more than five. I guess this may be one of the things that you're working on now. On Twitter, Rain Dogs 70 wants to know, "What songs did Brain and Melissa remix for the unreleased Chinese Democracy Project? And do you think that you'll be involved in any future projects like that?" I don't know if we touched on that last time, but I don't know, maybe things have developed. I'm not sure. If you-

Brain: Yeah, well, you know, we've been kind of just, you know, as a little... is it still breaking up? Is the sound okay?

Brando: You sound fine. I think that's all the way from Greece. I think that's-

Conie: Yeah, probably.

Brando: I think Conie's eating a gyro while we're doing it.

Brain: Conie, you're still there?

Brando: Sorry [laughs]. We're good.

Brain: Yeah, I think we definitely, you know, we definitely even kind of just like, you know, like what we did at the halftime show, that Houston thing, we've been getting a lot of calls to do that again. So, you know, I've been talking to, you know, Melissa, because we work on our composing, because we just had that, you know, that movie that came out, Bodied or whatever, that Joseph Kahn film that Eminem produced or whatever. And we did the soundtrack to that. And so we're trying to get more work on the soundtrack side. And then we do want to do some touring this year because I think Guns is off for a little bit, doing that halftime stuff. So-

Brando: Oh, wow, wow.

Brain: Yeah, I'm hoping that we can play the remixes because I think we've done maybe like six or seven, I think, you know, of like, you know, we just kind of like... Well, we did them a while back and then, you know, we still have them and they've been remixed two or three different times and we kind of want to add them into the show. But, you know, we'll see if we're allowed to, for one. You know, I mean, Axl was kind enough to let us do it at the Houston thing and the LA one that we did. But, you know, that would be great because we want to incorporate that with some of our original music that we're working on now. And yeah, we're hoping to like maybe do a run for like a couple of months, you know, like, maybe some festivals or hopefully some more like, you know, half-time stuff. I mean, you know, the MBA is getting into their playoff schedule so I'm hoping that we can maybe do a couple of playoff games again, and, you know, do something like that. And then maybe go off and do some festivals and stuff like that.

Brando: That's awesome. That's all awesome. But you should do NHL. You know, that's coming up, they're starting to get... All of that sounds great. I mean, hopefully you get permission, but to come up with your own material, is it going to be known still as "Brain and Melissa," or is that a working title of the band, or is there going to be like an actual name or "Brain and Melissa," is that just the name of-

Brain: I think we're just going to keep "Brain and Melissa" and kind of keep it and kind of promote some of our soundtrack stuff also, you know, kind of like remix that along with like some of the Guns stuff with some original stuff and also almost like a DJ type set also, you know what I mean? Like have like two or three different kinds of sets we can pull depending on what they are.

Brando: They should have had you instead of Maroon 5. Jesus.

Brain: Yeah, the ending, you know, he took off his shirt and showed his tattoos, I was like, "That's the death of everything." Like, "Really?" I mean, that's just... I don't know. Well, whatever. I mean, I'm sure he's a great guy and I'm sure it's... But, you know, I don't know. It just, it took the fun out of music for me. I was like, "Really, dude?"

Brando: "Took the fun out of music."

Brain: That wasn't rad. It just seems so fake, you know what I mean? It's just like, "Look at all the tattoos I got." And it's horrible. Sorry.

Brando: No, I think it's hilarious. For some reason, I'm like, I know he's going to take his shirt off because that's what he does. He did it when he hosted SNL. And I'm like, "I don't know, man," because I've obviously wanted Guns N' Roses to play the halftime show for years. And it's like, "Come on."

Brain: I know. I was wondering when they're going to get asked because that would just kill. They need to do it. I mean, that would be sick. But to have that and then that's the first time you... I mean, it's not the first time obviously you've seen a tattoo at a halftime show, but you know, it's just kind of like, you know, it's like, you know, when Iggy Pop takes his shirt off and he looks like a lizard, it's rad. But when you're like, you know, when you're just kind of a cheese ball on TV... I don't know, sorry, I'm sure he's a great guy. I don't want to say anything bad.

Brando: I'm sure he is too. I mean, he did a song with Slash, so he must have some wonderful qualities. [laughs] One thing I think we did forget last time, and the show finally leaked. You can only find it now because it'll be hit with copyright by copyright Nazis out there, but the House of Blues show, which was actually your first show. It's so funny, because I think Tommy said the same thing. You guys thought the festival was the first show, but I guess House of Blues was the first one. So, and-

Brain: Oh, you mean the New Year, was it the New Year's Eve one, I think?

