{Behind The Music} Brother Bicker on Big Island Love

Brother-bicker-musician

At dinner one night, we were seated at the table next to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and it was the one time in my life that I can say that I was star-struck. My wife wisely prevented me from interrupting Dave’s dinner to take a picture, particularly since I didn’t have a phone with me and I would have had to have him take the picture and email it to me! –  @brotherbicker

Live interview September 1 at 6:20pm et
Episode #356 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/09/01/episode-356-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW BROTHER BICKER
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Interviewing: Jeremy Hrdlicka

Growing up…
music was always a part of my life. My mom always had music on and there was a big record collection. It wasn’t the coolest collection – but it was big. As I grew up, I started to develop my own musical tastes moving from the Neil Diamond and the Beach Boys (Endless Summer was my first album) my mom listened to into the great ‘80s rock and pop scene. I still remember listening to Def Leppard on the school bus ad nauseum. I’ll still do that occasionally and they still remain one of my favorite bands. I was in school when MTV and Much Music (Canada’s version) first came out and when we grew up everyone’s musical experience revolved around the music video.

I came to writing and playing music late in life…
I think I was scared off of it when I was forced into playing the organ in elementary school – not piano, not keyboard – organ. Not exactly the coolest of instruments. I would always sing though and played in a frat band in college. Then when I stayed home after the birth of my oldest son, I taught myself to strum guitar and then began to learn, play and write music. I had a couple of friends that I started to jam with and they were instrumental in helping me build my confidence enough to start performing.

Big Island Love…
This is a love song that I wrote after my wife and I took a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii for our 20th anniversary. I got the song title from a bumper sticker that I bought in Hilo. It is about the romance of the island and the milestone of being together for so long – about falling in love again with the one you love.

Support the artist: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/bucket-list-ep/id1088396708

On the final couple of days of the trip…
we stayed at a 5 star resort. At dinner one night, we were seated at the table next to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and it was the one time in my life that I can say that I was star-struck. My wife wisely prevented me from interrupting Dave’s dinner to take a picture, particularly since I didn’t have a phone with me and I would have had to have him take the picture and email it to me! I spent the next couple of days walking around the resort, hoping to run into him. I never did. I like to joke that this song is a love song to my wife or to Dave Grohl, take your pick.

Brother-bicker-stage

I like to say that our music is the love-child of …
Pearl Jam, R.E.M and the Zac Brown Band. Our songs are about what we know: love, relationships, loss, growing old, etc. We are all family guys and that becomes a main driver in our songs. We won’t be singing about parties, booty and bling. That isn’t our audience. We might get as risqué as soccer moms and tequila shots. Luckily for the audience, we have left the baby puke and diapers stage.

This album is called Bucket List for that exact reason…
I am knocking this dream off of my Bucket List. My only wish for this EP was to get it done and have it be something that I could be proud of. I wanted to learn and understand what it takes to accomplish this feat. I wasn’t expecting to go platinum or become famous. I just want to keep getting better at song-writing and be able to grow. I hope this is the first of many song or album releases and I know that what I have learned over the last year and a half will be reflected in future songs.

We are from Calgary, Alberta…
where the music scene has really come into its own in the last decade or so. We have always been known as a country music town (Paul Brandt is a native son) and we are a couple of hundred miles from the home of Nickleback but the scene has really started to explode. On any night of the week, you can find live music at some great venues like the Ironwood, Wine-O’s, Palomino’s, the Blind Beggar and others. There is also a thriving singer-songwriter scene with open-mike and jam nights at bars across the city. That is where I built up the confidence to write and perform original music – hitting Swig’s bar on a Monday night and testing out the new song that I had written. The scene is very open and nurturing not competitive. Everybody is looking to give each other a hand up and make the whole scene a success.

Tell me about one fun thing you like to do that can be music or non-music related.

Family is the most important thing in my life…
and my free time revolves around being a sports parent – soccer, hockey and football. I like nothing more than watching my kids play. I am also a pee wee football coach.

