Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Folks Behind the Music - Don de Leaumont - The Great Southern Brainfart

The Great Southern Brainfart.  A relatively newer entree to the heavy rock scene and quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with .

Start at the beginning, how did you get started with this crazy idea of broadcasting music and starting your own radio station?

I actually didn’t start my own station but I started doing my radio show The Great Southern Brainfart Radio Hour on Firebrand Rock Radio about a year or so ago.  I did it as a way to bring my website to a broader audience and to also do one of my favorite all time things: share my favorite bands with any and everyone that will listen.  I’m one of those annoying people that is always saying, “Dude, have you heard ?  Oh man, you NEED to hear them!”  This just makes that possible for me and I love that. 

We're all the product of our musical past. What's your musical history? First album you ever bought? First musical epiphany moment? First album that terrified the hell out of you?

I grew up like any kid in the 80’s listening to whatever was on the radio.  I didn’t have an older brother to help steer the way for me so I was pretty much on my own.  I wasn’t a “cool” kid by any means so I was just trying to fit in.  The first album I ever bought with my own money was Michael Jackson’s Thriller on cassette.  I just remember listening to it and thinking, “Is this what I need to like to be cool?” 

My first musical epiphany came when I was 10.  I met a kid at school who invited me over to his house and I heard his brother playing an electric guitar.  He invited me to his room and asked me if I liked Iron Maiden or Dio?  I had no idea who those bands were so he sent me home with a stack of albums by Maiden, Dio, Motley Crue, and Krokus to name a few.  I was so blown away that this music even existed and right away I felt like I had found what I was looking for!

The first album that terrified me was without a doubt Black Sabbath’s debut album.  A friend of mine found the album in his stepdad’s record collection sometime around 1985 and brought it over.  We put on that first song and just stared at the album cover and I remember for the first time ever actually feeling spooked by a band.  The song “Black Sabbath” and that artwork together just gave me a slight sense of fear and I actually loved that feeling.  I’ll never forget that.

What's the last album to grab you by the throat and insist you listen?

Wow, this is a toughie.  I'd probably have to say either Scorpion Child's debut or Blue Pill's latest EP "Devil Man."  Both albums just completly captivated me and drew me in.  On both of these albums I just couldn't stop listening.  Before each song was over, I was already missing it yet anticipating was was to come and by the time the album was over, I had to listen to it again.  Both of these albums had that impact on me.

What do you see happening in the music scene today, good and bad?

The good that I see is that I see bands like Graveyard, Kyng, Volume IV, Kadavra, Blues Pills, and Scorpion Child just to name a few are going back to doing things the old school way of relentless touring, no frills recordings that capture a more classic, timeless, and raw element.   These bands are also priding themselves on being great live performers and truly working hard to build and entertain a fan base.  

The bad I see are bands that spend so much money and time creating albums that are so saturated with effects and auto tune that when you see them live they can barely even capture a morsel of their own recordings.   I also have to say that the scenes of all genres are just completely oversaturated making it hard for any band to truly stand out.  I like to say that the best thing about technology is that anyone can make an album and the worst thing about technology is that anyone can make an album. 

With so many music sites, how would you describe what you do? What's your unique take on the music and broadcasting?

With The Great Southern Brainfart, my only goal is to talk about the bands I love, the bands I don’t love and just speak my mind.  I am a passionate fan of hard rock and metal music and the site is just me being me and sharing my opiniated views on heavy music.  It’s original content so it’s only updated 3 days a week.  Some agree, some don’t but everyone seems to appreciate my honesty regardless.  I feel like so many sites play it safe and candy coat things so I just made the kind of metal site that I would like to go to.  I was inspired to do this by and I just thought they if they could it, I could do it too.  As far as broadcasting the radio show, I just kinda do my show like my blog.  I play stuff that I love and stuff that I want other people to love as well.

Illegal free downloads on your site. Yes or no, and why?

I have posted bootlegged live recordings and will continue to do so because they are fun and all of us metal dorks just love stuff like that.  As for Illegal downloads of albums by bands and what not, absolutely not.  It is not my place to offer up the music of bands for free when these acts of all levels are working hard to make a living off of their art.  I don’t mind the live bootleg from time to time but as for sharing studio albums, that’s a big no-no and NO site should do that.