Brando: Yeah, that's with Paul Tobias.

Brain: Yeah, with Paul. Like, didn't Paul play one show with us?

Brando: I believe that was it, and-

Brain: No, no, he did, did he do Rock in Rio?

Brando: I don't, I mean, there are... I mean, even though I host a GN'R podcast, there are ones who probably know, but I just don't know off the top of my head if he did. Cause all I know is that is the first time I saw what he looked like, when I watched that House of Blues show. I had no-

Brain: That's online now. I gotta check that. [?]  

Brando: Well, we'll say maybe or maybe not. I will maybe, if I have it, I'll send to you legally speaking. Well, I don't know if I have it or not, whatever. I'll send it to you later. But it's not online. Because again, because the copyright things that are happening.

Brain: Oh, there is? Oh, okay.

Brando: Yeah, which is, I mean, fans, this is how crazy fans are. And a lot of your material too on Chinese, there are fans. And I'm going to get to this question from one of the, this listener, Rick, who has been on a show of mine, we called it, Copyright Democracy. That's what we called it. And there's a whole subculture. I mean, I'm sure that in other, for other bands or movies or things like that, where people, buy things of quote unquote, not the black market, but just sell things that really aren't theirs. So there's a lot of, I guess, unreleased material. People say that they were song supposed to be on Chinese Democracy, like The General, or Thyme, or things like that. And there are people who buy these, or shows. People are buying them, especially since, Brain, I know, again, you're not really online yet, but there has been just a huge wave of taking Guns N' Roses material off YouTube. And it's not just people, these are not people trying to make money off Guns N' Roses. These are like fan videos and it's just, it's out of control. But so people want your material, to hear it, because we don't know if we'll ever get to hear it. So that's why the House of Blue show was big. Somebody paid, I think Rick might've paid a few grand for it, a few grand for it. And he was nice.

Brain: Really?

Brando: Yeah, I mean, I think. I told him, like, your wife doesn't leave you? Good for you. I mean, I think that's crazy. But he shared it with me and yeah, it was my first time seeing Paul, seeing Axl introduce all of you, was just, wow, I really think it should be out there. I mean, what an era for Guns N' Roses. I mean, there might've been bitter feelings at that moment in time, but I'd like to think people are mature now. And it's just, I think all fans should see that video, not just for, again, for your work, but that time period, just wow. So Rick wants to know, do you remember the buildup to that House of Blues show? What was it was like? Cause Axl had been, he hadn't been seen in a while, but before that.

Brain: Yeah, well, I want to backtrack for a second cause we were talking about Tommy and you just mentioned the song, The General, and it kind of, it's funny because I have a story because I'm, you know, this album that, I'm making right now with some old friends, you know, we just decided to kind of, you know, it ended, it started as a, you know, bowling night out type thing where I have a friend that has his rad studio in Berkeley. And he was like, you know, "Hey, Brian, I'm taking off to Mexico or something for a couple months work on this project. You can just have the studio and come in and jam and do stuff." So, you know, I called up my friend Merv, who was part of the Limbo Maniacs with me and stuff like that. And my friend, Xtract, who's kind of like a DJ, worked on this El Stew album that Bucket actually played on also, along with this DJ Eddie Def and DJ Disc, and then Bucket was on it and stuff. So it's funny because how The General came about was, we were supposed to, you know, this was like building up to that show. We were supposed to, or not supposed to, but, you know, everybody was like, "Hey, if anybody's got songs and shit," you know, "you can bring them in." And so that song, The General was a song that, you know, we like, Xtract and Merv and I, when we, when I wasn't doing Guns stuff would just jam in my living room type of thing. I had a Pro Tools set up and we were jamming and we were trying to come up with songs for Guns. We had this song, we called it The General because we were eating General's Chicken. Okay. Chinese chicken. But when I turned it in to Axl, he thought it was called The General because I was kind of making fun of Tommy as Tommy was the band, you know, kind of like the MD. He was like the musical director when we'd have rehearsals. And he thought like, you know, I was like poking fun at Tommy as being like, you know, like a general, like, you know, like, "Okay, we're rehearsing at this time," and you know, and that kind of shit. And I was like, "No dude, it was because we ate General's chicken." [...] but yeah, it's funny because you just said The General and it all comes back around because we were writing all these crazy songs to try to turn in. And these were coming from like, like Xtract is an old school DJ type, he's a bass player, but he loves old school break beats, you know, crate digger type of guy. And so the shit we were putting together was crazy. You know, we were just, we were just kind of going like, "Okay, you know, like what samples should we find for Axl?" Like, "Well, he's kind of like Julius Caesar." So we were like sampling Julius Caesar, like looking for albums that, you know, and old school crazy shit. And I think we sampled like Ben Hur and chopped it up and cut it up. And that became a jam called Seven. I think we called it Seven. And then, you know, and I remember bringing them to, you know, the studio to have, I think Roy Thomas Baker was producing at that point, and you know, and he was—we'd be playing the stuff and he'd be in, you know, like one of the songs that actually is called—the album that we're making now is called Mars Mechanics. And one of the songs we have on the album, we put that one on the album. And it was one of the ones that I played for Roy. And you know, he was like, "What is this, reggae?" You know, and I was just like, "No," because it was like a Neil Young old school jam that, you know, Merv was just going off on. But the whole thing was just like, you know, I was turning in all these like weirdo songs that were coming, you know, like way far to the left or whatever, and you know, it was just kind of a crazy story of how that's one of them was The General and I think Axl actually sang on The General.

