Interview With Brandon Sullivan Of Burning Alive
In late August of 2005, six young Southeast Iowa musicians joined together to form BURNING ALIVE. The band cites influences from Children Of Bodom to Slayer to Pantera and Lamb of God. They are putting a new album together and are planning to embark on a multi-state tour this coming summer, reaching as far as Los Angeles, California. They are certainly still in that very raw development stage but I think you'll agree when hearing their music that these guys have serious potential to achieve some great things. And part of what I am here to do is not to only feature those acts that have already made it to that certain higher level in the business but it's also to help foster along the much younger groups that deserve it because they seem to have great work ethic for what they are doing and that limitless passion for expressing themselves in the heavy music format. I got this new Q&A in with their friendly lead vocalist, Brandon Sullivan aka Sully.
Rocket: Are you orginally from Iowa?
Brandon: I like to say that I "Dwell" in Iowa. But I wouldnt go as far to say that I am from Iowa. I am actually a west coast kid stuck in a corn field. I was born in Mt. View California but spent much of my childhood in the hawkeye state. I cant say that living in Iowa and growing up there is all that awful because meeting the rest of my band is possibly the greatest thing that has happend to me. Something about being in a heavy metal band from the midwest that is pretty succesful gives me a weird feeling because heavy metal is not very appreciated here. So I have no choice but to show my Iowa Pride.
Rocket: When did you first start singing in bands?
Brandon: Even though I dont like admitting it. My very first band was a punk rock band that I started with one of my guitarists when I was 13. I quickly found myself changing my style and joining a screemo band my sophmore year in highschool. Which is when I actually started experimenting with my voice and learned how to project with my diaphram and change the tone and pitch of my screams. Before that I always pretended like I was in a heavy metal band. I would lock myself in my room with my favorite CD's and sing to myself and every once in a while I would throw shoutouts to my favorite stuffed animals in my teddy bear audiance. And prance around my bed like i was the Freddy Mercury of Heavy Metal.
Rocket: Who are some of your biggest vocal influences? Past or present.
Brandon: Randy Blythe from Lamb of God would be my biggest vocal influence by far when it comes to scream in your face heavy metal. But when it comes to a well rounded heavy metal bands Phil Labonte has both the singing voice of and angel and the screaming voice of satans minions. Now dont get me wrong. I am about to go old school now. the metal genre we know today would not be the same without the originators like David Wayne from Metal Church, Phil Anselmo from pantera, or of course my all time favorite hair metal vocalist Sebastian Bach from Skid Row.
Rocket: And you know right now somewhere back in his hotel room while on tour with Axl Rose, Mr. Bach is running around screaming joyously in his lopeard print bathrobe after having read this kudos! Haha. No, if there's one thing you have to give to that guy is that he can sing his ass off. Now briefly, how did Burning Alive initially form as a band?
Brandon: Well, growing up all of us lived in the same neihborhood. We were by far never friends until the band actually got under way. I had always wanted to be in a band. And when I found out my guitarist was having band tryouts I jumped on it. After making it into Burning Alive our original line-up was Nick, Craig, Martin, Justin, and I. After experimenting and and getting to know everyone before we knew it our line-up quickly changed drastically grew to 6 members. The Burning Alive everyone knows today is Nick and Craig playing guitar, J.R. playing Bass, Martin playing drums, Levi on the Keys, and me behind the mic stand.
Rocket: Overall who would you say are the top three metal bands that hold the strongest influence on Burning Alive's sound?
Brandon: Influences are very important when it comes to picking your sound. And we have been told that we sound like a lot of different bands all bunched up into one. And you can clearly tell by our by our sound that we are influenced by bands from many different eras. We get our old school heavy metal sound from Anthrax, our unique keyboard and progressive metal vibe from Children of Bodom, and our Pure American Death Metal accent from Lamb of God.
Rocket: It was a great year for metal in 2006. What album was your personal favorite?
Brandon: 2006 was honestly by far the best year in metal that my young eyes have seen. This is an extremely hard quistion with so many great albums coming out such as "Sacrament" by Lamb of God, "As Daylight Dies" by Killswitch Engaged, or Irons Maiden's newest "A Matter of Life and Death". But I would say that the best Album to hit the stores in 06' would have to be Slayers "Christ Illusions". Just because the impact it put on the metal scene. Slayer has been around for such a long time and they are still out there doing their thing and putting out albums.
Rocket: Well, you weren't alive back in the heyday of 1982 when I was rolling to Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast Tour or Motley Crue's legendary Shout At The Devil concert, about the time that Slayer first started. And you know what, I still haven't seen any two shows that were that epic and bold in what they did with both those stage shows. Though Motley's show was pretty much just a lot of fishnet stocking and black electrical tape used as costumes. Haha. Now I like to have fun with this next one, brother. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing?
Rocket: You must have a good one if you're laughing already, brother man.
Brandon: Well, nothing embarrising or funny has happend to us yet that I have noticed. But we have had our little moments such as stealing shoes from drunk people in bars, getting in fist fights over little things like the last slice of pizza, fighting over drawing contests, shaking hands with homeless people in downtown detroit, stealing 40's from the 7/11, random hotel partys, popping popcorn over burning bibles, lighting crosses on stage, and best of all screaming "FUCK YOUR GOD" at a christian metal show!
Rocket: Nothing like the ole 'burning popcorn over burning bibles' bit! Now if a fan of your music wanted to get out and help support this band as a street teamer, how would you tell them to go about doing that?
Brandon: We are currently working on putting together the new and improved Burning-Alive.com website. Which will have an option to join the Burning Alive Street Team. Other then that. Myspace is the answer. Be our friends, send us messages, keep up on the Burning Alive News wear our gear and just listen to the music. Thats why we are hear.
Rocket: How has the Myspace experience been so far for you guys. You know, in terms of the response you've been getting from people that check out your tunes here online.
Brandon: Lets be honest. Myspace has changed the music scene entirely. It makes communicating so much easier. The response from the fans seems to be alot better and easier to control than it is with Purevolume or Garage Band. We used to use Purevolume but it seemed like we never got anything accomplished. Every day we get messages from fans and we love it. I try to write back to every person that sends me a message because communication with the fans is the number one thing I stress as a musician.
Rocket: Communication and relationships in music is what makes it all spin round. For certain. Who are some of the other local metal acts that you've been impressed with?
Brandon: Locally there isnt much in Burlington. There seems to be nothing but punk rock and hardcore bands. But I would have to say that the further north you go the better the bands. Talent wise 5th Dawn from the Quad Cities do a great job. And our budies Lori Ann from across the Mississippi River put on a great show. Dont get me wrong. There is ton of talent in Iowa but there ego's take control of there music and take them for a ride.
Rocket: What are some of the upcoming shows for this band?
Brandon: Right now we are booking our first National Tour from Iowa to California. Which will run from June 4th of 07' to the 22nd. Other then that we are getting ready to head into the studio again to record our first full length album "When the Rapture Fails" which is a follow up to our E.P. titled "Where To Lay Your Ashes". Durring this time we are going to keep busy playing some local shows in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Minnisota.
Rocket: It sounds like Burning Alive is here to stay. I wish this band nothing but the best. Thanks very much for your time. Go ahead and give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.
Brandon: This goes out to all our friends, family and all those crazy ass Midwest Metal Heads that support us at all our shows. The Metal Scene wouldnt be the same without the fans. And I just wanna say thanks to the guy in Davenport for this awsome pair of shoes!
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