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Interview with Brandin Lea:
(Vocals / Guitar - Flickerstick)

Interviewed by the David Felix
Date: April 2007 /
Check out photos from Flickerstick's LIVE show HERE

There are very few bands out there where it can actually be said that ANY kind of recording doesn’t do them justice. Understand... I am not saying that there aren’t many bands that are better live than there are on CD because we know there are plenty of those. What I am saying is that there are few bands where simply experiencing a live performance can captivate you and make anything you’ve ever seen or heard from them before seem obsolete. The five man band out of Texas who call themselves FLICKERSTICK are one of those bands.

On Saturday April 14, 2007, I had the opportunity to witness one of those performances when FLICKERSTICK ignited the stage at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ. Now I know what you’re thinking... if you’re familiar with The Saint at all, how could ANY band “ignite” anything in that small a venue or in that kind of atmosphere? Trust me... they did!

The only thing I could compare a show like this to would be seeing Van Halen in 1976 before they got signed and were setting the Sunset Strip on FIRE with their live performances. Or maybe seeing KISS on the New York circuit in 1974 when they were coming out and putting on a show like no one had every seen before. That’s what you get when you see a FLICKERSTICK show... yes, they’re that fucking good!

From the moment they step out on stage, they captivate an audience like no one else can. Whether they’re playing for 50 people or 500, these guys come out and play like there’s NO tomorrow. The rhythm section of drummer Todd Harwell and bassist Fletcher Lea solidify the arrangements while dueling guitarists Tim Locke and Rex James Ewing are simply inspired to the point you can almost feel the emotion and music flowing through their fingers. Hell, Rex alone is a show in and of himself. From his facial expressions to the way he moves and plays... it’s just an incredible experience to witness. And I can’t even say he’s an underrated guitarist because the band hasn’t even gotten to that point yet. What I CAN say is that he’s probably the best guitarist that a lot of you haven’t even heard of yet. Simply amazing and there’s not a recorder or studio in the world that can capture just how good this guy is.

But the real star of the show is lead vocalist Brandin Lea and the really funny thing is you’d never really know it simply by looking at him. He’s on the shorter side, sports mostly a denim jacket and blue jeans, has that “rugged” look about him and when you first hear his voice, your typical reaction would be, “Yeah... he’s good!” But let me tell ya... when he steps out on stage and the lights go down, his whole persona changes and enthralls an audience in a way I haven’t witness in a LONG time. Plain and simple... FLICKERSTICK is just WAY too good and WAY too loud to be playing a venue like The Saint! But I am glad I had the opportunity to see them again in that kind of atmosphere.

I also had the opportunity to speak with lead vocalist Brandin Lea earlier that afternoon before the show. Here’s what he had to say:

David Felix: Thanks for taking the time out to do this, Brandin. First off, I’d like to welcome you guys back to New Jersey and Asbury Park. I understand this is the first time you’ve been in Asbury Park since you played the night after the “9-11” tragedy. What do you remember most about that night and that experience?

Brandin Lea: That’s true! But yeah... I remember a lot of lighters in the air and a lot of people in a state of discomfort and confusion. It was something I’ll never forget, I can tell ya that! That night in Jersey is something that I think will stick with all of us for the rest of our lives.

David Felix: Do you think tonight’s performance may bring back some of those old memories and feelings?

Brandin Lea: Could be! It’s been a long time but I would think so. You just don’t get over something like that.

David Felix: You guys are most famous for being the winners of VH1’s “Bands On The Run” competition. What was that experience like for you and the band?

Brandin Lea: Surreal & odd! (laughs) That basically sums it up for us! But it was a very odd thing to do and to be involved with.

David Felix: Do people still remember you guys from that?

Brandin Lea: Oh yeah... of course! People are always like, “Hey, aren’t you guys from that show? We remember that! That was fun!” And stuff like that... (laughs)

David Felix: Do you still stay in contact with or hear from any of the other bands that were on the show?

Brandin Lea: No... not in a really long time.

David Felix: Despite its success, that was the only season for “Bands On The Run.” Any insight as to why that was?

Brandin Lea: It was too expensive... we went WAY over budget. That’s pretty much it! It was way too expensive to continue on with.