Brando: I mean that's just, that's too funny because again, years of people just speculating, you know, what songs may be on Chinese democracy and then now what may come out in a future Guns N' Roses record, are they going to be reworked tunes from the Chinese era, or are there gonna be new things that maybe Slash and Duff bring in, a combination? So all these names have been out there for a while. It's just so cool to find out a little part of the story that it could be a serious thing, and it's about chicken. I just think that just makes it so Guns N' Roses.

Brain: Yeah, yeah, it was pretty funny. We ordered General's chicken that night, and that's how the song The General came about. So it's pretty good.

Brando: So what about the build up to House of Blues? Do you remember that? Because it was like professionally recorded, but it was obviously never released. What was the mindset going into that? Did you, I'm assuming that was the plan to release it at some point, you know, to introduce the world?

Brain: No, I mean, they, you know, it was, it was more, I think, at that point, you know, hey, you know, here's like, you know, people that have never played together that have all been in awesome bands and done, you know, has a history and everyone in themselves has a history and now they're all together kind of like a super group type of vibe and... I don't think anybody was thinking about it, I think we're just thinking like, "Oh shit, here's a catalog of you know these 40 songs we got to learn and, you know, we gotta kill it. We gotta, you know, like get this shit down." So we're just kind of like in that kind of work mode for like three months. So when that show happened, I remember it just felt like a dream. It was just like, "Shit, now we're on stage and we're playing." I don't know, it wasn't like, we didn't know what to expect ourselves because, you know, that was it. It was like, you know, usually bands, you know, you get, you know, start by just your friends hanging out talking shit, you know, in high school you start a band, you start touring, you develop the sound and who you are like on the road in a van, stepping on each other's heads and just, you know, like doing crazy shit, you know, and then it becomes a sound and then that sound, you know, you develop that and then blah, blah, blah. But with this, it was more like, when I got done, I remember just going, "Shit, did we pull it off? What do people think? Like, what happened?" Because it was like, "Here's the biggest band," that was the biggest band in the world, "Here we are, we're coming out." And I don't know even know what we thought we were supposed to expect, if that makes sense. Because it wasn't like choreographed either, like you're playing for Janet Jackson. You know what I mean? Playing the songs and people are expecting, just, you know, it was like, "Well, they want to hear a band. I mean, you're replacing some of the... Duff and Slash." You know what I mean? It's like, "Wait a second." So, you know, I don't know what the audience thought, but the way I was feeling was just like, "Whoa, what the!" I remember getting that, you know, finishing the show and going back into the elevator and going up and just being like, "Wait, did we just play?" Like it felt like it was just like a dream.

Brando: I don't think you, I mean, you couldn't have explained it any better to me. I don't know about you, Conie, but when I watched it-

Conie: No, that was awesome.

