by Alex Barbieri
– Senior Columnist —
Blasting Upward: An Interview with Brian Durbin of LOVEBLAST —
Brian Durbin, the 26-year-old singer, songwriter and founding member of LOVEBLAST, is rightfully psyched about the release of their new EP, Hard Liquor in Big Glasses, which was just released on June 15, 2013. Hardrock Haven thought it’s a good time to check back in with Durbin, so let’s take a trip to his hometown of Carol Stream, Illinois and chat about their new CD, favorite memories, future plans, sharing delay pedals with George Lynch, and much more!
Hardrock Haven: Brian, thanks for taking time out to talk with me and the Hardrock Haven hoard around the world. For those not yet familiar with LOVEBLAST, how would you describe your music and philosophy?
Brian Durbin: Alex, thank you very much for having me! That’s a very good question, because the more I grow as a songwriter, and as a fan of music, the more I see that I really respond to music on a philosophical level.
I like many different styles and sounds of music, but what I’ve found is constant in all of the different kinds of music that I enjoy is the mentality. I grew up listening to bands like KISS, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and Mötley Crüe, who generally wrote music that had an upbeat disposition, and showed a strong appreciation for life and getting all you can take out of it.
That’s probably also why I never cared much for grunge, alternative, or nu-metal. Sonically, I was always drawn to the hard rock bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s because, to me those bands took the infectious melodies and harmonies of pop music, and gave them the most violent impact possible. The singers sounded dangerous, and the guitars were cranked and screaming in pain. And possibly most important, those bands had larger than life personas, and were passionate about the music they created. Those are the things that I value in the music I write, and the performances that LOVEBLAST puts on. LOVEBLAST is loud, melodic, upbeat, unapologetically excessive, and passionate rock n’ roll music.
HRH: Dare I ask how the band’s name, LOVEBLAST, came about? (Laughs.)
BD: You know, in all honesty, the name of the band came about in a very innocent way. When I was brainstorming band names I had two columns of single words. One column was one word answers of what our songs were about, and the other column was what we sounded like. I write songs about love, girls, music, life and all of emotions and experiences that come with it.
Musically, we’re explosive, melodic, and everything rock n’ roll should be. I then started matching up words in the two columns until I landed on LOVEBLAST, and I liked how it looked and sounded. It was after I made the pairing that I realized what the name meant and it was perfect haha! I like it because it’s a polarizing band name—you either like it or you don’t, and 9 times of 10 if you’re the kind of person who responds negatively to our name, you wouldn’t have liked our music anyway! In many ways, this actually may have been a better response to your first question than what I said initially! (Laughs.)
HRH: The last few years have been good ones for LOVEBLAST. What are some highlights and favorite memories that come to mind?
BD: For me personally, playing Rocklahoma in 2011 was an amazing experience, because the crowd response was just stupefying. But you know, I think all of 2013 so far has been the biggest highlight for me. In less than half a year of being back out, we’ve gotten to play some of our biggest shows yet, with huge bands such as FALLING IN REVERSE and HINDER, and the band is really killing it onstage. And we’re just getting started!
HRH: Tell us about the new LOVEBLAST CD, Hard Liquor in Big Glasses. How did the title come about?
BD: The title came from one of the weirdest places. I’m a huge fan of the old TV sitcom ‘Frasier,’ and the title was taken from an episode called “Visions Of Daphne.” In the episode, the character Daphne has just gotten engaged, and Frasier and his dad, Martin, are trying to figure how they are going to break the news to Niles, who has loved her from a distance since the beginning of the show.
Martin says to Frasier, “Well, just don’t take him to one of those fancy wine bistros that you guys love. News like this calls for hard liquor and big glasses.” I just thought those words sounded beautifully rock n’ roll, changed “and” to “in” and kept it in my back pocket until I had the right music for it. The song title had such vivid imagery on its own that I decided to make it the EP title.
HRH: That is awesome, Brian! I’m a big ‘Frasier’ fan too, and I can totally picture the episode. Good on you for noticing that! How does the new music compare to the first LOVEBLAST EP?
BD: For starters, the new LOVEBLAST CD is different than our first release because there are only five songs on this one, as opposed to 11 on the first, but I would argue that these songs are twice as good. On our first album, a lot of the songs were written when I was just a guitar player and hadn’t even begun singing, so in many ways the guitar was the driving force on that release.
This effort is a lot more aggressive, but yet even more melodic than the first record. My biggest priority on this album was writing great songs that had the same spirit that made me get into music in the first place. There’s a lot of emotion in the songs, not necessarily in the lyrics, but in the delivery because there’s a sense of urgency underneath it all. We are fighting to make our dreams come true. HRH: The new band photos and album cover was shot by Stephen Jensen of F3 Studios. http://hardrockhaven.net/online/2011/03/stephen-and-sylvia-jensen-of-f3-studios-and-wornstar-clothing/
I loved the shoot I did with him when I was the singer in Tango Down. Who is in the current lineup of LOVEBLAST, and what was it like to work with one of rock’s best photographers? BD: In this lineup of LOVEBLAST, we have Jeff Dewbray (drums), Brian Gilmanov (guitar), and Johnny Rox (bass). I think the reason this lineup works so well is because we finally have four guys who are united under the same goal, and we all love rock n’ roll music! It was a blast working with Stephen and Sylvia, and I’m thrilled to death with the end result. It was incredibly easy to work with him as well. We visited his studio and just kicked around a few different album concepts, talked about what my favorite band logos are, and what we wanted the band to look like. He not only delivered on what we wanted, he exceeded our expectations.