David Felix: You were in the middle of a “bidding war” and signed with SONY/ EPIC Records shortly after the finale. What was that whole experience like for such a young band?

Brandin Lea: It was interesting. A lot of people get confused and think that it was all part of the show but it actually was not. That was something that just came together afterwards. Being on a major label is always just a big mass of confusion. I mean it’s got its positive points where they can really help you if they want to, but on the other hand they can pretty much do whatever they want. But for us, it was a fun experience to have done it. Then “9-11” happened and put the breaks on a lot of things but... that’s just how it went.

David Felix: You guys were able to break free from SONY/ EPIC and decided to stick with some of the smaller and/or “indie” labels. Why is that and do you think that hurt the bands’ chances for success and reaching a larger audience?

Brandin Lea: Well, the follow up record was on an “indie” label just because we hadn’t released anything in almost two and a half years because we were on the road so much. So we decided to go with an “indie” label because we could get it out real quick and not have people waiting so long for another release.

David Felix: The band has gone through some personnel changes over the years. The first to go was your original drummer Dominic Weir who left shortly after the release of your first live CD “CAUSING A CATASTROPHE – LIVE” and then more recently, guitarist Corey Craig left. What ever happened to them and how did you hook up with drummer Todd Harwell and guitarist Tim Locke who replaced them?

Brandin Lea: Basically Dom just wasn’t agreeing with a lot of the things that were going on with us and then Corey’s wife had a baby so he couldn’t tour any more. That’s pretty much what happened. We’re all still friends with Corey but he just didn’t want to be on the road all the time now that he has a family and I think that’s pretty understandable. Now Todd was actually the drummer who was with us in our opening band at the original Asbury Park show. He was in that band out of Dallas for over ten years so we knew him really well and when it came time that we had to decide that Dom was going to be left behind, we knew we wanted him. So, that all fell into place. Then Tim was in another band that we knew of in Dallas and we were all really good friends with him as well. We knew he was extremely talented so... we just dragged him along with us.

David Felix: You guys have a new CD out called “LIVE FROM ATLANTA.” This is your second live album in five years. Any reason why you went with another live album as oppose to a new studio release?

Brandin Lea: Basically we were in between studio releases and had the opportunity at Tree Sound in Atlanta (through our manager) to have this done. We have about an EP’s worth of new material, but we didn’t want to put out an EP. So, we just decided to put this out as kind of a filler while we were in between studio sessions. I know it’s kinda weird to have two live records out in so short a period of time, but we’ve never really done things the “conventional” way anyway so... it’s “par for the course” for us to do something like this. (laughs)

David Felix: LIVE FROM ATLANTA” does feature one new studio track in the song “Helicopter.” Does that mean there is a new studio album in the works shortly?

Brandin Lea: Oh yeah! We haven’t gone into the studio yet, but we are planning on it within the next four to six months.

David Felix: So when do you expect that to be released?

Brandin Lea: As soon as possible! But, I would think in about a year from now... that seems to be the time frame we’re shooting for.

David Felix: I understand through your “MySpace” site that “LIVE FROM ATLANTA” is doing very, very well selling out over 70% of its first pressing in just under a week! That’s pretty impressive. How excited are you guys about that?

Brandin Lea: We’re VERY excited! I mean, for something like this that’s kind of an “odd” product, it’s surprisingly gone very, very well. Much better than anyone thought... double, TRIPLE what any of us thought it would do.

David Felix: How happy are you with the success the band has had so far?

Brandin Lea: It’s been great. We’ve been doing this for a long time now and we still get to tour. There are some cities that are really good and others that are a little harder to play but it’s still something we love to do.

David Felix: If you could change one thing out of all the experiences you’ve had since just prior to getting involved with “Bands On The Run” till now, what would it be and why?

Brandin Lea: Being in New York on “9-11.” Not from a career aspect but just in general. It was just a horrific experience that none of us will ever forget... so that’s what I’d change for sure.

David Felix: So what’s next for FLICKERSTICK?

Brandin Lea: Basically just getting into the studio to work on our next record and tour as much as we can... that’s about it!

David Felix: Thanks again for taking the time out to do this.

Brandin Lea: Hey man, no problem. Thank you and we’ll see you tonight!


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