Brando: I felt like I was watching a dream because it was a lost era of Guns N' Roses. And just to see, again, how professionally it was and how good it was. Because I know for a little while, I think it was, I don't really consider the "new GN'R", or however you want to phrase it, controversial anymore. Because Chinese Democracy, within the most part, even people who try to hate it, they're like, "Oh well, it is still pretty good." It's a good record. It's a great record. And it's so funny because it could have been such an easy target, because Axl was such a target, but he's continually proved people wrong. And that video is just another example of him proving people wrong, that he got the right players. And just to see, you know, your look and then Buckethead and Robin Finck being an alien, and then Paul looking just like a regular guy, and then, you know, there's a lost version of Axl I don't remember seeing. It's just really special. And all the players on that record and that era just deserve, you know... this is why you have fans, Brain, I mean, in addition to everything else you've done. You know, you brought in more fans through GN'R because of the contributions. You can say, yeah, oh, you're replacing so-and-so. But I don't know how you all pulled it off. I mean, in my view, it just worked. To me, it was like being a sports fan, a Yankee fan. I love the Yankees that I grew up with, remembering those players. But I still love the Yankees now. It's all about the jersey. It's all about the players. I mean, all about the team. That's why I appreciate you sharing that experience.

Brain: Yeah, you know what's crazy that I wanted to add to that really quick was that since that was the first show and that's what it felt like, it was just like, I think everybody was just like, "Whoa, what the fuck happened?" And then, you know, then we, I think then we did Rock in Rio and it was at a point that also felt like a dream. I think everybody would probably say the same thing. It wasn't till, I think... And I might've mentioned this before. I mean, Conie would have to tell me if I had mentioned this before, but it wasn't until after the Madison's, I think at Madison Square Garden, that show, I think that's where it felt like, "Whoa, I feel like this is a band," for, you know, like, Axl and Bucket and I, we were like, kind of doing our own thing. Like at one point, you know, we started like doing the little improv in the middle. And that was expanding and everything was happening. And then that was the unfortunate, you know, thing that happened when the next day we were in Philly at the Spectrum and, you know, that's when they canceled the whole tour. But at that point, I remember even talking to Bucket and everybody and Mother Goose, and we were all just kind of hanging out and we were kind of like, "Shit, it's working." Like, you know, "This is kind of cool." Like, "That was a cool show we just played." And it felt like it was becoming a band and, you know, it was just sad to me at that point because I was like, "Oh, we never got to really take off." And then from there, that's after Bucket left, then, you know, it became something else. You know what I mean? Like I think for any real band to gel and become something you really got to get out on the road, play a bunch of shows, grind it out, start really feeling each other, and how they play and how it works.

Brando: What reason were you given? Cause I was at that, that was my first show, that MSG show. And that's why I became a fan of Bucket forever and Brain forever and that part. I mean, that was my, I didn't know if I would ever see Axl Rose live. Never thought of course I would ever see Axl and Slash on stage together but that MSG show will forever hold a place in my heart. And then just to see it, I mean, at the time I was like, "Wow, I may have seen the last Guns N' Roses show ever," because everything got ended, but it's-

Conie: How wrong were you?

Brando: Yeah, so how was it relayed to the band? Was there a certain explanation? Like, what you can talk about, what you're comfortable with.

Brain: I think, well, yeah, I mean, it was confusing to everybody because we all thought everything was cool. And I think that it was Clear Channel decision. That's what I was told that they were just like, "Oh, we're having problems with some of the scheduling," or something like that, "of upcoming shows. And we booked too many," and you know, I think Axl wasn't happy with that or something and then, you know, something happened between them and they pulled the plug. I think, you know, I don't think it was anybody in the band. I mean, I don't know what everybody else was told, but you know, to me, I heard what they told me is, "Clear Channel is pulling the plug and everybody's going home tomorrow." And I was like, "Okay, whatever."

Brando: That's interesting. I feel like that's a different narrative than what's been out there. Cause you know what's been said about Axl. I mean, now the narrative has changed because he's early, if anything, on time. But, you know, how long is this gonna last? How long until they cancel? And people always blame it on him. And this seems to be another case where it wasn't him.

Brain: Yeah, I mean, I think that's where, you know, I mean, like I said, every time I do an interview, he's always been cool to me. And I always see it as, you know, like, yeah of course, point the finger to Axl because without Axl, there's nothing. Obviously, he's the easy one to say if something fucked up. But there's so many things going on. It was such a big production but what they told me was they were just like, "Hey, Clear Channel's pulling the plug." I was like, "Oh, shit, okay. Well, I guess that's it."

