Hello world…feelin’ dat’ band, what they call it, word on the street…its the Brass-A-Holics!
How did you all come together to create this band?
When we first started, even before we had a name for the group I (Winston Turner) made a few phone calls to some people I knew. I also went out to a bunch of clubs and looked a lot of bands on the hunt for the right people. I looked for people that I thought would fit best musically and buy into a new concept. It was a slow process. I found one at a time and as people jumped on board they too began to help look for other band members that would work. It was rough. At first everybody played with different groups, had different schedules, etc. Eventually when things started to take shape it took about a year to settle into a real core group.
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
In the beginning stages of the band all I (Winston Turner) knew was that I wanted to put a gogo twist on brass music. I met with Claude Flot who eventually became the band’s manager to talk about the concept and how he could help me on the business side. Tannon Williams, the co-founder of the group, Flot, and I all started throwing around names but none of them seemed to be a good fit. One day, Tannon said, “Brass-A-Holics”. At first I liked it but didn’t love it; my manager on the other hand hated it! It began to grow on me and we played around with it at one of our first shows on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. The crowd got so into it – it was incredible, they loved the concept. Flot came up to me with a big smile on his face at the end of the show and he said, “that’s it, I’m sold, we can do so much with this”. From there we never looked back and we’ve been having fun with it ever since.
What are your musical influences?
That is a hard question for us. Some of us grew up in New Orleans, so the brass bands, jazz, and high school marching bands played a major role in why we turned to music. Over time there have been a lot of individual influences for all of us. We have a very diverse group and each of us have our own interests. Keiko Komaki (keyboardist), for instance, is from Japan but her inspiration comes from Rickey Peterson, and Joe Sample. Jason Slack (Tuba) is influenced by gospel music and hip-hop. Robin Clabby (Sax) is very jazzy. There are influences all over the place and everyone contributes. If you listen to the band as a whole you will hear us pull from artists like Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Bob James, Bob Marley, and pretty much most of the artists from the 1980’s.
What are the PROs and CONs of playing in a band?
The PROs are being able to do what we love to do on a nightly basis. The creativity is a big part of what we bring to the table and having the opportunity to see our visions come to life on stage and in the studio is one of the best feelings in the world. The Brass-A-Holics are a family so its like being around your favorite cousins all the time – constant fun! The people we meet, the experience of performing major festivals in front of 50,000+ people, being able to see the world…there are a lot of PRO’s I can go on and on. CONs? What CONs? We love the grind, long hours, dedication, sweat, and tears that go into making this happen.
What’s your songwriting method?
There are a lot of talented writers within the Brass-A-Holics. The album features songs written by Winston Turner, Tannon Williams, Robin Clabby, Matt Clark, and Rickey Caesar. We’re a very open team of musicians. Everyone contributes to pretty much every song. One person may come up with a song concept because of something that happened in his/her life, bring a foundation to the group, and then light bulbs start to go off and the ideas start flowing. Eventually it comes together. We love to play around with our ideas at shows. If we are working on a new song we may try it a few different ways at various shows and at some point it will fall into a place where everyone is rocking with it.
I Am Brass-A-Holic. How was the recording and writing process?
Although this is our debut album we have been together for 3 years now. Its taken us this long to come out with a CD by design. We wanted the music to marinade over the years so it could have that perfect flavor. The music was already there so once we were ready we looked at all the songs that we though should make the album and eliminated from there. This was a hard process as there were nearly 20 songs in question. It took the producer of the album, Irvin Mayfield, to remind us that it wasn’t going to be our last album and some of our material could be saved for the next one. After we narrowed the songs down we went into the studio to record the finals. We had a very organized process and this was one of the smoothest recordings I’ve experienced in my 20+ years of being a musician. Misha Kachkachishvili with Esplanade Studios, Irvin Mayfield, and our management team did a great job of tying all of the loose ends together. The band put in the tedious hours it took to complete the project and a great album was born. Total team effort!
How you come up with the title?
Initially we were going with a conceptual name for the album. In the final hour we decided that the debut project should be straight- forward, bold, and self entitled. All of our fans are Brass-A-Holics. Everyone in New Orleans is definitely a Brass-A-Holic by default. Hell, if you love music (particularly horns) and you have never heard of us you are a Brass-A-Holic and don’t even know it. Every time someone picks up our album we want them to be reminded of their musical addiction! – I AM A BRASS-A-HOLIC
What was it like to work with Irvin Mayfield?
It was an honor to work with someone a successful as Irvin Mayfield. He was able to bring in musicians like Shane Theriot (guitar), Bill Summers (Percussionist), and Ronald Markham (bass, microkorg) to add some extra flavor to the album. Irvin has a knack for what sounds good, what needs to be changed, and how something could sound better. He was able to help us make some of the small tweaks that played a major part in making everything sound right.
Any hilarious moments while hitting the road or playing a gig?
I can remember one time we were playing at The Maison in New Orleans. The show was packed wall to wall, and the energy was as high as it could be. A random guy ran up to our manager next to the stage and asked, “Hey, can you please let me propose to my fiancé on stage with the Brass-A-Holics”? The manager pulls Winston aside to let him know. With the energy so high and not thinking straight Winston escorted the couple onto the stage, grabs the mic, and says “we have to stop the show for a very special moment…my man here wants to propose to his fiancé”. See what happened there? Can you say “spoiled the moment”? It was ok the couple laughed it off and I’m pretty sure they are living happily ever after now.
What’s next in Brass-A-Holics’ world?
We’ll continue to intoxicate the world with our music, have fun, and put on some of the best live shows you could ever experience. A Grammy would be nice!