0 17 min 1 yr

On the latest edition of THE INTERVUE, when it comes to the people of the DMV, we always like to hype up our DMV & our next guest is no exception. Hailing from Silver Spring and attended Seneca Valley High, our guest is a founding member, songwriter, and the lead guitarist for the band Hootie & the Blowfish. Since moving to Charleston, he has produced full-length albums including 30 on the Rail, Songs of the Fortnight & last year’s Midlife Priceless.

He will perform in Frederick, Maryland at the Weinberg Center for the Arts on the This Saturday October 22nd bringing his Screaming Trojans band to perform some of his wonderful hits from his original songs. And hopefully we may hit some cootie and overs maybe but we’re not so sure. Let’s welcome the wonderful Maryland’s own Mark Bryan.

Mark, welcome to THE INTERVUE!

Thank you so much for having me. And yes, well, you will be hearing some Hootie songs as well.

So how does it feel to be forming back home in Frederick, Maryland in the next few days?

I’m pumped. I try to play back in the area as much as I can. I’ve done a bunch of shows over the years and I realized over the years, a lot of my friends have moved north out of PG and MOCO up to Frederick. And so, this time I tried to bring the show them a little bit instead of making them drive to Annapolis or Northern Virginia or something. I said, “Hey, man, let’s just play the Weinberg. Bring it right to him.”

Yes, indeed. And especially since you’re bringing your band, the Screaming Trojans

So, Seneca Valley, where I went to high school, were the Screaming Eagles, and then Gaithersburg is the Trojans. So, we mixed the two mascots for the band name.

Excellent, I want you to talk about your days growing up in Maryland. What do you miss about our home state?

I’ll tell you I grew up. I was in Bethesda when we were when I was a kid. And my parents grew up in Bethesda. And so, we had a bunch of family friends from that area. And then we ended up moving out to Montgomery Village, which was just such a perfect place to grow up as a kid with a bypass into all the pools and the lakes and everything and rode my bike everywhere.

I started working there to a bunch of different jobs as a kid learn how to be a good person, I had a bunch of good friends from growing up there that I still have to this day. And you know, a lot of good things to say about having grown up there. And just growing up in the DC area in general, I think it made me a more well-rounded person is from all nationalities in my classes in junior high and everything it just was a just was a when I look back on it, I feel very blessed to have grown up in the area.

Well, I’m so glad to hear it. And then you went to school in University of South Carolina

I tell you that was a culture shock coming from DC to South Carolina. Yeah, it was a it was definitely like the Deep South, which I had never experienced before. And then over the years, you know, that’s what going to college is all about, I suppose. And I learned how to find my place in this culture down here. And eventually I moved down to Charleston down to the coast, which was part of my plan. Anyway, if I’d stayed in Maryland, I was going to Annapolis area somewhere something like that on the water. Charleston has been a wonderful place to live for the last twenty plus years. I am part of the community down here but I still love being involved with DC, Maryland, MoCo whole thing,

I remember growing up I always wanted to visit South Carolina. If I had to visit Charleston one day, what would you recommend that I do what I see?

I always tell people, there’s a lot of history here so there’s plenty to see and do. And there’s a lot of beaches here too, which is great. I always tell people do something on the water get on a boat. If you can, at the very least, go to the beach, but it’s such a cool city to see from the water and you really get to experience the magic of it.

That’s great! Let’s talk about your latest album, which was released in 2021, “Midlife Priceless”. Talk about the genesis of creating that album and the inspiration to writing the original songs that we’re going to hear this weekend.

Thank you. So, a lot of the songs were written leading up to the last Hootie & the Blowfish project. And there were songs that we didn’t cut for whatever reason. We had to pick from fifteen songs. There are obviously a bit songs left behind from that project. So, some I felt strong enough about where I’ve made my own recordings of them. And that’s a lot of what led to the album. And in that regard, there’s also just some songs that I wrote that I needed to get off my chest.

As a songwriter, I’m always looking for a way to take the songs from the cutting room floor & from my desk and try to get them out to the world. That’s what midlife crisis is all about. It’s my fourth attempt that actually became my fourth solo album. And they almost all come from just a collection of songs over a certain amount of time or “Hey, this is not really solid material,” or “I got to put it out,”. It’s like sort of volcano erupting each time.

I feel like it’s my best one to date, because I feel like I’ve just grown into a better songwriter, and a better musician and a better producer over the years and, and so I think it comes across on this record, I’m proud of it.

I believe, as well that this is some of your best work. If you had to pick the top two songs of that album for people who never heard of you before, to get to know you as an artist. What’s two songs which you recommend?

I mean, always just to play the first two tracks and the first one on and it’s just got all the punk energy that I grew up on and it’s just has a very urgent vibe. It describes a lot about me, I think it’s, it’s a very real song for me. So, it’s track one “Gotta Get Out of Town”. With track two, I actually didn’t even write it but the story behind it is that one of my very good friends. He’s a great songwriter. I came to him when he was looking for a country single on our last project in 2019. His name is Steven Fiore from here in Charleston. He has a band called Young Mister that you may or may not have heard of.