Brando: You mentioned also Mother Goose, a listener from out of hours, Jan from Germany. I want to know if you still talk to Chris Pitman, because I know he had an unceremonious exit, but do you guys still keep in touch?

Brain: You know, I haven't talked to him in a while. I haven't talked to him since I think around that incident happened. And you know, I want to reach out. I mean, you know, like that was part of the fun. I mean, Goose is, you know, became one of my best friends during that time. And, you know, one of the buses was Bucket, Goose and me. That was like three people on the bus and that was our road show going down, you know, following the other buses and stuff. So we-

Brando: -You know, fly on that wall.

Brain: Yeah, you know, we had, we had a great time. So, you know, I mean, actually, you know, even talking about it now, I think, yeah, I'll probably reach out to him actually over the weekend or something. I really do want to talk to him. Everybody just starts doing their own thing and starts going. I hope there's no animosity or whatever because of actually who took over. But I think that we should be cool. I hope so, but I'm going to reach out.

Brando: Cool. Well, I will say this, because I said to other guests of mine, I think the cool thing that I'm able to do with the podcast, for example, I interviewed Roberta Freeman, and then when I had her on again, she was my co-host, and we interviewed Teddy Zigzag. So I could say to you, if everything's cool with Chris, and you want to play co-host for the day and add another title to your long list of accomplishments and your resume, if you want to add a radio show host to it, you could be my co-host, and we can interview Mother Goose together. Just a thought. Just throwing it out there.

Brain: I don't know if anybody wants to hear "rad" that many more times.

Brando: You'd be surprised. And I mean, it's either that or I mean, you know, obviously this is up there with the impossibility of interviewing Axl. But then again, this show wouldn't be as much fun to do if all these people were super accessible. But Buckethead, I mean, I interviewed, I mean, I listened to his interview with this therapist, which I thought was really cool because I go to therapy and I'm big into mental health. I tried to reach out, I did reach out to his therapist to see if I can interview him. Not to get anything like personal, but just to talk about the, I don't know, like what I do, talk about depression, mental health, how that revolves in and out of the rock world. No, nothing specific on Buckethead. You're again, the closest thing that I got to Mr. - I almost called him Mr. Head, I think that's too weird. But yeah, just any, I doubt that you can get Buckethead on the show, but if in the future, because I want you to come back whenever you want, because you are rad, man, and to keep us, because I don't want to keep you here forever, because I know we've been talking for an hour, and that's what's so funny, you're like, I've spoke for so long, you just said it, who wants to keep hearing rad? I mean, Conie, you're probably the same way, I'm just sitting here like, "Wow, wow, wow, like really?"

Conie: Exactly the same, speechless.

Brando: And not all guests are like that. You know, I've enjoyed every single one of my guests for the most part. I mean, some have, I just don't want to cut them off when they're in a long story, but it doesn't have me like you got me, where I'm just really entrenched into what you're saying. So, Conie, if you have any other questions, but I want to talk about, you know, Brain's new stuff, but Conie, if you have any questions, I guess we should get to that first.

Conie: It's just a small one. Tom Waits again. You were in the Bone Machine album, and Keith Richards was there. Did you get to jam with him?

Brain: No, man, I wish. I mean, you know, like I said, like those, those two, yeah, those two together. Yeah, that would have been great. No, they were, I think he did that on a separate time just with Keith. I'm not even sure if Keith came to the studio we were working in, you know, I wasn't even sure because with Tom, I think when we did Bone Machine, like, is that the one with Big in Japan on it?

Conie: No. I think that's Mule Variations.

Brain: Mule Variations, okay. So Bone Machine was first. Was that before Mule Variations?

Conie: Yeah, yeah, the first one.

Brain: Yeah, it was, right? You're right. That album came before, yeah. So, right, so yeah, because the one we did with Primus, I remember what studio we were, I think both were recorded in the same studio. Only Real Gone was the one where we went to that old church, I think. So yeah, no, I wasn't there, man. But that's, I mean, I wish that would have been a dream come true, you know.

Conie: For anyone, right?

Brain: And those two together, I mean, you know, I watched that Keith Richards' documentary and, you know, I saw Tom in there doing a song with him and I was like, "Oh man," you know, with Steve Jordan and oh God, it was so cool. I wish I could, you know, cause Steve Jordan's one of my heroes. So man, that would have been sick. Yeah.