HRH: Where can people buy or download Hard Liquor in Big Glasses?
BD: You can get the physical copy at our webstore for only $5 at www.loveblast.bigcartel.com, and it is also available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon. Of course, our favorite place for you to pick it up would be at one of our shows! HRH: LOVEBLAST opened for Hinder on June 14 at Mojoes in Joliet, IL. How did the show go? BD: The show was incredible. Hinder is one of my favorite newer bands, so it was an honor to get to share a stage with them. The best part was playing for a sold out show, packed with people who have no reason to like you, screaming like they paid the ticket just to see you. I actually have video of the show that I plan to post soon, and you can even hear people singing along by the second chorus! HRH: You’re playing MelodicRockfest 3 in Arlington Heights, IL on September 29. (Please say hello to my Swedish buddy Micke in Coldspell for me!) Any other shows coming up you want to mention? BD: I will totally say hello to Micke for you, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about his band. I cannot wait to play MelodicRockfest3, and would like to thank Andrew McNeice and John Kivel for having us. And a big thank you to Andy Kalenowsky, because our involvement wouldn’t have happened without him. I’m honored to be a part of a lineup filled with such tremendous talent. On August 1st, we are returning to Mojoes in Joliet, IL once again to support Texas Hippie Coalition and Eve To Adam. A big thank you to Chris from Mojoes for all of his support! HRH: Everyone loves a good road story. What are some funny or crazy things that have happened on the road or at LOVEBLAST shows? You don’t have to mention names. (Laughs.) BD: You know, I’m disappointed to say that nothing too crazy actually comes to mind as LOVEBLAST has yet to be a part of a legit tour, and all of the out of town excursions we have been on, we were on tight schedules. For me personally, it was a blast to jam with George Lynch when we opened for Lynch Mob. I was at the venue early as Lynch Mob had asked to use our backline. I was minding my own business restringing a guitar when George asked me to join them on their song “Let The Music Be Your Master.”
In soundcheck George had been having issues with his delay pedal, so I gave him mine to use temporarily. When he got his working again, Robbie Crane (ex-RATT) said to him “That one sounds better dude,” and pointed to my pedal. After their set, George asked me if he could use mine for the rest of the tour, and when he got back to L.A. he would mail me two back. He took down my info, but I honestly didn’t care if I ever saw it again, I was just happy enough knowing one of my heroes was touring with a piece of my gear. Two weeks later, I received a package in the mail from George Lynch and sure enough I had two new delay pedals, and he was nice enough to sign them for me too. It was a great experience, and George and his band were very great to me. I saw them again half a year later, and George was still using my pedal!
HRH: That is awesome! What’s a typical day in the life of Brian Durbin like? What else do you do besides LOVEBLAST?
BD: What else do I do besides LOVEBLAST … hmmmm … not much haha!. I teach guitar lessons at a few different schools, shops, as well as my home. I also sing for an arena rock/hair metal tribute band around Chicago, called On Fire, which has really helped me grow as a vocalist and given me a chance to play with some great musicians and guys.
I’m on “musician time,” so typically I wake up embarrassingly late, check my email, make a few phone calls, take care of the not so exciting part of being in a band, head to the post office to send out any outgoing product, make it home in time to teach guitar lessons, and then head off to rehearsal with LOVEBLAST or another project, and then make it back to my home around midnight where I will veg out for a few hours before I go to bed, again embarrassingly late.
Almost all of my time is spent on LOVEBLAST in some way or another, whether it’s doing the fun part like working on the music, trying to land new opportunities for us, or trying to find ways to make money to keep us rolling. When I’m not doing those things, I like to spend my time with my friends, family, and my lovely girlfriend. HRH: Is there anything else you want to say to your fans, and Hardrock Haven readers around the world? BD: Thank you all so much for your support and for giving us your ears and eyes. For our fans overseas, in order to show our gratitude for your continued support, we have reduced shipping on all orders of our new EP Hard Liquor In Big Glasses from now until September 1st! You can order the new EP at our webstore www.loveblast.bigcartel.com and you can preview it on iTunes or Amazon. HRH: Brian, it’s been a pleasure talking with you. We could probably go on another few hours. Thank you again for your time and all the best to LOVEBLAST! Cheers and please stay in touch! BD: Thank you very much Alex. I had a great time talking to you, and I hope you will love the new EP!
Check out LOVEBLAST online:
Visit the official Loveblast website: http://loveblastrock.com/
Listen to the new LOVEBLAST single, “Wild Forever.” http://loveblastrock.com/?p=213
Friend LOVEBLAST on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loveblastrock