Brian Kroll is a musician, songwriter and producer, and hails from Long Island, NY, USA. He is the brain behind the concept My Son the Bum, a quirky take on song writing and music; where Tim Burton meets rock and everything in between. But this multi-dimensional song writer isn’t just about being silly. He has a depth that has resulted in a diverse repertoire of music from ballades to classic rock inspired songs, and more.
“I’ve been writing since 2003 mainly. I don’t approach writing in any specific way. I write what I write. Sometimes I’m into writing funny stuff and some are more serious.”
“It’s a journey for me, some of the album was recorded on analog tape, some was digital. I’m trying to wear different hats in my song writing.
I have all the quirky songs released with My Son The Bum, and my solo stuff is a very different sound. Switching hats only comes about when I’m deciding what to put where. There isn’t just one sound or one way or one type of song writing.”
“Like with Fog and a Fall – I went to a friend of mine who is a jazz bassist and I said to him that I need these linking pieces and he gave me a sound. The riffs in between the verses were needed. That’s how I work.”
You’ve been doing this for a while – let’s go to that moment when you decided music was your path?
“I don’t think that there was a moment when it wasn’t about music, it was even before I learned how to play guitar. I went to a sleep away camp and I was reading a guitar catalogue during the dinner hour. All the other kids were outside and I was lying on my bunk, reading this guitar catalogue and dreaming of the time I would grow up and learn how to play and be in a band, and buy all those guitars. I was 10 years old. That might have been it.”
Tell me about the concept behind My Son The Bum?
“My Son The Bum started as an album cover name. There was a concept for My Son The Bum called Beyond Therapy – the album had my head on a jack in the box which was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode where the guy would wish people into the corn field if they didn’t do what he wanted. They put this guys head on a jack in the box, so I thought I would do that.
I had the CDs made and the artwork looked like My Son The Bum was the band name and that Beyond Therapy was the name of the album. So when I was speaking to the other band members about a band name I suggested My Son The Bum as the band name, and that stuck.”
“My Son The Bum was a fun project. I didn’t know that bum meant an ass especially in the UK and New Zealand. Here in the US, I meant somebody who could still have a million dollars and you could still be a bum, as there might be someone who has more than you. I meant it in that context.”
If someone had to ask you to play one song of yours which represents you best as a musician, which would it be and why?
“I wrote a song called ‘Fog and the Fall’ – what I wanted was a song that had lyrics that were more me with music that was a combination of psychedelic Beatles, old psychedelic Floyd like Dark Side of the Moon that meets Physical Gravity by Led Zeppelin. But my encapsulation of that and the part in the middle is a little more kooky and sounds like King Crimson. I was very proud of that one.”
You don’t play live a lot – you are mainly a recording artist, why?
“I write and play guitar and choose the people who I want to play on my albums. Everyone I use has been on the road with major bands and so couldn’t commit to a smaller band. The drummer on the album was in the band Trans Siberian Orchestra and he was the drummer on one of Ritchie Blackmore from Deep Purple’s albums. He also toured with him. Most of the other people were studio musicians as well. So I put together the best people I could find and that I liked, who represented the album the best. It wasn’t necessarily people with big names. I wanted to have a finished album and then just ended up having one album, after another, after another. It just ended up that way. If I had to choose a budget to make an album and a budget to play live, I would make an album. It is more about writing and recording. I have two albums now that I’m working on. That’s my focus.”
“I also work with two producers who brings out the best of me and the best out of the project. I have tapes, hard drives… full of stuff and ideas. I like to write so much and create so much that I didn’t have the budget or the time to do everything the right way.”
You’ve worked with so many amazing musicians, is there anyone you would like to work with, anyone on your bucket list?
“I am happy with the people I’m working with. Especially the guy who sings on the album. He works fast and passionately and I love working with him. If it sounds great, it’s fine. I stumbled onto him through a recommendation by some road crew of Linkin Park. Here we are 80 songs later.”
If you were stranded on a Desert Island and could only pick one album, what would it be and why?
“The 50th Anniversary remixes of Abbey Road is the album I’ve been listening to lately.
I was gong to say The Beatles’ White album – I play it all the time. Physical Gravity by Led Zeppelin is another favourite.”
Brian has just released his new single ‘Everday is Halloween’ – download it here: https://soundcloud.com/briankroll/brian-kroll-everyday-is-halloween-in-my-world
View the music video below (just in time for Halloween): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkoUKjkEbvI&feature=youtu.be