Brando: You never know, Keith is still with us, so you just never know. He's like a cockroach, right? That's the only thing that survives in a nuclear holocaust is Keith Richards and a cockroach. Or cockroaches? That was my terrible joke. So let us know. I mean, you gave us, I guess, a look into the future, what may happen with Melissa. Hopefully you'll get the approval to play GN'R remixes, but at least you'll be working on, or continue to work on new material and hopefully a tour which would be amazing. I hope you make it out to the East Coast. Hopefully you make it out to Greece as well. Don't want to forget you, Conie, but that might be more planning involved in that one. So what else do you have going on, bro? We want to know. We want to know how to keep track and just watch what Brain has coming out in the future.

Brain: Yeah, like I said, I was working, I kind of got into it earlier because of the story, because it kind of related, with this Mars Mechanic thing that I'm doing with Mirv and Xtract and Eddie Def is on it. You know, it came from the El Stew era when Bucket was in it. And that was a while back when we were, I think, [?] remember the record label we were on. But this was like, I think, even pre Primus. But yeah, you know, we're just putting out this album. You know, and it's funny, like I said, because the actual title song, Mars Mechanics, was one of the songs I turned in an outtake from some of the songs we were writing for GN'R because, you know, it's like, at that point, I've always been kind of a collaborator, you know, I like to like get together, you know, so when they, you know, I'm not just like sit around and yeah, of course I make, make some of my own music and do some of my own shit, but mainly, you know, I like collaborating with people. So, you know, it was like, that's why like this Melissa thing, you know, it's like, I think we work well together. So, you know, I'm doing that thing with her. And then for this project, I thought, "Oh man," you know, Xtract and I have been talking about doing something for a long time and we thought, "Hey, let's bring in Mirv," and, "Hey, remember we were writing back in the day?" So we've been digging up all our old like disks and stuff, you know, like, I mean, literally like floppy disk and shit, stuff we had and like, you know, like old, like weird Macs and weird computer stuff and plugging them in and listening to the cool, you know, some of the stuff and all this GN'R stuff came up that I was submitting. And so we've, you know, and you know, so we've just been revamping some of those, you know, some were just so out that I just, you know, it's ridiculous. I just like, I can't even believe I turned this into Roy or whoever was listening. Maybe even Axl heard of it. I mean, you'll hear some of them on the album. And they're crazy. Like one is called Cosey, I think, because of Pete Cosey. He was the guitar player. I think he passed away, but he was with Miles Davis in the seventies. And he was always one of my favorite guitar players. Yeah, if you don't know, you should listen to that era like the Dark Magus and Get Up With It era, that I think Cosey's on some of those albums. And, I mean, if I turn that in, it's ridiculous. And that they ever get out, you know, online and click on Cosey. They would go, "Yeah, Brain's fucked up. I wouldn't have turned that in either." Not even cool.

Brando: I'm looking forward to hearing what it

Brain: Yeah, it's all the weirdo shit. This might not even be right for GN'R fans, but it's all the weirdo shit.

Brando: Hey, I mean, again, I love Buckethead and he's the weirdo shit. I mean, it's just, we appreciate him. Primus, I love Primus. Primus is weirdo shit. I'm a weirdo.

Brain: Yeah, yeah, that's true. Yeah, okay. Well, yeah, you might, you know, we wanted to get Buckethead on this, but it just never, we never could connect and it never happened because he was a part of it before too, but we got Mirv on it, so that's cool. That's pretty much what I'm working on besides tennis.

Brando: Well, when do you think we can expect that record?

Brain: The Mars? That's ready to go. We're just trying to see if someone wants to put it out. If not, we're gonna probably just put it out ourselves. So I'm thinking it's like the next month.

Brando: Oh, wow.

Brain: Yeah, we have it out to a couple of labels and they're checking it out and seeing if we can work something out. Not that we're gonna get any money, but it'd be cool to just have it out on something. And if not, we'll put it out ourselves.

Brando: Awesome, looking forward to that, however it comes out. And then, yeah, the tennis thing. I mean, are you looking, is this gonna be a career change for you? Or is this just, you're challenging yourself. You like playing tennis, but, "You know what? I wanna see how far I could take this"? Is this like a Tim Tebow, leaving football, trying baseball? What's a better analogy of like one person jumping from one, I don't know, like Master P trying to play basketball. You know what I mean?

