Currently, David Arthur Brown is on tour with his Barcelona-based band, Brazzaville, and plans a stop in Milwaukee on Saturday, June 12 at Cactus Club.
Life on the road is a reoccurring event for Brown who, at the age of 15, ran away from home and lived on the streets of Los Angeles. By age 18, he saved enough money from washing dishes to buy a saxaphone and go on low-budget tours in Europe, India, the Far East and South America. While paying in Barcelona, Brown bought his first guitar and began to write songs.
In the ‘90s, Brown went on tour with Siouxie Sioux and Beck. In 1997, he formed Brazzaville.
Brazzaville released six full length CDs. Currently, David lives in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona with his wife and two young children.
OnMilwaukee.com recently caught up with Brown and asked him a few questions.
OnMilwaukee.com: Did you study music formally or are you self-taught?
David Arthur Brown: I went to LACC to study sax and music theory and I did some art classes at Santa Monica College as well, but I am largely self taught. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that I just learned from people I played with.
OMC: How would you describe the music you make?
DB: Oh, I don't know. I usually say "romantic, melancholy pop music" for lack of a better term.
OMC: What are you currently working on?
DB: At the moment I am in the middle of a six-week tour of the US. Most of the shows are house concerts, but some of them are club dates. It's just me and my old friend and guitar player, Kenny Lyon. It's been really fun so far. We began in South Carolina and have worked our way up the East Coast. I am in New York at the moment.
Recording-wise, I ma working on a new album. I think I'm going to call it "Jet Lag Poetry." I have most of the songs at partially written and in various stages of recorded as well. When I get home to Barcelona in July, I will finish it up.
Touring-wise, I'm working on full band shows for August in Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine and Turkey.
OMC: What do you think of the Milwaukee music scene?
DB: The folks I have met and played with in Milwaukee are really cool. My first Milwaukee contact was Holly Emmer from WMSE. She and Tom (Crawford) brought me out there the first time. They promoted my first show at the Cactus Club and had me play on the radio. They are both lovely people. They arranged Todd Richards and Joe Wong to play with me. Since then, I have worked a lot with Todd. He is very talented. Joe was great as well but he has been on the road usually when I get out there. Erik Radloff has been the drummer I've played with the last few years and he's great.
OMC: Are you working on any side projects?
DB: I did an album with a Turkish producer/musician named Deniz Cuylan. It is called "Brazzaville in Istanbul." It came out on Doublemoon last year and has done pretty well in Turkey and Europe.
I also released a solo David Arthur Brown CD last year called "Teenage Summer Days" that has a funny photo of me when I was 18 years old on the cover.
OMC: Do you like life on the road?
DB: I do enjoy the road although I miss my family a lot. I have loved traveling since I was a child. And I get to play music for a living. That is an unbelievable gift. So I feel like the luckiest guy on Earth.
OMC: How old are you? What musicians inspired you the most over the years?
DB: I'm 42 years old. I'll be 43 later this month. I've been inspired by many musicians for different reasons. When I was in high school I listened to The Smiths, Magazine, The Clash, The Cure, X, etc. When I was in junior high it was mostly black music because that's who I went to school with and most of my girlfriends were black. Later, I became a big fan of Brazilian music, especially Jorge Ben. Most of what I play on the guitar came directly from him. And I was really inspired by Willie Nelson. I got the chance to meet him in LA many years ago and he was the kindest, humblest, coolest person I'd ever met. He seemed happy.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.