With a nod, Brian Lovely explains the difference between leading the band and being a member of it. Believe him. He knows.
On the night we speak, the mad Pop Funk trio Brian Lovely's Flying Underground is headlining a show at Newport's York St. Café. Vocalist/guitarist Lovely will lead enthusiastically, as bassist Dave Ramos and drummer Chris Arduser will follow masterfully. The threesome will perform songs from Lovely's forthcoming CD, as well as older material.
Read familiar? This is the same guitarist who led Brian Lovely and the Secret, another insanely good Pop Funk trio. Lovely, bassist C.C. Thomas and drummer Troy Wilburn sipped from the Stanley Cup of our local music scene in 1994, winning the 97Xposure local band competition that year.
Lovely also understands team-playing. As producer/multi-instrumentalist in his studio, The Beat Parlor, his schedule is dense. Current and upcoming projects include (and are not limited to) CDs from singer/songwriter/public radio show host, Ben Clarke; power Pop foursome, Crosley; and electric Folk duo, Messerly and Ewing.
How about team-playing away as well as at home? If you're blessed, you've seen Lovely as a second guitarist in singer/songwriter Greg Mahan's electric band. Mahan, a formidable guitar-smith himself, calls upon his bassist brother Brian, drummer Chris Estes and Lovely for live aid. Don't be caught unaware to read that Lovely helped produce, arrange, record, mix and master last year's Greg Mahan. And in 1992, Lovely toured regionally with another local guitarist. Boone County High School's most celebrated alumnus-guitarist, that is.
Lovely was a member of Adrian Belew's band -- including second guitarist Rob Fetters and drummer Mike Hodges -- that worked Belew's final release for Atlantic Records, Inner Revolution.
"The one that got him dropped. Whooo!" adds Lovely, pumping his fist in mock exultation. Lovely played bass, using some '70s-model Fender and a homemade fretless.
Here's what the happy leader -- and follower -- had to say about his own thing(s).
CityBeat: Want to tell me about last year's LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon?
Brian Lovely (laughs): It was my first marathon. It was tremendously well-organized. It was a huge turn-out. (Lovely was one of 24,954 to earn a finisher's medal at this 26.2 mile race.) I've never experienced anything like it. I mean, if there's such a thing as a feel-good event, it's a marathon. In Chicago, they've been doing it for a long time. So everybody's just out cheering for each other, and people are in the streets cheering you on. It's great. There's nothing like it. Actually, my fiancée just did her first marathon here (Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon]), and experienced the (with grandiosity) power, and fatigue, that is the marathon.
CB: What can you tell about your next CD?
BL: It's a long time coming. We can talk about who's on it. I play a bunch of instruments on it. Chris Arduser plays drums on some. Chris Estes plays drums on some other stuff. Let's see ... when I toured with Adrian Belew, when we played Memphis, the night I saw what's-her-name from Moonlighting ... Cybill Shepherd.
CB: Coming out to check-out Adrian Belew?
BL (with mock impatience): No, coming to check-out me. But anyway, that's another story. The opening band for us was this band called Human Radio, who were on Warner Brothers at the time. Really great band. Ross Rice was the vision of that group, and he's a keyboard player and singer/songwriter. As it turns out, Ross and I were a couple of skinny, funky Pop guys who immediately got along. I ended up going down and playing gigs with him for his band. He was on Steve Earle's E-Squared label about four or five years ago. He put out one record. Ron actually grew up about a half-an-hour away from me in New Hampshire. Just coincidentally, we both got transplanted to the Midwest and South. So I flew down to Memphis with an ADAT and some reference tapes and had him play a bunch of keyboards. He did a great job. So Ross is on it. At this point, there's three more songs I haven't finished, and who knows who I may throw on there?
CB: Will this be credited to Brian Lovely's Flying Underground?
BL: No, it'll probably just be Brian Lovely. One of those things where Flying Underground becomes Flying Underground when it's ... Flying Underground. I've learned the hard way. If we're playing my tunes, just keep it me.
CB: Working title?
BL: Umm... What was I thinking?... Uh... I think we'll tentatively call it Friendly Adams Only Want To Be Your Pals. (pauses, laughs)
CB (pauses): I was trying to think if this was an acronym or not. My brain was working too slowly.
BL (with great compassion): It's O.K. ©
BRIAN LOVELY'S FLYING UNDERGROUND plays June 9 at The Mad Frog.