Brain: Yeah, it's probably on that level or worse. But no, I mean, yeah. I mean, for one, yeah, I'm just enjoying it right now. But I mean, I would love to compete. Like I had, like I said, my first tournament was last night, you know, doing a USTA tournament. And, you know, it was awesome. I mean, it was like, I want to do more and this team I'm on has been doing really well. And you know, they might go to like districts and then they've been from there, they go to, I think, you know, the regionals and stuff like that. So I'd like to see how far I can take it. But like I said, my goal is I want to, I'm taking crazy lessons and I'm like doing it like five days a week. I mean, I would love to like be able to, you know, like, challenge Lars to a match or something. I mean, that would be my ultimate goal. I mean, I've only been a couple of times, but you know, but his dad was like, right. I think his dad was a pro, you know? I mean, I think his dad like played [?].

Conie: He was a professional player.

Brain: Yeah. And I heard Lars is good too. So, you know, I mean, I don't know. That might just be way out.

Conie: He went the other way. He quit tennis to take up drums.

Brando: Oh, that's what Lars did?

Brain: Wow, okay.

Conie: Exactly the opposite.

Brain: Okay, I didn't know that.

Brando: Interesting. I guess that's a good career move. I can't imagine him being more famous and wealthy.

Conie: Worked out for him, I guess.

Brando: So let's keep practicing. Obviously, you're on the right path. And maybe, you know, it'll be Lars versus Brain in the halftime or, I don't know, what do they call it in tennis? Just like mid-match? It'll be Brain and Melissa, so you'll do the halftime thing there. It'll be a whole thing for you. That's completely awesome, Brain. I know you said you were gracious enough to come back on, but you're like, "Oh, I actually have things to talk about now." Well, you always have things to talk about, but the fact that we get to look forward to the things from you with Melissa, with Mirv. Tennis, even, is just, it's super cool. And then hopefully social media, cause obviously you have a lot more than five fans. So hopefully we see you on Twitter or get Instagram. Instagram seems to be what all the cool kids are doing now. And hopefully this will be the start of rekindling your friendship with Mother Goose. Hopefully something comes from that as well.

Brain: Yeah man, hopefully it will man, I miss him.

Brando: Right on, well Tommy misses you, so he definitely, as I played earlier, you got a kick.

Brain: I miss Tommy also, yeah.

Brando: Right on, who knows? Maybe one day we'll have like a whole Chinese reunion here on the AFD show. Maybe we'll pull that off one day. I don't know if I can make that happen. Conie, anything else before we let Brain continue his day?

Conie: No, just to say it's been an honor, dude.

Brain: Oh, thanks, Conie. Thanks, you know, thanks so much.

Conie: No, thank you, man.

Brando: So Brain, again, it's just really appreciated. Obviously you're always welcome on. One more sound effect for you. You are a... I call my, that's why I call my listeners here, I call them bad asses. I don't know. I'm a weirdo. That's why I like you, Brain. I'm a weirdo as well.

Brain: Wait, have you even, has Melissa done this?

Brando: She has not.

Brain: I mean, I was just talking to her yesterday when I said I was doing this and I was like, "Hey, have you done it yet?" And she was like, "No." And I was like, "Well, you should," you know? I mean, it's rad and you know, here, I sent her the link. I'm not gonna start using rad, dude. Now you're making me-


Brain: [?] all fucking mojo.

Brando: That's what I said to Conie before.

Brain: Yeah, man, "It's a sick podcast and you should check it." So she said, "Yeah, give him my email."

Brando: I appreciate that, that you did that. So yeah, please send me her email, I would love to.

Brain: Believe me, I wouldn't have recommended you if I didn't think it was worth doing and it was like how cool you were and kind too. And you know, so yeah, I mean, I was telling her, yeah, you know, it's... you know, I was about to say "rad", it's fucked me up.

Brando: I said to Conie before-

Brain: [?] messed up. Now I gotta go see a therapist over "rad".

Brando: I said, I was like, Conie, I was like, he's gonna be self-conscious. I know it now. I love it though.

Brain: Yeah, I was like thinking too much, but all right. I mean, I'll definitely hit her up. She's a perfect person. You'll see, it'll be cool.

Brando: We can just talk about candy the entire time. You know what I mean?

