Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Bad Brad "Trash Talkin' Lolita"
Alabama Music Office.com goes to Rogue Tavern in downtown Birmingham, Alabama for a performance by Bad Brad & The Sipsey Slims. This is a band of professionals that is making a name for themselves one gig at a time. These guys are where Southern music is today.
For 20 years, Brad Guin has covered every pig trail in the U.S. and abroad as a burning sideman and studio musician, playing with such acts as Bobby Blue Bland, B.B. King, Greg Allman, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O'Jays, Clarence Carter, Little Milton, Percy Sledge, Eddie Floyd, Johnny Taylor, Tony Joe White, Bobby Whitlock, T. Graham Brown, Martha and the Vandellas, Travis Wammack, Rick Carter and the League of Legendary Artists, Cornell Dupree, Dennis Edwards, Jim Nabors, Freddy Hart, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Bonnie Bramlett, as well as many all-star special events bands such as The Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Band, The Muscle Shoals Soul Revue. He has played with hundreds of bands at every possible level and in every scenario. His experience as a player is vast, and his education has come from the great legends of the music industry.
Brad has played some of the most illustrious venues in the world: Austin City Limits, The Apollo Theatre, all the Blue Note Clubs in Japan, the star-studded opening of Euro Disney as well as more major festivals than you can shake a stick at, plus the finest theaters and amphitheatres that each major city has to offer. That was as a saxophone player.
To say the very least, he is a seasoned pro. As well as being a ringer musician, he is also a songwriter who considers that to be as much of who he is as his ability as a player.
"It's as much of who I am, if not more," says Brad. "I love telling stories.
In Brad's Words:
I always wanted to cut a record of original material, but I had envisioned a far more instrumental endeavor for one reason. I did not know I could sing. I had know idea. I only started experiencing it after being around Bobby Whitlock, keyboard for Derek & The Dominoes. We would be hanging out drinking coffee, he would sing, and it would come from his toenails. It was awesome. And it was nothing like his speaking voice. I would get in the car after hanging with him and try to do it. It took several years of "doing it" before I would even attempt it in front of anyone.
I had all these songs written, and nothing to do with them. I finally wanted to try my hand at producing. I called all my most bad-to-the-bone friends to do a session in the Shoals: Buster Marbury (Grammy award-winning producer and drummer for The Temptations, who flew in from Detroit), Jason Isbell, Ken Waters, Jimbo Hart of the 400 Unit, Greg Lowery, Scott Boyer III, Shane Porter, Chris Gordon, Chad Fisher and Dan Western. I traded a Fender Rhodes piano to my friend Jimmy Nutt for three days in his new Sheffield, Alabama studio, The Nutt House.
Buster Marbury heard me fooling aroung singing. He said, "You need to do that, man. You got something."
Buster passed away from cancer a short time later, but he put a seed in my head, otherwise I doubt I would have even attempted it. The whole voice thing would have never happened without Bobby Whitlock or Buster Marbury. I was so shy and secretive about developing it that my own wife and child had no idea. Nobody knew it, and it was literally many years after my time with Bobby and Buster that I hooked up with the guys in the Slims to cut the record that anyone knew about my singing.
When I cut the vocals, it shocked everyone that knows me, and it has been a wonderful experience arguing with everyone that knows me that it really is me singing on the album. It's Jim Nabors syndrome, because I am country as a turnip green, and I sing like an old black man. That comes from years of passionately listening to Stax, Muscle Shoals, High Records, Motown, Ray Charles, the Philadelphia stuff, the Macon, Georgia stuff and piles of New Orleans music. I can't sing white unless it's country-oriented.
At which point my bluegrass roots and old gospel roots come out, as well as my love of Ray Stevens and Jerry Reed. I grew up so very country on the edge of the Sipsey Swamp. Across the cotton field from my house, bluegrass raged every weekend at least one night if not two, and sometimes all day long. So, my influences are a culmination of all things southern.