Tyler Bryant Interview Monday 2/18/13 Chicago, IL for Chicago Music Magazine
CMM: How are you doing?
Tyler Bryant: Doing good.
CMM: At what age did you start playing the guitar?
TB: I got my first guitar at 6. That all came about because I wanted to be Elvis. I saw a video of Elvis and he had a guitar so I wanted to be like him. So I got a little harmony acoustic guitar. It had three strings on it. I dyed my hair black and got some leather pants and became Elvis Presley. When I was 11 years old, by then I had realized I wasn’t Elvis. I had a dirt bike and I sold that and went and bought an electric guitar.
CMM: Who has been an influence on your music?
TB: When I started out, it was a lot of the early blues guys like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Lightnin Hopkins, Sunhouse, Charlie Hooker. As I got older, I started listening to bands like the Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. That is when I kind of got into songwriting is when I learned about Tom Petty and I was listening to more rock n roll. A lot of the rock n roll that I love was inspired by the blues guys that I love. I just kind of watched it evolve through the history books.
CMM: If you can share the stage with one musician past or present who would it be, why and what would it mean to you?
TB: I am not going to say Tom Petty ‘cause I have said that a million times before and tonight I definitely say Jimi Hendrix just because I would love to stand on the stage and just feel the power coming from those amps. I will go for long periods of time without listening to Hendrix and then like we were listening to him the other day on the road and I was going “Whoa, like this guy is unbelievable.” I would just love to see that with my own eyes. I mean he influenced everyone , I would love to do that.
CMM: Can you give a brief history of your band?
TB: Yeah, our band name is a funny story. We played with Aerosmith in New York and we were flying out of New York. My pink guitar, which just got stolen - it is heartbreaking really because there is so much history with it. It was going through security with me at the airport and it got flagged down for having some sort of explosives on it. Which it just happened to be like probably Aerosmith’s pyrotechnics but anyways, Graham walked by and goes, “Look, they’re shaking Tyler down.” We have been searching for a band name at that point and said “O, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown.” There it is. Yeah, so thanks Pinky wherever you are. I met Caleb as soon as I moved to Nashville, he was the first and only drummer I met with and we became fast friends. I met Graham in New York City. I had a Sirius radio interview and he was introduced to me as the guy that was going to put me out of a job. So I just asked him to join the band. Then we auditioned about 25 bass players ‘til we found Noah Denny and he had the right attitude.
CMM: On Wild Child, what is that one song that means the most to you and what inspired you to write it?
TB: For me, that song is "Poor Boy’s Dream" which is the very last track on the album. It’s the most stripped back, rootsy recording on the album. It’s the kind of story where I came from. I used to wake up and put on my favorite records and go to sleep listening to them. On my drive to school I would be listening to them. The only reason I listened to music is because I loved it. You know once you start doing it for a living, all these other factors come into play. It is like I gotta make a living doing this, I gotta make money, I gotta do this. This person is telling me I would be more successful if I will do this, this person is telling me I should do this, I need to cut my hair, I need to change my name. And like, so to me, that song is basically just going 'no, this is why you do this.' It’s about getting back to the basics, you know? There is one kid driving all night in his car, there is another strumming his guitar. He don’t do it for the money, he does it for the heart. It’s a poor boy’s dream. It’s a reminder to me of why I love music and you know when we are out in the city a million miles away from where we are from, it’s like it kinda helps to take me back there.
CMM: What is touring like for you?
TB: I love touring. I get to travel the world with my best friends and we get to play music for a living. So you really couldn’t ask for anything cooler. Yeah, I just love seeing the world, getting to play music every night. But 5 or 6 dudes in a hotel room could get kinda gross, we are in a van so we drive ourselves so the driving gets pretty gnarley sometimes. They are all things you learn to love and live with for the most part. I just think sometimes it’s a lot easier to say “O yeah, 40 hours is nothing to drive” when you’re not doing it, but we do it though.
CMM: Now when looking back, what is that moment that will stick forever?
TB: The very first night I jammed with Jeff Beck. Yeah, that was definitely a dream come true for me you know. I’ll never forget I had the Guitar Shop album cover pinned up above my light switch in my room. You know, I just grew up listening to his records and kinda like having his posters on my wall and idolizing this guy and then he asked me to come out and play with him. I got to do a couple of tours with him and play with him every night on the road. It was just really a special experience for me to walk out on stage and experience that. That one really stands out for me, I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.
CMM: What is in store for 2013?
TB: Yeah, we are getting our touring situation together right now. We will be posting all of our tour dates on www.tylerbryantmusic.com and yeah, we’ve just been writing new songs on any days off we have. We’re doing this run with the Rival Sons now. Killer rock band. I’m excited about it. So we will be touring all year until we decide we are going to make another record. It is just an evolving thing and we are happy to be playing music for a living.
CMM: Chicago is a beautiful city with a lot of music, definitely would love to have you back.
TB: Yeah, we will keep coming back as long as people keep coming out. Yeah, we had some deep dish pizza today.
CMM: Thank you for taking the time with CMM.
TB: Absolutely. Appreciate it!