Brain: Right, that's her vibe. Yeah, exactly. I just think you guys would, I just know you and the questions you're gonna ask and the way she is that you're gonna love it and you know. She'll know, she'll tell you she can't talk about something. You know, I would ask some crazy shit, why not?

Brando: Well, if it works, even if it doesn't work out, Brain, I appreciate you just even doing that and saying that. So, you know, the effort and the thought means a lot. So thank you.

Brain: That's rad.

Brando: Here's what you do. You gotta make the Brain rad t-shirts before social media. You gotta sell those on your website.

Brain: It just comes out now. Now I'm thinking about it. I might have to flip it.

Brando: I'm sorry. Well, think of another word, "tubular". Say "tubular" more. Groovy. Oh, Brain, thank you so much for your time. You were just totally awesome. And I hope to just, you know, one day you come out here to the East Coast, whether it's with Melissa or however it is, I would love to meet you and just, you know, shake your hand and just make it awkward.

Brain: Yeah, we will. And, Conie, we've been getting some weird offers playing some crazy places. So we might be hitting Greece sooner than we think. Oh yeah, yeah, we've been getting some offers.

Conie: That would be cool, man.

Brando: Right on. [?] I look forward to it all, Brian. Thank you so much.

Brain: Right on, man, thanks guys.

Transcription of the part about The General and Seven:

Brain: Well, I want to backtrack for a second.

Brando: Sure.

Brain: Because we were talking about Tommy and you just mentioned the song, The General and it’s funny, because I have a story. Because, you know, this album that I’m making right now with some old friends, we just decided to kind of… it started out as bowling night out type thing, where I have a friend that has this rad studio in Berkeley, and he was like, “Hey Brain, I’m taking off to Mexico or something for a couple of months to work on this project. You can just have the studio, and come in and jam, and do stuff”. So I called up my friend Mirv [Marc Haggard] who was part of the Limbomaniacs with me and stuff like that, and my friend Extrakd [Steve Freeman], who was kind of like a dj who worked on this El Stew album that Bucket actually played on also along with this dj Eddie Def and dj Disk, and then Bucket was on it and stuff. So, it’s funny, because how The General came about was, we were supposed to – you know, this was like building up to that show [House of Blues]. We were supposed to – well, not supposed to, but everybody was like, “Hey, if anybody’s got songs and shit, you can bring them in”. And so that song, The General, was a song that… you know, Extrakd and Mirv and I, when I wasn’t doing Guns stuff, we’d just jam in my living room type of thing. You know, we had, like, a ProTools setup and we were jamming, and we were trying to come up with songs for Guns. And, you know, we had this song called… we called it “The General” because we were eating General’s chicken.

Brando: Okay... (laughs).

Brain: But when I turned it in to Axl, he thought it was called “The General” because I was kind of making fun of Tommy, as Tommy was the band's, you know, kind of like the MD, he was like the musical director when we’d have rehearsals. And he thought I was poking fun at Tommy as being like a general, you know, like, “Okay, we’re rehearsing at this time” and that kind of shit. And I was like, “No, dude, it was because we ate General’s chicken.”

Brando: (Laughs)

Brain: You know, it’s funny, because you said “General” and it all comes back around. Because, you know, we were writing all these crazy songs to try to turn in and these were coming from, like, you know, Extrakd is an old school dj type – he’s a bass player, but he loves old school break beats and, you know, cratedigger type of guy – and so this shit we were putting together was crazy. You know, we were just kind of going like, “Okay, what samples should we find for Axl?” Like, “Well, he’s kind of like Julius Caesar”, so we were sampling Julius Caesar, looking for albums, you know, and old school crazy shit. And I think we sampled, like, Ben Hur and chopped it up and cut it up, and that became a jam called “Seven” – I think we called it “Seven”. And I remember bringing that to the studio to have – I think Roy Thomas Baker was producing at that point and, you know, we’d be playing the stuff and he’d be in. Like, one of the songs that actually is called – the album that we’re making now is called Mars Mechanics and one of the songs we have on the album, we put that on the album, and it was one of the ones that I played for Roy, and, you know, he was like, “What is this, reggae?” And I was just like, “No”, because it was like a Neil Young old school jam that, you know, Mirv was just going off on. But the whole thing was just like, you know, I was turning in all these weirdo songs that were coming, like, way far to the left or whatever, and it was just kind of a crazy story of how that’s… one of them was The General and I think Axl actually sang on The General.

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