Brian comes from a pretty heavy musical background. He's kind of a serious cat, so we have to be careful here with his bio. He can look at you with that one raised eyebrow, and you know you've got trouble. So we'll just say this: Brian is exactly what he is. He can play one chord, and completely change a song. He is considered by his bandmates to be an absolutely brilliant player, and they think he totally kicks ass. Plus, he's really good looking and will buy you a drink.

Brian is in Velvet Chain because the band was seeking an "inventive and experimental" type of guitarist, and this caught his eye. Then, the band's music was diverse and had an element of elegance that really caught his ear. Most importantly, the band seemed open to virtually any approach he wanted to take, and this, he knew, was rare. It seemed to him that if he was ever going to find a band compatible with his own musical sensibilities, this was probably it.

Here's the formula for how Velvet Chain gets the coolest guitar parts for a song: let Brian do whatever he wants. If you follow this simple formula, the song will be improved, every time, no doubt about it. Even if you already have something in mind that you think is cool... forget it... whatever he does will be cooler. Sometimes the band will have a new song up and running and Brian will come in and it will change everything. Typically, he'll show up, listen to the band run through the tune a couple times· start noodling on his guitar over in the corner· nod his head here and there· maybe stop the band once or twice to repeat a part or something· then he'll play the coolest guitar part for that song that you could ever imagine. He's like the Oracle of cool guitar parts.

Brian was born in Burbank, CA. When he was 3 years old, his family moved to Texas. When he was 9 years old, they moved back to Encino, CA, where he went to Hesby Street Elementary School. He was an average student and disliked sports most sports except for golf. Like most musicians, he also disliked math. What he liked the most is school was playing in the orchestra. He played snare drum.

The first instrument he ever played, however, was the piano. They always had a piano in the house and he took lessons for 3 or 4 years. His first recital was when he was 9 years old. He refused to play any of the dorky piano pieces he was supposed to choose from, so he composed his own piece. That figures.

Brian grew up in a highly musical environment. Brian's father was a notable Rockabilly artist in the mid-fifties, and a singer and an actor. Some of his early recordings were covered by the Beatles. Brian picked up his dad's guitar and taught himself to play it when he was about 14.

As a kid, Brian was friendly and outgoing. He liked to build models and would spend days assembling them with meticulous care. He would custom paint them, making them perfect in every way. Then he would blow them up. (Obviously, a musician).

The first music Brian remembers liking was the an album called "Summer of '72." It was one of those K-Tel, "Greatest Hits" albums you buy on TV. It had a lady with a mini skirt on the cover, with a big, fake-looking sun behind her. He remembers liking that weird, "Lion Sleeps Tonight" song. That song is still weird.

The first record he personally bought was called, "Free to be You and Me," by Marlo Thomas. It was a record designed for kids and had some kind of TV show associated with it. It was all about kids having self-esteem and stuff like that. It had a song on it called, "It's Alright to Cry," sung by Rosie Greer. Brian heard about it in school. Apparently, it was a really popular album in the third grade.

His next big purchase was Elton John's greatest hits, which he liked better than Led Zeppelin and Bad Company, which his older brothers had. He remembers listening to Pink Floyd when he was 10 and not really getting it.

He actually preferred his father's own recordings, which he listened to a lot. This music was from the Elvis, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent era, when rock was just beginning, and the lines were blurry between rock, country, soul, pop, and jazz. Vintage rockabilly music in particular contained some phenomenal musicianship, and utilized artists from across the musical spectrum. This music really turned Brian's ear, especially since a lot of it was his own dad's music, and his dad's guitars were sitting right there.

During Brian's high school years he became more introverted and got into music quite seriously. He was appropriately rebellious, which is probably why his first band sounded like Van Halen. But soon, he started listening more to bands like the Police, King Crimson, the Pretenders, and the Talking Heads.

Shortly after high school, he had an experience that would change his musical perceptions forever. When Brian was 18, he studied with Robert Fripp in his "Guitar Craft" seminar in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The first time he ever played guitar in front of an audience was with Fripp and the other guitarists in a West Virgina bar. Brain remains a member of Fripp's "League of Crafty Guitarists."

At 18 years old, Brian was the youngest attendee at this "seminar," which was a week long, highly-intensive, communal living, hard-core, guru type situation, and an extremely intense experience for any musician, particularly a fairly young one. This experience forced Brian to confront the most fundamental aspects regarding the relationship between music and musician. It required him to make some heavy decisions about the way which he would perceive, play and pursue music for the rest of his life. And if this isn't esoteric enough for you, buy a Fripp album.
It was the mention of Fripp that caught Brian's eye when he saw an ad in Music Connection for a guitarist. Brian had been keeping his eye open for years for the right band to appear in L.A., and when he called on this ad, he found Velvet Chain on the other end of the line.

Brian has traveled to Mexico, England, France and Belgium. Prior to Velvet Chain, Brian spent several years playing in a few L.A. bands, including a well-known Afro-Cuban funk band called "Man-go-Bang!" At the same time, he was at UCLA pursuing a Music Degree, and played in (and arranged for) the UCLA Jazz Ensemble (Big Band Jazz). He graduated in 1994 with a BA in Music Composition. He had already started the Masters program in Musicology when the television business caught wind of him and sucked him in. From there, the studio gigs became regular, and the Masters program became an impediment to his lifestyle.

Brian's all time favorite artists and most notable influences are French composer, Erik Satie, American composer, Henry Mancini, and the Nelson Riddle/Frank Sinatra recordings. He is partial to subtly over flamboyance, which is why his least favorite composer is Wagner (who, by the way, was an over-blown, bombastic, racist pig).

As far as today's pop music goes, Brian likes Kruder & Dorfmeister, Weezer, and Massive Attack. He also thinks Beck is great.

 

 

Besides being in Velvet Chain, Brian is still actively working in television, doing session gigs, and driving around L.A. in a goddam Alfa Romeo spider. If you're watching the TV show, "King of Queens", and you hear some guitar· that's Brian. If a Mitsubishi commercial comes on, chances are, the guitar is Brian. Buick, Sears, McDonald's· Brian, Brian, Brian. The movie, "Super Dave"· Brian. "Brimstone", "Beverly Hills 90210", "Entertainment Tonight"·. Brian's worked on 'em all. Now he's working on the new show, "The Strip." No wonder he'll buy you a drink.