I am a neophyte in the music business…
I am just getting into it, looking forward to the time when I can quit my day job and live the rock star dream. I do know it is a hard road and not for the faint of heart. Music is a commodity nowadays, with thousands of people way more talented than you putting out great stuff and just eeking by. At the same time, the internet has become

The great equalizer in the music business…
It is a democratizing force that allows anyone with an idea and a computer to share their music with the world. Twenty five years ago, there was no way that guys like us would dream of cutting a CD and getting onto I-tunes and the radio. Now we can do all of that at relatively low cost and we can have access to distribution channels that we never would have dreamed of before (CD Baby, Apple Music, etc.). My EP is called Bucket List. It has been my dream since college to have a CD. Technology has allowed me to knock this experience of my list.

The biggest challenge to my music career…
for me is balancing this passion with a day job and a family. I have very little time to concentrate on music so it happens in fits and starts. When you write music, its hard to perform. When you are concentrating on performing, it is hard to record. When you are recording, marketing and promotion isn’t possible. When you work 9 to 5, you have little time for any of it! The Bucket List EP took over a year to cut 6 songs. You just have to accept that. I have surrounded myself with guys in the band who are like- minded. We push each other and make time for band practice every week. We set goals and book gigs that force us to keep our chops up so we don’t look like idiots. We try hard to set aside time once a week to have song-writing sessions to keep that creative muscle flexed. The other thing is state of mind – this isn’t life and death that we are talking about here. This is fun and by keeping it fun we can keep moving forward. I know music will be a part of my life from now forward and eventually I will get more time at the hobby that I love. That makes the challenges easier to accept and keep moving forward.

I think that both strategies are equally valid…
There was a time when singles were the main distribution for music – back in the 50-60s when jukeboxes and radio were the way most people got their music. Then as LPs came into favour, full albums were the status quo and this continued into the CD years. Things seem to be swinging back to the single. With i-Tunes and music streaming, it is easy and cheap to get your fix and download and listen to your favorite song or add it to your playlist.

I released Bucket List because I had always wanted to have a CD. I am old school. I wanted something that I could touch and hold in my hand and pull down and show my grandkids, 20 years from now. Going forward I can totally see Brother Bicker adopting the singles format. It is faster and easier to get you music with less up front cost, It keeps you releasing new stuff and front of mind to your fans.

Social Media…
As I mentioned above, guys like us would have had a much more difficult time writing, recording and sharing our music 25 years ago. Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Soundcloud, etc,) provides the platform to market, promote, distribute and sell music that has never existed before now. It has replaced the record company and democratized music production. Unfortunately at the same time it has commoditized music, as it is available everywhere. The challenge is to strike that balance that allows you to keep making music and

Making money off of it. It requires out of the box thinking… or you get a day job and do it only for the enjoyment of it. Take your pick.

Music trends…
We don’t really think too much about it. We write and play what we like and try to write and arrange songs that sound good. We have been around too long to be current or trendy. We also know that we won’t be on the play list for those who like EDM or hip hop. We play to our own audience and try not to worry about the rest.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with Dave Grohl…
After my brush with celebrity in Hawaii, Dave Grohl has moved to the top of my “let me buy you a beer list”. Here is a guy who dropped out of high school to travel around the US with Scream and then ended up landing in arguably the biggest band ever, Nirvana. Then after tragedy, he pulls it together and then starts his own thing with the Foo Fighters and becomes one of this generations greatest rock bands. Not to stop there, he moves into film making and even into TV hosting. Through it all, he has maintained his reputation as a truly genuine guy – a guy that you just want to have a beer with and hear his great stories.

Favorite quote…
I am not sure where this quote came from but I think it was attributed to Gene Simmons from Kiss. To paraphrase: “we have been really lucky in our career, but the funny thing about it is, it turned out that the harder that we worked, the luckier we got.” I believe that in many ways we make our own luck. Work hard on the things that you can control and don’t worry too much about those that you can’t. I believe that things tend to work out in the end for those who do that.

This a video from the live recording of another of our songs, Arab Spring : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMSywl_Tl5Y

This is a live show recording of Big Island Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBrz8C2RT4o

Promo video for Brother Bicker Bucket List EP : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46lYoJCWrNc

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