You have to understand something about living in the Midwest. The Midwest is NOT the home of the “entertainment industry” It’s a place where people are used to buckling down and working for a living.
Sure, there are a few “rock stars” from the Midwest, but it’s a different breed of cat.
But what has the “entertainment industry” given us anyways? MTV? Auto-Tune? American Idol? Not much of anything really.
If I told you that the best drummer you will ever see is a guy named Brad Elvis, you might ask about what video he’s in. No Brad Elvis is NOT that guy in that YouTube video with 25 million hits. Brad Elvis plays lead drums, like lead guitar, but without all the Eddie Van Halen theatrics. Brad is a guy you watch as he bounces a stick off the snare or floor tom, or as he balances his stick in the open palm of his hand, or on the tip of his index finger, while laying down a back beat you can’t help but swing to. He’s from the midwest. He works for a living. His job is drummer.
And, unlike a lot of guys in the midwest and everywhere else in the world, he loves his job. He has mastered it. He does it so well, he can do it with one hand tied behind his back. But he never does. He shows up and gives 100% every time.
Brad Elvis plays drums for The Romantics. Clem Burke of Blondie recommended Brad for the gig. The Romantics are from Detroit, which is also in the Midwest. You know The Romantics from massive hits like “Talking In Your Sleep” and the anthem “What I Like About You”. And they deserve to be called rock stars. But remember they’re from Detroit and its about working and perfecting your craft and the craft of The Romantics is rock and roll. Both parts, rock and roll. It swings. And that swing is demonstrated quite graphically by Brad Elvis.
And in case playing in one great band isn’t enough, Brad plays drums and is part of the creative team behind The Handcuffs with his guitar slinging/lead singing/rock wife/better half Chloe Orwell. I saw a Handcuffs photo with Chloe wearing a “Who The Fuck Is Brad Elvis” shirt a la Keith Richards and had to steal it for the headline.
For those from the Midwest proper (meaning Chicago:) Brad and his band The Elvis Brothers (a trio along with his rock brothers Rob and Graham Elvis) were staples of midwest clubs and theaters from the early 80′s through the early 90′s when they called it quits. Although they were signed to Portrait records who put out 2 of their 3 power pop classics, it was The Elvis Brothers live show that is the story of legend. With Brad playing standing up so he could jump and dance around while rocking out. Or tying a rope around each piece of his kit and throwing them over a bar above the stage so he could pull his kit into the air to end the set. Yup, they don’t make em like that anymore.
And this is part of the difficulty about Brad Elvis. He’s not the household name he deserves to be. Now, I’m allowed to make this kind of statement because my assessment of his talent is world class beyond 100 000 Kardashians. And when you’re talented as Brad, you don’t go around telling other people how awesome you are at what you do. Hopefully people say it for you, but either way, its obvious to those who witness it.
A couple of nights before I sat with Brad to interview him for this article I saw him play with The Handcuffs. The band was amazing and fun as hell. But what struck me most was how professional they were. They thanked the audience. They were happy and tight and they dressed up and they put on a real rock show. In a world where there is more time put into building your Twitter following than honing your craft, this was extremely refreshing.
Sitting with Brad he asked me told me that he has a log book (2 actually since the first one filled up) of every show he’s ever done. He asked me if I knew what gig that was last night? “4055″ That’s right as of a few weeks ago Brad Elvis has played 4055 gigs. He pointed out that people think they play a lot but in reality it doesn’t add up to that many. (If you played a show every day for 10 years that would only be 3650 shows. The math is staggering)
Each show has a rating system, how much the band made, what the audience was like, who they opened for, etc. In other words, each show has a story.
Like the story of his killer late 70′s band “Screams” (seriously click the link) who were the opening act on the first Van Halen tour and were the only band who didn’t get kicked off the tour because Diamond Dave thought they were cool. Great story, great songs but would that tell you who he is?
If I told you The Elvis Brothers opened for The Clash or toured with Billy Idol, or Cheap Trick, would that tell you who the fuck Brad is? Nope. It only gives a glimpse. The real story is really one that you have to experience. Its kind of like trying to describe what an apple tastes like to someone who’s never tasted one. You might come close in describing it, but you don’t know until you actually experience it. You have to get out from behind your computer and go to a show and SEE and FEEL Brad play for you.
I’ll let his fans chime in with stories and hope that you go check him out so you can experience it for yourself. Regardless, I’m naming him TheBestDrummerInTheWorld, because I own the web. And everything is true on the internet.
Go see Brad with The Romantics and go see him with The Handcuffs and realize that the world needs more pros like Brad. Watch and learn
Video credit TJ Superfan, Photo Credit: Della Peronne
To see Brad live: with The Romantics www.theromanticsdetroit.com
with The Handcuffs http://www.thehandcuffs.com/