Decades Later, Jim Breuer Lives Out His “Rock n Roll Dreams”
Keanu Reeves and Dogstar. Google it if that’s a non-sequitur to you. Or don’t bother. The bottomline is pop culture stars who thrive in one area often want to live out another dream. It’s why Johnny Depp went on tour with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry (among others). It’s why Don Johnson performed “Heartbeat.” OK, definitely Google that. Anyway, my point is people who are good at one thing often try to do it across another medium. Rarely does it work out. In the case of Jim Breuer, however, he’s more Depp than Don. I say this even though “Heartbeat” has the most epic music video of all-time.
Breuer, a veteran of stand-up comedy for 20 years whose credits include a strong run on Saturday Night Live and a role in the cult comedy Half-Baked, is currently trying to “make it” as a hard rock frontman. So far, so good. Drawing on his comedy chops, the performer – in an ode to Spinal Tap or maybe not but it fits – dropped his debut rock album earlier this year, and suck it does not. Putting out an album and touring in support of it is something a jean-jacketed teen Jim aspired to do back in his adolescence. “I wanted to be the front man and have a band behind me,” he said before noting poor singing lessons changed his course.
With his rock and roll dreams on hold, Breuer, as we know, established himself in comedy. But music remained front and center even though he wasn’t center stage with headbangers surrounding him.
Music was an integral part of his act . “I’d riff on AC/DC or Metallica, do an impression and go on a tangent,” he said.
Afterall, he said, “Rock music has been the hidden driving force behind the decisions I’ve made in my life.”
But it wasn’t until a few years ago that Breuer got the confidence to pursue making music. “Decades! I’ve had songs in my head for decades- easy. I was just scared,” he explained.
That all changed when he related to words of wisdom James Hetfield passed on when discussing a band who trucked through a bad set. “Getting up and keep going,” the Metallica frontman noted trumps fear of failure. Before long, his musical journey began. He joined up with drummer Mike Tichy, who he met after a comedy gig, bassist Joe Vigliotti and “axeman” Metal Mike, and they toured under the moniker Jim Breuer Band. Gigs included Rock On The Range, Metallica’s Orion Music Festival and the Wacken Festival in Germany.
The response was eye-opening with the instant gratification of performing and the amazing response from the crowd inspiring an album. And with that, I “unbury” the lede…
Breuer and his band The Loud & Rowdy have been touring in support of their debut album Songs From the Garage for the latter part of this year. The album (and concerts) channel his love for all things metal and pays homage to the greats he listened to back in the day. As a matter of fact, he even played with some personal icons. Former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano produced the album and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson guests on it.
“Once Brian heard I was making an album, he wanted to help me. I’ll never forget that. He hunted me down to make sure I recorded a song with him? It’s crazy,” said Breuer, who noted the pair met following one of his comedy shows.
The tour started this summer with a build up toward a gig at South Point Casino in Las Vegas.
“It’s a work in progress leading to the big production, sets,” he explains. “I talk about myself, and what the show’s about. I also talk sometimes between songs, and tell how they were written – like ‘Raising Teenage Girls.’ It’s all personal to me. I’m 50, I’ve been married for 24 years, have three daughters. I take care of my mom. it’s all about family and they’re in these songs.”
Breuer admits actually playing music to crowds has been as challenging as its been righteous. “Doing standup is different. The audience is different. It’s not just rock heads. It’s a little harder for me to read the audience. With standup, it’s a lot easier of figuring it out and reading their brain waves.”
Next steps for Breuer are taking the show worldwide with some additional residencies in the states. He also welcomes a chance to open up for himself – literally. “The band could play, and I could do stand-up to open,” he gushed.
But don’t look for him to quit his day job. As much fun as he’s having being a rock star, comedy is always going to be his bread and butter. “This is just building a carnival, and going on every ride but I still have my little house I go to. I’ll stop doing stand-up when I’m done breathing. Comedy is my home.”
A-Sides’ “Delve Into Twelve” Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its top 12 tracks of the week AKA the “Delve Into Twelve” based on the following contributing factors: songs I’m playing out that particular week (no matter when they were released — think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, song posts and trends I’ve noticed on my friends’ Facebook walls and, most importantly: what my preschooler is currently enjoying thoroughly with an assist from my toddler.
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman – thisisasides.com :
Jon Chattman’s music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. (Theme song by Blondfire.) Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Elle King, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, James Bay, Jimmy Eat World, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and Bastille.