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Under the Lights

California Dreamin'

From out of the Pacific Northwest, a young guitarist had dreams of California, going there—looking for like minded musicians and making a record.  Now what’s wrong with that? Nothing!  Only it usually doesn’t happen that way…however for one Jeremy Brunner it did!  The founder of “X-Drive”, not only did Jeremy meet with success, he snatched a world-wide record deal to boot!  Here is the first part of his story…

Question: Let us begin with a question for Jeremy, being the founder of X-Drive, take us through your journey to this point, a worldwide deal with one of the finest labels in the land…

Answer: I originally started on piano, after hearing “Jump” for the first time. This really influenced me, and led me to start practicing on a borrowed guitar from a guy at a local radio station.  Fast forward a bit, and those beginnings were reflected in the X-Drive project. There were about 40 songs that I had written in various stages of development, but there were an early batch of 10 or so that I was determined to share. I'm honored to be working with Frontiers and surrounded by their alumni.

Q: Now, we have seasoned musicians surround you on this project.  How did you meet up with

James and Keith?

A: I think it was initially a phone call with Keith and then from there we started emailing each other, and sending tracks back and forth. I was referred to Keith by a journalist I had worked with in the past. I had auditioned quite a few other singers by that time, but none of them seemed to fit. After Keith sent me one song, I knew immediately he was the right voice for my music. I met James when he and Keith were playing in Lynch Mob and we needed a bass player for the studio. I was definitely a fan of some of his past work, especially White Lion.

Q: Bringing in Fred Fischer on drums, seems to be the icing on the cake, with “Get Your Rock On” being such a high energy record…

A: I've known Fred for a long time. He was in more than one local band, and I knew from the first time I saw him play that he was the drummer I wanted to use. He does bring energy, and I really admire his drumming skills and stage presence.

Q: I know that you have spent a lot of time in preparing and recording your debut…please take us through the steps.

A: I was working with some musicians who had been flying to Oregon from Los Angeles... and after a while, it seemed a better idea for me to be in L.A. At times, it was trying because there were different ideas that were attempted with different musicians, engineers, producers and studios, but it did take a while to find people that were able to understand the vision that I had for the record. Sometimes that took sticking to my guns, and ultimately, it came pretty close to what I was shooting for.

Q: Jeremy, you were able to work with another legend on this record, Andy Johns!  Tragically this was one of Andy’s last works, as we know he passed last year. Working with Andy must have been a lifetime experience…

A: It was. I spent a lot of time with him, and not just in the studio. In the time he was working on the project, he and I would talk for hours about his past work, and the legendary musicians that he worked with.  Stories of working with rock icons abounded. It really was an honor working with him. As a total unknown, I was so impressed at how gracious he was to me and how much deference and respect he gave.  He was a very genuine guy. I'll miss not being able to work with him again.  He really cared about the music.

Q: Realizing that “X-Drive” is a brand new band, are you planning to hit the road? If so, when and where?

A: All I can do right now is see where this goes. If X-Drive develops a wide enough fan base, who knows? I don't know what the future holds for touring,  as some of the musicians are already doing that with other bands right now.

Q: “Get Your Rock On” is an outstanding debut! I would imagine that with your worldwide deal with Frontiers, you have surpassed expectations with this first effort…

A: Thanks. I've been impressed with their achievements, and it was great dealing with them. They were very encouraging when Keith and I met with the label. It was not lost on me that I was new to the industry, and this was a big deal. They believed in my music, and I will always be thankful to everyone at Frontiers, especially Serafino and Mario for the opportunity

 

X-DRIVE - Get Your Rock On (Frontiers Records)                                   

His voice is unmistakable Keith St. John: ex-Montrose, fronts this brand new Los Angeles based quartet. His guitar stylings are precise, tasteful and rhythmic founding member of “X-Drive”, Jeremy Brunner, hailing from the Pacific Northwest… Jeremy put this group together with the afore mentioned St. John, and James Lomenzo on Bass and Drummer Fred Fischer. As testament to his far-reaching Talents, Jeremy was successful in signing a world-wide deal with Frontiers and “Get Your Rock On” is their debut. Twelve slices of no nonsense guitar driven rock, each number living all so well on the world’s stages! A tight, rhythmic group “X-Drive” takes us from one musical high to another. The record sounds “live” off the floor, I would imagine that there are many songs that are the result of only one or two takes! And all are Radio friendly and not in a forced way just natural driven rockers! As mentioned, Keith St. John’s voice is unmistakable and so strong. A great counterpoint to the

guitar explorations of Mr. Brunner! Couple this with the tight rhythmic playing of Fred and James, and we hear a fluid, pulsating and driven undertow that pushes each and every number! Overall, “Get Your Rock On” is a grand debut, and one that should musically fill the Summer air the world over! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Rann Berry:  August 15th/16th     Zamboni Brothers:  Aug. 21st & 22nd 23rd    

Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Steve Jones & the Patio Bandits:   Aug 22nd (5:30pm)    Paul Gibbons:   Aug 29th  

Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  Wheelhouse:  August 15th & 16th  

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)  Radio Lifeline:  Aug. 22nd/Aug. 23rd   Rockaholicks:   Aug 29th/30th    

Notable Concerts:    

 

Prospera  Place:    Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th 

 

                 …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Read more Under the Lights articles

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.






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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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