Brian Vander Ark [Interview]
July 2, 2014 1 Comment
As a kid growing up in the 90’s, there were some very important folks in the world of music that entirely embodied what it meant to be a rockstar and an artist all at the same time. I’m sure every generation has this feeling, but this one is mine dammit, and it is all I know. I have actually grown into adulthood during a strange time when I still clearly remember the joy of rushing off the mall each Tuesday for New Release day, but have grown into the digital age where “streaming” and “downloading” is real and undeniably convenient. It has been a rather strange and savage ride to this point, but there are some obvious perks. One of them being that I still get to hear wonderful groups from my childhood days rocking out, and being thoroughly loved by the next generation. And one group that completely embodies this wonderful spirit is definitely The Verve Pipe, including the diligently hard working frontman Brian Vander Ark.
Brian Vander Ark may very well be one of the last great lead singers of our time. If you have ever had the chance to see him and his equally talented and entertaining crew perform, you should know what I am talking about. When you see The Verve Pipe, you are seeing a SHOW! Watching Brian and crew perform is as far from simply watching a few dudes play songs you heard on the radio as it can possible get. It is electrifying, to throw out some good old fashion cliques, and a phenomenal experience. If you haven’t had the chance to catch a viewing, you are definitely in luck! The Verve Pipe recently released their first adult-oriented album in 13 years, and will definitely be touring the hell out of this album! That is not to say that they haven’t already been performing all over the world for so many years past. But now we have even more tunes to love and enjoy!
So, we are extremely proud to announce that Brian Vander Ark agreed to chat with us a bit about his experiences as a musician, the upcoming album, and why he REALLY needs some damn sleep! Check it out!
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?
3rd grade – I got my first guitar and learned “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” by Glenn Campbell.
What were some inspirations that led you to this world?
My older brother played guitar, which was very inspirational.
With you being a long time musician, and an obvious professional, I have to ask – How do you feel the music industry has changed since entering the digital world? Is it better or worse, would you say?
Much better in most ways. I enjoy the immediacy of the digital delivery. I also think that file sharing has helped spread the word on my music for years. It’s helped me grow my fan base immensely. Although I do still buy and enjoy vinyl.
The Verve Pipe’s live performances are absolutely stellar, some of the most fun I have personally watched happen. Tell us, what makes a great show for you?
The audience is usually the key to a great show, but some times the crowd is light. And when that happens we always try to rise above it. Those people took time out, paid a babysitter, and chose to spend the evening with us. I take that very seriously. As long as everyone in the band keeps that in focus, and stresses that we are there to ‘entertain’, we will rock. What sort of ingredients goes in the mix of a successful gig? Honestly? A couple of drinks loosens things up. People play a little more relaxed, in the pocket of the beat. There’s less urgency to it, and that can be a good thing. Having a great setlist helps as well. And not eating at least 3 hours prior to the gig.
I don’t remember being all that ‘surprised’, though it was a good feeling. Actually it only felt good for about a minute or two. I immediately started worrying about the follow-up.
How did you manage to get involved with the 2001 film Rock Star? What made you want to get into the world of acting on top of being a prized musician?
I was asked to write something ‘Seattle-esque”. I read the script and wrote 2 songs. One was supposed to have a lot of gay innuendo, since the lead singer was coming out in the movie. That song was called “Mother Load”. It was really awful, and it was clear that EMI was not into it at all. But Colorful followed that one on the demo tape, and they were very excited about it. As far as acting, it seemed like it would be fun. I spent so much time in my trailer, however, that it was very boring. Although I did write most of the songs from Underneath during that down time.
It has been 13 years since The Verve Pipe’s last adult oriented release. But, How did it feel to get back in the studio in such a manner? And what can fans expect to hear on the new release?
It felt really good to be working with the band again. I was interested in producing this time out, and having that control was odd at first, but very liberating as well. Once everyone was on board with it, things started to flow nicely. Fans seem to really love the record, which surprised me a bit, because I was under the impression that everyone wanted Villains 2.
How did you manage to hook up with actor Jeff Daniels to work on the title track for Overboard?
Jeff and I met a few years ago. We share an admiration for each other’s work. He’s another Michigan guy. Very accessible, helluva work ethic, like me. He’s a tremendous story teller, or at least knows a good one. I imagine that’s how he chooses the work he gets involved in. So when I sent him the idea, I was looking for his opinion of the story, which he seemed to really like. He had a lot of great suggestions and wrote come terrific lyrics for it. Most of all, he helped me with the ending. It just didn’t make sense the way that I had it. It was unfocused, unfinished and he helped finish it.
Our piano/bar/music room. Very manly in there, with books and cigars and bourbon. My favorite room in the house – I love it.
So what else does the future hold for you personally, as well as The Verve Pipe?
I’m hoping sleep! Trying to get on the road with the band as much as possible.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
Thinking about that answer I just gave you about getting some sleep.