I know he’s always told me that he can work. He has like the self-ability to write a great country pop song. And so, I came to him like “Steven, who needs a country pop song.” And he wrote “A Little More Rock n Roll” for us and our fans. And the chorus is like, “Can you remind me, how it was in the 90s” And, that’s how it starts in the chorus. I mean, he had our fans in Monterey and we didn’t cut it, we ended up cutting a Chris Stapleton song called “Hold On”, and that was our single from the project. On “A Little More Rock n Roll”. I thought “man, if he’s not going to cut it, I’ve got to cut this.” That’s one of my favorite tracks on the record. And, a lot of times when you make a great record, it isn’t always about the best songs you wrote about choosing the right song for the right time. I feel like I did that with this track.

Well, I definitely agree with you one hundred percent, especially when it came to that particular lyric, “How it was in the 90s” I still cannot believe it’s been three decades. And now 90s music is considered “classic” and I’m like “no, no, it cannot because it’s current to me”, as always. So, in response to that lyric and that song, what do you miss about the 90s?

I’m gonna tell you what I miss is just that naivety that was there for us when we were first coming up. And we were ready to do anything and take any gig and we were all we all had that mindset of that of really hard-working kids trying to live out our dream. And there was like this sort of beautiful naivety to it before we got famous where we were just all for one for all I missed that I missed that. Just the magic of that, you know?

Oh, the really good ones just come to you. And it’s like, you have to let yourself get to a place where it can come through but when they do, they just hit you. Sometimes it works when you sit down to write one but other times it happens when you’re in the shower or if you’re driving down the road or something. You’ll have these ideas that will come to me in my head sometimes you flush them out, sometimes they stink and sometimes they’re really good at this thing. I’ve been writing and it recently just came to me is like “if you’re gonna see, do something, say something true. “I just saw I started writing off of that and got a whole new song happened the other day.

That’s wonderful. And I’m glad that you hear that you also have some local openers opening for you. The Let There Be Rock School-Adult Band Rated R and it’s followed by another vocalist Michael Heister. How did you find these two acts and incorporate them into your concert coming up?

We have the best drummer in the land. Mr. Rick Slezak is in the Screaming Trojans. And he and I’ve been good buddies, and I’m honored to get to play with this guy. And he lives in the Frederick area and knows the folks at the Rock School there and, asked if they can be part of the bill. And I thought that would be so fun, because it just brings the community in a little more of that. And so, I said yes. And we’re going to have him play with us during our set to rock one out with us during the you know, later in our set.

And then one of the guys another guy in the band besides Rick Slezak is Mr. Michael Heister, who also lives in the area out there near Frederick and his son Michael grew up there. And Michael has turned into quite a guitar player, singer/songwriter himself. So, we’re going to feature him that night a little bit. And we’ll actually play with him a little at the end of his set now more frightened are set.

When did you realize you want to make music your career since when I read your bio, like me, you went to school for broadcast journalism and you ended up being a musician?

I was in like, I don’t know junior high or high school in McMinnville. My dad kind of was pretty adamant about, “hey, follow what you love what you know, what is it you love to do and that you would just be doing because you love it. Follow that. And that’s what you maybe want to do with your life.” And so, he kind of gave me that advice early on. And he was broadcasting at the time, because just because that’s what he loved. He loved sports and he was doing sports broadcasting. And so, I would tag along with him.

I decided that that’s what I wanted to major in. In college, it was really interesting to me, and, and then my passion for music got so strong, that that became the main thing I wanted to follow. And the sports broadcasting should became sort of a backup plan. I went ahead and got my degree. And other guys in the band had sort of the same philosophy. So, by the time we graduated, we were like, “alright, we can always use these degrees but what we really want to do is play.” And so, we did and we all we discussed when we went off for one for all and it took about five years, and then we got signed and the rest is history.

And what station was your dad on? Was it locally here in the DMV?

He was on AM 980 which was whim at the time that he am. He and Mike Patrick, who was still like ESPN, Mike Patrick did the GW games on 980 AM and my dad was color and Mike Patrick was the play by play. My dad also did the PA at the GW games for a while. I would go and be his voice in the arena. When I was a kid, so it’s kind of cool. And so, did a high school football scoreboard on WINX. He did a high school football scoreboard out of his shoe store in Bethesda every Saturday. So, all that was inspiring to me, obviously.

For all the future rock and rollers out there who wants to do what you do, what advice would you give to help them start their journey?

Well, I’ll give you the same advice my dad gave me which is, if there’s something you love, and you’re doing it anyway, you’re just doing it because you love it. You’re like, “Man, you know, you have to think about it.” That’s probably that’s probably a good sign that’s something you want to follow that you just absolutely love to do. And so, with that advice, I would then say, if it’s music, take every gig you can get so that you used to play in front of people and you get over that hump of anxiety or concern because music is supposed to be about having fun and feeling something and making other people feel something. So just you play whenever you can, so that you can achieve that.

You can see Mark and his Screaming Trojans this Saturday 730pm at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased here: https://weinbergcenter.org/shows/mark-bryan-with-the-screaming-trojans

You can follow Mark Bryan on social media:

Website – https://www.markbryanmusic.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/markbryanctmg/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/markbryan911

Twitter – https://www.facebook.com/markbryanctmg/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNQAvf_VlDagkUo4dcZ7aaQ

About The Author