Thursday, September 15, 2011

Left Lane Cruiser - an interview with Brenn Beck by Greg

If you have never been acquainted with the music of Left Lane Cruiser, I would highly suggest purchasing the album “Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table” which is the 2008 release from the band. Left Lane Cruiser consists of  Freddy J IV on guitar and vocals along side Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck who handles the drums and back up hollerin’ on most of their tracks.  If this is what Fort Wayne, Indiana has to offer the world as far as music goes, then you can sign me right up!
Email seems to be the preferred method of communication in our present society. I still enjoy a good conversation over a beer or two, and I use the telephone quite frequently. When I was told Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck of Left Lane Cruiser was willing to do an email interview with me I immediately went to my laptop, opened my gmail account and hit “compose”. After our first few emails, Brenn said “Yeah brother just send them all over. I will answer them and send ‘em back over to ya with a photo as soon as I can.” As we all know, traveling musicians can be busy as well as overwhelmed. I’m sure that’s no exception when it comes to a harassing writer filling up your email inbox. It took a few weeks before Brenn was able to get to all my questions. With a quick apology about being swamped, here was the outcome of our communication.

Greg: Where did LLC (Left Lane Cruiser) get its start?

Brenn: “I met Joe like 7 years back. I have been friends with Joe’s wife for years, and she introduced us. We got together at my apartment over some whiskeys, and started jammin'. Things just clicked, and we rolled with it from there. We actually wrote Cheyenne that day we met, and we still play it to this day.”

Greg: I love your sound, when I describe Left Lane Cruiser to people I call you "gangster (blue) grass" which obviously isn't a music classification. Where would you put the band as far as genres go?

Brenn:  “That’s a tough question. We get labeled a lot of different things. We usually get Deep Blues, or Punk Blues, but I guess if we had to label it we just call it dirty blues or broke ass blues.”

Greg: The earliest dated album I could find from LLC is "Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table" from 2008. Are there earlier presses of your music, and how long have you been playing together?

Brenn: “We’ve been together for 7 years now,  so there are some earlier releases. We released our first album "RV Burnslide" ourselves and just pressed 100 copies that we sold here in the Fort. We were actually a 3-piece on that album. Our buddy was playin bass with us back when we started. We released a 2nd independent album called "Slingshot" locally too. That one is about to pop up on ITunes and all the other download sites here soon. We then did a 3rd independent release called "Gettin Down On It", and that was the album that got us picked up by Alive Records. Last year our friends over at Hillgrass Bluebilly Records bought the rights to "Gettin Down On It", and re-released it to the world.”  

Greg: I noticed that there aren't a lot of tour dates for LLC right now, are you mainly playing hometown gigs?

Brenn: “Well, Joe and I just both had babies a few months ago, so touring is a little more difficult these days. We love the road, and try to tour as much as possible, but family always comes first. We are just really tryin to find a good balance of being home, and still getting out there as much as possible. We do play a lot of hometown shows and we get out in the region at least once a month. We got an Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota run comin up in July, and then we’re back to Europe in August.”

Greg: What types of venues do you receive the most recognition for your music?

Brenn: “Man, that one is all over the map. We came up playin in punk and metal bars, but lately we’ve been playin a lot of breweries and pubs. We will play anywhere that will have us, and we aint real picky as long as people show up to get drunk and have fun. We have played way too many places where people are too uptight, and the club asks us to turn down....that’s our fuckin pet peeve.”

Greg: Have you ever been asked to play in Des Moines?

Brenn: “We have never had much luck up there. We have had some contact with a few venues there, but have never been able to put anything together. If you got a good spot there, we would love to know about it. We drive through there all the time.”

Greg: Who has LLC shared the stage with?

Brenn: “We have played with a lot of great bands over the years. Our favorite was a 2 month tour with our good friends Scott H. Biram and Bob Log III. Touring with those guys was a lot of fun. We have toured with our brothers The Black Diamond Heavies as well. We have played with Buckwheat Zydeco, Radio Moscow, Legendary Shack Shakers, T-Model Ford, Bob Wayne, The Magnetix, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Wayne the Train, and countless other great musicians.”

Greg: Do you have any one tour memory that sticks out in your mind more than others?

Brenn: “Really just tourin' Europe as a whole. Our first tour over there, we were playing shows to 300-400 people in places we didn’t even know existed. The whole experience of being in a whole different world but still connecting with people through your music is a hell of a ride. We also got deported outta England for passport bullshit on that trip, so that is definitely memorable. Nothin says welcome to our country like a good ol' search and seizure, fingerprinting, federal interview, 6 hours in jail, and 3 plane trips back and forth from the US.” 

Greg: I know the more I listen to your music, certain lyrics reveal themselves a little more each time. Could you shed a little light on the song "Black Lung"?

Brenn: “Black lung dealt a lot with the frustrations of touring Europe. Joe is a non smoker, and they smoke everywhere in Europe. By the time we finished up our 30th show in a row over there, Joe was convinced he had the Black Lung I think.” 

Greg: As a two piece band, how the hell do you make so much noise?

Brenn: “Shit, I could tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya. I don’t know brother, lots of gain, Joe’s crazy pluckin, beat the shit outta the drums, and holler a lot I guess.”

Greg: Do you have a personal favorite album that you have released and why?

Brenn: “Every one of em means a lot to us. We put everything we got into the songs we write, so we stand behind all of them. I guess for me it would be “Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table“. We had just got picked up by Alive Records when we were writing songs for that album. They sent us to a studio in Cleveland where The Black Keys, The James Gang, and hundreds of famous bands recorded, so the whole experience was really cool. We also had been working on those songs for awhile, and it was kind of a "best of" for where we were at that point.”

If you would like to look further into the phenomenon that is Left Lane Cruiser, you can dig deeper at www.Alive Records or you can visit their Myspace, or their Facebook pages.

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