Brand New Sin - All Guns Blazing
By: David E. Gehlke
Before their split with Century Media and subsequent move to independent status (and back), Blistering long held to the notion Brand New Sin were a sure-fire candidate for FM rock radio dominance. They certainly had all of the tools, like easy-to-handle songs with grit, along with big and commercially-friendly hooks that could still appeal to the metal crowd. A pair of mid-00's releases (Recipe For Disaster and Tequila) should have put the band on the fast-track to new plateaus, but lineup and label issues ultimately derailed BNS, leaving them to pick up the pieces and get moving in the right direction with 2009's independent Distilled.
Fortunately, the band has found its bearings on Goomba Music, releasing the excellent United State in October of this year. Racked with the band's near-flawless songwriting personality and singer/guitarist Kris Weichmanm's easy come, easy go vocal delivery there's a lot to like about songs like "All My Wheels," "Bed of Nails," and "Infamous." It's hard rock that is perfect for the radio, and another hard-fought battle for a band that refuses to quit.
With that in mind, we caught up with drummer Kevin Dean to discuss the variety of trials and tribulations Brand New Sin has endured, along with the new record, and why writing simple, catchy songs isn't as hard as it looks...
Blistering.com: For a band that has been through the music industry wringer, how happy are you to be functioning at this level in 2011?
Kevin Dean: Itís great! Itís refreshing and rewarding.
Blistering.com: When the band was leaving Century Media, was there any consideration to packing it in?
Dean: Good question. Thatís probably the moment that set everything in motion: From our singer and guitarist leaving to the public wondering ďWhat happened to Brand New Sin?Ē We were invisible for a while and general consensus was that we broke up. The core of the band was ready for the next album and tour, but it seemed that certain band members didnít have the same hope any more.
Blistering.com: To that point, what kind of things did you take away from being on such a large label?
Dean: We were right there in the game with a certain level of credibility. We had endorsement offers, and opening slots on good tours like Black Label Society, Motorhead, COC, Mushroomhead and Type O Negative, tour support, notoriety/press, etc. Most of these opportunities may not have happened if we were independent. On the contrary, we gave up our copyright, split publishing, and had to ask permission to license our songs and make certain decisions. Thatís what you sign up for when negotiating a record deal.
Blistering.com: Iíve always felt the band had some seriously wide commercial appeal. Was it a case of missed opportunity?
Dean: Iím the second drummer. I came along five months after the first CD [Brand New Sin] was released in 2002. I knew most of the guys and I was proud of their success but as an outsider then, I thought the style was mostly a middle-aged biker vibe. While this band is perfect for me and my taste, I didnít think the average teeny-bopper and 20-something listener really got it.
Back then we werenít exactly drawing the chicks to our shows, you know? Brand New Sin shows were packed with angry dudes all the time ďno offenseĒ (in my best Rodney Dangerfield voice). They still go to our shows but now our crowd is much younger (and sexier). In reality, there was too much sincerity and heart for the nu metal and candy-coated pop rock in the early 2000s. Also, we were mis-marketed as a metal band. We were doomed from the start.
Blistering.com: Whatís been the primary reason BNS is still around? Most bands would have called it a day after this longÖ
Dean: We canít help it. It drives usÖ.drives us mad, but we donít know any better. Itís in our blood. Kris keeps pumping out badass music and we all write and play together with such a tight bond. Weíll probably die trying to make it in this band or kill each other on the way.
Blistering.com: Were you satisfied with the independent release of Distilled? Did you ever think youíd have to go the independent route?
Dean: We were very satisfied with the music but it didnít do so well on the market. Independence? We couldnít wait to be free. We asked Century Media to drop us. The digital world doesnít line up with the traditional record deal: ďMake CDs and sell them in stores. Push music to radio. Get on MTV where they actually play music videos. Buy ads in magazines.Ē Each one of those is a fairytale. We were spinning our wheels. In retrospect, three poor people trying to push an independent release is most likely suicide.