I started playing sax & composing when I was 10, performing classical, jazz & swing in school stage bands. When I was 14 I picked up a guitar for the first time…….it was like I’d inherited freedom. My high school music teacher told me that guitar wasn’t an instrument. I ignored him &, studied rock/metal guitar for the 1st year. I wrote rock & metal songs which I started recording when GarageBand was released. I was 15 and switched to classical guitar study, but I listened to metal, i.e., Megadeth, Malmsteen, Deep Purple, Pantera, etc. I also started performing jazz, rock & blues improv guitar at a club then which lasted all through high school. I branched out & studied everything from Motorhead to Dick Dale to Bach. I was in a surf band one summer. I moved into electronic music & incorporated that into my hard rocking metal compositions before I moved to Boston to study Performance Guitar at Berklee College of Music. After Berklee, I moved to LA where I played the Strip as a solo artist. I performed with some major acts at the Whisky, i.e., Michael Angelo Batio, DeathRiders, Gorillaz, as well as many other established, acts.
I received my first radio play when I was 16. 2 Southern California University stations, picked up my music & I was away. Indie labels started sniffing around then & have been ever since, but nothing has gelled yet. I’ve been getting ongoing press since 2010. After LA I moved to NYC & in 2013 formed Men Without Armies. Our self-titled release ran across the USA, Great Britain, Europe, Canada & South America via radio & magazines, both terrestrial & the internet. That simple three man band was the formula I’d been searching for in the trees rather than the forest.
Pure ripping metal has been coursing through my veins since I first picked up a guitar. My adventures to incorporate every genre that has a beat, into my metal compositions was very necessary & still is. I want to study it all but most of all I want to become a better guitar player & composer. By straying from the herd, I think that I can accomplish that………no one has a monopoly on anything, even a flat tire kicks off a beat. I may not like all music genres, but I’ve always been able to find great guitar players &/or composers in all I’ve studied. Unique &, interesting guitar techniques & finger stylings might have been developed by a guitar player partial to a particular genre like I am, but that isn’t to say those ideas must stay in that type. There is no hard & fast guitar rule other than don’t try to trick your audience into playing back screaming guitar work that was recorded in the studio & doctored to death then pretending it’s you blinding fans with your live, mad axe. That’s as bad as lip syncing super stars.
The songs on Strapped & Loaded took more than a year to create. Over the course of a year, I wrote 53 new songs. Those were whittled down to 20 and expanded upon. I cut eight then fully developed the remaining 12 into complete works which I recorded with my gear. I also did something I vowed I’d never do………..I studied country music artists, focusing on great country guitar players, as well as, successful songwriters.
The compositions & arrangements are only part of the story for songwriting; lyrics are another. Dude listened to my new songs & wrote the lyrics before entering the studio. The problem with that is things always change when it go time. If we were signed & had months to lounge around a studio, there wouldn’t be a go time until the label’s A&R person laid down the law by calling in a pack of rabid dogs, to get our attention. Like most bands at our stage, money is extremely tight so burning almost two days of studio time was the difference between finishing what we set out to accomplish & not. But that’s life, the show goes on, and we’ll deal with the money issue later. Meanwhile, I didn’t like what Dude wrote because his lyrics didn’t mesh with my compositions. So Dude got up at four every morning, went to the motel’s TV room, put headphones on & wrote through each finished song until he found what he was looking for. He took those to the studio where he made adjustments & re-writes until we were in sync.
Now it’s no secret to any living professional musician that the internet crushed the music business model with such devastation that many just called it quits and went to work for peanuts & party leftovers. But that destruction is starting to be regenerated as more & more labels realize the size of the market for hard rock & metal. Besides, there are only so many years that people will tune into terrestrial radio stations blasting only Classic Rock before they tune out completely & tune into internet radio stations that are blasting new hard rock & metal. Somewhere along the way, Men Without Armies slipped a disc. Our original drummer & bass player/vocalist moved to what they thought were greener pastures, while Dude & I hunkered down in a bomb shelter. We landed Derek Bachtold, our new drummer; Vibe Studios was still a going concern plus Canada Council for the Arts awarded me a music creation & production grant. MONEY!!! I played all guitars, including bass & Johnny, lent us his tonsils. Suddenly the sun was shining; the truck was tanked up with gas and Men Without Armies is ready for round two.
Round Two – Strapped & ReLoaded Now this is the plan. Strapped & Loaded is now a six-song EP instead of a 12 song CD. But when we were at Vibe we also recorded the remaining six songs without vocals. These six instrumentals have been amped with searing guitar solos which have become our trademark & something our fans have come to expect, so they will also be released. This six-song EP will be called Strapped & ReLoaded. Plus…..we are readying for a fall 2017 tour
Strapped & Loaded (EP) speaks about our times, and 3 of the songs have a military theme. The song Strapped & Loaded is the recording’s single and has a double meaning. Dude also wrote it to help give my mom strength & courage to battle her cancer. Crash on Burn is all about Vegas. The title for Fast Life in Hollywood says it all. The Gun Show was written to help bring more awareness of living life inside of our inner cities, to those living the great life in places like Man Hat Tan – grab a coat, got a plane to catch, see ya man.
Brennan Dylan – guitar, compositions, producer, keys Derek Bachtold – drums Dude Diablo – lyrics *Bassist/Vocalist – auditioning
Guitar: Gary Kramer Illusionist Deluxe, I’m sponsored by Gary Kramer Guitar
Strings: D’Addario 09-42 Super Light, Nickel Wound
Cabinet: Orange 2 speaker closed back
Plant:1) Furman M-DX Power Conditioner
2) FRACTAL Audio Systems Axe-Fx II preamp/processor – rather than use an amp(I like a heavy sound & live in a condo) I use a processor. The 2 amp settings I use are Friedman HBE & Eddie Van Halen 5150. I’m not big on effects & don’t use them live but have them if I want to play around at home
3) ART SLA2 200 watt power amp
4) SKB shock loaded rig rack
This set up allows me to get a great sound at low volume for practicing at home but also gives me the muscle to step it up if a club’s sound person is too loaded to turn on my cab mic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MenWithoutArmys Facebook: www.facebook.com/menwithoutarmies Youtube: www.youtube.com/MenWithoutArmies Linkedin: www.linkedin/in/brennandylan Youtube: www.youtube.com/musicwithoutfear