Local Noise: Dan Bruder

“The whole idea of the television series came about when I reflected on the fact that I was a middle-aged, wannabe rocker who couldn’t let go of the dream,” laughs Dan Bruder, explaining the genesis of his popular Internet show, Who The Hell is Dan Bruder. “I realized that there were legions of people out there in the same boat, or had a father, uncle, brother or neighbor who might be getting older, but would never let go of their passion for music. It transcends all music genres, race, religion, economic status and is this universal yearning many of us share. I crafted the idea and convinced Biglin to write what eventually became the first group of episodes. I lobbied hard to get funding from a variety of investors and enlisted several production companies to participate.”

The idea took off, and now Dan has a legion of devoted followers. “The response to the show has been strong,“ he says. “We exclusively debut new episodes to the 15 million viewers of relix.com, jambands.com and through a wide range of other links. We have had the support of companies like Gibson Guitar and Guitar Center and others who believe in the concept. We have had thousands of responses worldwide of viewers and industry folk.”

The show is based on Dan’s real life band, even though the show is somewhat fictional in nature. “The Dan Bruder Band is this ever-morphing configuration that, amongst others, regularly includes Liberty Devitto (Billy Joel), Muddy Shews (Southside Johnny), John Ginty (Robert Randolph, Citizen Cope) and has great contributions on/off stage with guests including Devon Allman (Honeytribe), Lorenza Ponce (Bon Jovi) and David Biglin. The ‘band’ in the TV show blurs the line of reality and fiction of the real life Dan Bruder band, kind of in a Spinal Tapish, jumping out of the screen manner model.”

Musically, Dan is basically a roots rock, classic rock kind of guy. “I always refer to it as lyrically-driven, Americana rock with lots of hooks and muscular musicianship that perpetually breaks conventional rules,“ he relates. “I am a musical mutt. I grew up heavily influenced by blues and southern rock ranging from Hendrix to the Allman Brothers, then got into more of the storytellers like Springsteen. In recent years, I find myself gravitating towards great jam bands like Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s Magee and moe., and yet, I remain the straight ahead songwriter. Go figure.”

In putting together his band, it was more a matter of things falling into place than an actual process of searching for members. “To be candid, the band was really an afterthought once the television series was in production,” he recalls. “We had been shooting for several months when I hooked up with Liberty Devitto, John Ginty and Muddy Shews, and then Devon Allman became a regular contributor to the project. I have been recording music with David Biglin off and on for the last 20 years and he made major contributions to the music and the production. Once we started shooting and jamming, we realized we had something pretty impressive happening musically. While the television show is funny, the surprise for everyone, including us, is how good the music turned out to be. One thing led to another and, to this day, I am not sure if it is more appropriate to refer to it as art imitating life or vice-a-versa.”

While there is a bit of irony and comedy in the show, some of the music which has gotten the strongest reaction includes songs that are more serious in nature. “I have gotten a lot of heartfelt comments about “One With Time” and the title cut, “Act of Kindness,” which, of course, are flattering. But I have been overwhelmed with the connection people have to “Silent Black,” which is an odd feeling because the song is very intimate and about the loneliness of being able to find redemption at night, turn off all the bullshit and have some peace and silence. Having the public share this experience is like having a grandstand on the side of your bed. Also, ‘Bulldogs’ reminds me that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. As Liberty put it, ‘I hope we get to play this song until we hate it!’”

While Dan is the main focus of the music and the show, the songwriting is definitely a group effort. “To me, the songwriting process begins with an incessant riff that meanders its way in my head,” explains Dan. “The litmus test for me is when I come back to it another day. I can never tell in the moment because they all sound good as they are being written. I think I am afflicted with what most writers suffer from, which is what I refer to as the ‘ugly child syndrome,’ meaning it doesn’t matter how ugly your kid is, when they are born they look beautiful. But what do they look like later on in life?”

After the initial idea, the other band members give their input. “It is 100 percent a collaborative effort and everybody gets to put their stamp on it, “ Dan continues. “It isn’t always something we agree on, but I feel very fortunate to be working with musicians who click and have that telepathy. I like to get lots of options, variables and choices in the can and then the laborious selection process ensues.”

So will this middle-aged, wannabe rocker achieve the success that he parodies in the show? “My goals in life on one hand have become nauseatingly cliché and continue to be semi-delusional on the other,” he chuckles. “I want to continue to create things that I am proud of and move other people by pushing emotional buttons musically or comically. I hope to keep earning the privilege of working with the caliber of talent I have been surrounded with and wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to be handsomely rewarded for the effort either!”

For more information on the web casts, and to find out how to order the CD Act of Kindness, check out danbruder.com.