Brian is an artist, woodworker, and musician who creates distinctive musical instruments. He plays a self-made ukulele banjo with The Lost Vikings and with The Dirty Laundry Duo. He also plays music with Paul Anderson and John Sievers. You can see his work at www.bentnoteinstruments.com.
Brian will be playing solo acoustic shows at the Redwood Room on Friday, November 11 and Wednesday, November 23.
What sparked your interest in music?
I played guitar for about 15 years as more of a meditation than anything. I didn’t really know any songs, just chords. I was playing it more for the vibration through the body, as a way to center myself. It provided me with a really good sense of rhythm.
What is it like to play an instrument that you have created yourself?
When I am playing something that I imagined in my mind, that is physically in my hands, and that I am able to make music with – that is a connection with my inner self.
Most memorable Rochester
Downtown on the Peace Plaza for Thursdays on First with John Sievers. I found it memorable because it was the one of first times I felt that people were really receiving the music I was playing. They were very engaged.
If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?
Jim Morrison. His stage presence, his confidence – he just demanded attention. He was light years ahead of everyone else.
Strangest thing you’ve ever seen an audience member do?
People have played videos on their phones louder than the music I am playing. People are so desensitized to cell phones that they act rude with them. I think that cell phones are unnecessary distractions, a pacifier for unhappiness.
Favorite local band or artist?
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. They are an extremely polished band and have immense energy when they are on the stage.
Top three artists at the moment?
Charlie Parr. He’s good, and he doesn’t care what other people think. He’s playing music for all the right reasons – to incite emotion and get people moving. Paul Anderson. His music happens naturally as if he was born to play. He makes me a better musician when I play with him because I am in the moment. Fernando Ufret. He is practiced and an extraordinary guitar player. Plus, he is one of the most humble musicians that I know. He’s upbeat, and I think it is because he is doing what he loves.
If you had to outlaw one song from ever being played again, which would it be and why?
Modern radio pop music. It promotes non-active listening because it is the kind of music that washes right through people. It cannot be absorbed.
What is your musical philosophy?
Music is feeling. I build a lot of acoustic instruments because the vibration transmits the music to the body. Every time I feel horrible, I pick up my guitar, and the way it resonates through my body makes me feel better.
What motivates you to
I’ve always felt disconnected from the status quo. Playing music allows me to engage with people who are on more of a traditional trajectory in life.