Many music stars were inspired to start in the industry by their music idols. In the case of Australian country singer Adam Brand, they were idols very dear to him.
Speaking to Starts at 60, Brand reveals not only how he got started but how he went from playing drums to being the frontman.
“My dad and my uncles had a band,” Adam Brand said. “Dad was a singer, an uncle was the bass player, an uncle was a drummer, another uncle was the dodgy manager. My Uncle Stan was the coolest guy on the planet I thought at the time, and he had drums. I always used to watch him play ‘Running Bear’ on the big tom-toms, so I always wanted to play that.”
While Brand started off on the drums from the age of four, he loved to sing as well, so he joined the band on stage too. “Dad got me up on stage, I sang ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window’,” he remembers.
The band was called Rising Rock, and they played a variety of covers by the likes of Elvis and Neil Diamond in local pubs in their hometown Perth. One of the venues was The Charles Hotel, where Brand now performs himself on occasion. Dad comes to watch, of course.
“It’s quite funny, he’s backstage in this pub that hasn’t changed, in a place that he used to play, that I now play,” Brand says.
As a teenager Brand formed his own ‘garage band’ with a mate, both playing drums and singing. Then when offered a gig for a mates party the bank tried, without success, to find a bass player. They did however, find someone who could play drums, so Brand suggested he would give up the drums and give the bass ago instead.
“I soon worked out after that one gig that I was hopeless at it, and I should just sing,” he admits. “We kept the drummer, found a bass player and I just sang.”
While he’s known for his country style, that wasn’t always the case for Brand.
“Growing up it was the music you heard your mum and dad, aunties and uncles playing. That was Elvis, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson, and all that kind of stuff. Growing up as a teenager, it was parties; Eagles, Springsteen, Mellencamp, Chisel, Fleetwood Mac. Music for me was just evolving and I discovered country music a bit later in life.”
He says the country music style suited his voice but there was more to it.
“What I want is telling stories. My stories are people based, struggles and triumphs. I refer to myself as a music lover and I can appreciate and enjoy all kinds of music but the stuff that I gravitate naturally to is definitely country.”
There is much more to Brand besides music. For starters, he loves cooking. “I love eating of course, but I love cooking. I love street food. I go travelling a lot on street food discoveries.”
He lists basic fresh food, such as a fresh fish with garden-grown herbs as an ideal. “It’s always simple but fresh home style,” he explains.
He also loves renovating little houses.
“I buy tiny little old run-down unloved shacks, put some love in it, spruce it up. I get in first with a sledge hammer and start knocking walls down,” he says.
“I’m good at the knocking down part. Its watching the transformation and enjoying it afterwards. Its part of the creative process; whether it’s music or cooking up a dish or renovating a little place, its all being creative. It’s taking something and moulding it into something that you sit back and go ‘wow’.”
He loves to add LED lights as a special feature. “At night time the place glows.”
Brand loves motorsport too. Again, from a young age he was behind the wheel, racing speedway events and the V8 ute series.
“It’s always something that’s been in my blood. I’ve spent a lot of time at racetracks over the years. Now I’m starting to get interested in ‘rat rods’, old Bedford, Chevy Trucks and things like that. You don’t do them up all showroom. You just do them up a bit and they still look a bit ratty, kind of like Mad Max machines. Watch this space, I might be building one soon. Again, it is taking something and seeing the beauty in it, even in a run down state.”
One thing you won’t see him doing again is donning the lycra for a second stint on Dancing With The Stars. While he won the 2009 series, he won’t be back.
“All I can say is I’m retired,” he says. “It was uncomfortable and it was fun at the same time. Stressful and enjoyable. When you are learning anything new and cram it into that short space of time there’s going to be challenges.”
He hasn’t ruled out reality television though, adding he wouldn’t mind taking part in a renovation show instead.
In the meantime he’s planning for a bit of a celebration next year, with the 20th anniversary of his first album. “There will be anniversary parties, a tour, and maybe an album.”
“It’s inspiring to watch what your peers and new people coming up are doing,” he says. “People like Graeme Connors, who I’ve admired for years, to sit back and watch those people. It’s great to get together with like minded people.”
It’s also a great way for him to indulge in his favourite passion.
“Just performing is what I love. There is no doubting whatsoever that standing on that stage at Gympie Music Muster, with thousands of people in front of you, it’s night time, you can see all these lights, you look up and the stars are bristling, the atmosphere, it doesn’t get much better than that.”