What's been your all time greatest "Find"? That band you "discovered" before anyone else and started the word spreading?

That’s a tough question because I think that everybody can think they might be the first one to “discover” a band.  I do feel that I picked up on bands like Kyng, Graveyard, Kadavar, and even local bands like Volume IV and Six Shot Revival much earlier in their career that most.  I wouldn’t say I was the first or the only one but I’d like to think I was there for these bands and spreading the word on them before most of those that are doing so for them now. 

If you could write a 1,000 word essay on one song, which one would it be, and why? What makes that song so important?

Oh my.  I think you just have may have found a question that leaves me speachless while pondering, haha.  Do I really have to choose just one song?  Damn.  Ok, I'll tell ya what.  Let's compromise here.  If it had to be a song, I would probably write an essay on "LA Woman" by the Doors and if it was an essay on an album, it would without a doubt have to be Captain Beyond's self titled debut. 

Give us three bands that we need to keep our eyes out for.

Scorpion Child, Blues Pills, Holy Grail

Tell us about your personal music collection. Vinyl? CD? What's your prized possession?

Because of moving so much over the years, I gave up on collecting CDs and moved straight to digital.  I have a huge collection of music on my hard drive (safely backed up of course) and I also have a nice little vinyl collection.  My prized possession is either my Captain Beyond debut album w/ the 3-D cover or my Kevn Kinney/Frank French “Everything Looks Better In The Dark” split 12” with artwork by Dan Clowes. 

What makes it all worthwhile for you?

It makes it all worthwile when a reader tells me, “I would’ve never heard of this band if it wasn’t for your site.”  That right there is why I do this.  From another side, it makes it all worthwhile when a musician tells me after an interview, “That was a really fun interview.  I enjoyed that.”  I try hard to engage these guys not hit them with the same old questions for the millionth time.

How would your life be different if you weren't involved in music?

I can’t even begin to imagine my life without music of any kind so I don’t even want to think about it.  Next question, haha.  Actually, I think my life would be very confused and lost.  Music is what has kept it all together and keeps me from falling apart a the seems.  Well, music and my wife, haha. 

Ever been threatened by a band or a ravenous fan?

I get a lot of hate messages from Five Finger Death Punch fans because I talk shit about that band and their brand of meathead daterape metal.  I can’t say I’d ever like to be cornered by anyone in that band because I’m sure that they’d win no matter what but what the hell right?

In the end, what would you like to have accomplished, or be remembered for?

I’d like to just be thought of as a guy who prided himself on sharing some of the best hard rock/metal bands out there with anyone and everyone who would read his damn site.  I’d also like to be remembered as an honest, outspoken, but passionate fan of hard rock/metal music who just had a lot to say and refused to play it safe.

Many people may not realize the hours you devote to what you do for little or no pay. Is there a day job? If so, how do you find the balance?

I’m actually a very lucky man in the sense that I don’t have to work a full time job.  I do have a part time job but the fact that my awesomely supportive wife has a great job (and we have no kids) allows me the opportunity to pursue my passions.  I probably put about 15 hours a week into the site developing content, prepping for interviews, transcribing interviews, etc.  I make ZERO money doing this but the benefits of free shows, hanging and getting to know bands, and seeing life from the inside and behind the scenes is cooler than any amount of money you could ever offer me.

What's next? Any new projects?

I’m always trying to find new ways to bring The Great Southern Brainfart out to new people.  The radio show has been a work in progress but I’ve really been enjoying that.  Aside from that, no real outside projects.  All my energy goes into The Great Southern Brainfart.

Finally, other than the music, what's your other burning passion?

I love just hanging out with my wife, two cats, and dog and just having a quiet night, maybe having a pizza and catching up on DVR shows.  I go to a lot of shows so I’ve learned to really enjoy and value a quiet night here and there.  Besides that, I love collecting music memorabilia like guitar picks, framed carnival mirrors, and just dorking out with my buddies. 

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