Sept. 13--Bret Bradford doesn't have to be a megastar. Nor does he want to return to any more, as he said, "starter bands."
But the former Vallejoan living in the quiet community of Mountain House near Tracy knows there's no time like the present to kick a rock 'n roll career into overdrive. And with "Bradford," he believes he's
"From our opening song, the feeling is this isn't another local band just trying to make it," Bradford said. "If you're not dancing, there's something wrong with you."
Yes, he said, it took a bit of experience -- maturing, if you will -- for Bradford to realize he has the musicians in place to do what he wants
"The first couple of bands, I was really learning how to write and learning how you want to present the music," he said. "I've gotten better at that over the years to the point I'm able to put musicians together and say, 'This is our direction of where we're going and how we're going to achieve this.'"
Between struggling bands and the millionaires, "there are plenty of bands on tour with musicians making 150 grand a year, which is fine with me," said Bradford, heading home after his day job as quality assurance manager for safety eye wear.
Whatever the gig, said Bradford with a slight chuckle, "I'm a control freak by nature. Where there's a will, I usually get my way."
No surprise to the rest of the band, since rhythm guitarist Mark Randall and drummer Chris Wells played with Bradford in his
previous band. Bass player Scott Garbutt was in a band that often opened for Bradford's group, so he was a known entity. Ian Conway, at lead guitar, was added to "Bradford" as was Christie Miller as background vocals.
"That's what sets us apart," Bradford said. "It's something different. You don't hear a female vocalist behind the main vocals. My vocals are guttural and growly so hers accentuates the emotions. So far so good."
Control freak or not, Bradford realizes "Bradford" banks on a team effort for its success that hopefully continues Saturday at Str8 Shooters in Vacaville.
"I don't have anything without these guys who play the music," Bradford said. "Regardless of the band name, everyone's got a voice."
As for those eventual comparisons, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are often in the conversation, which is fine with Bradford.
"I'm flattered," he said. "One of my major influences was Pearl Jam. (Lead) Eddie Vedder sang everything in my key. I practiced singing
Bradford's raspy vocals have also been compared to Joe Cocker.
"People have to be able to identify you in some way, shape or form," Bradford said.
Still, "I think we have a unique sound," he said. "A lot of different styles go into the music. Eventually, we'll stand on our own music we've created."
Unfortunately, some things never change. Like getting
"A pain when you're not established and haven't played a certain club before," said Bradford. "But we put on a damn good show. We're a real working rock band that knows how to work and be disciplined. We're not a bunch of boneheads jumping up on stage looking like idiots."
The story behind the song is important to Bradford, with videos for "ReLoad the Revolution" and "We Carry Our Dead" including commentary.
"We give an insight into what the song means and why they were written the first place,"
It's all part of "putting forward the best product as possible with the resources we have,"
Do the time and pack up and leave? Not for Bradford.
"We interact with fans as much as possible," he said. "I swore to myself even if I was rich and famous and all powerful I'd still walk into some crappy bar and hang out with the people."
Small club or big theater, Bradford said, "you never know" who is in the audience or what he can pick up from a concert.
"I'm still learning. I learn from every show," Bradford said. "This is who we are. I've never been accused of faking it. I speak from the heart and when you do that, people appreciate it more."
If you go ...
Where: Str8 Shooters, 1072 Monte Vista Ave., Vacaville
When: Saturday, 9 p.m.
Info: (707) 453-7878;
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