Big Bus Dream
‘Letting Go - The Big Bus Dream Story’
In truth, Big Bus Dream have been around for a while, you just might not have come across them before now. Which is both good news and bad news. For the fact that you know nothing about them is bad news since you've not been repeatedly listening to them for the past few years. But that also becomes good news for you now as their new album, Big Dream Baby is now out in the stores on U.S. independent label Wampus Multimedia.
On Big Dream Baby, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based singer-songwriter Mike Shannon (former leader of 4th Ward) and guitarist-songwriter Chick Tsikouras (Pat Metheny, Mamas and Papas) have recorded a voyage of emotional disintegration and redemption.
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Mike Shannon and discussed their new album, the band's name, their home town, and, of course, our mutual love for Penguins!
Taking it from the top, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is there any vibe from that area that has worked its way into your music or does your music's sound primarily originate from another US state? "We have found that the banjo and dulcimer do make an appearance in the
background of a couple of songs. They are used for layering rather than a
focal point. Those instruments are common to this area (as well as laying
around in the studio). With so much creativity in music why not try
something that's from left field? Who would think banjo would sound good
with a Marshall cranked? But somehow it works."
Listening to the new album, it's obvious that there are major musician
influences embedded throughout - Lou Reed, Tom Waits, even some John
Lennon - but has your musical bent always been towards these artists? Or,
growing up, were you more influenced by other lesser alternative artists,
shall we say? "When growing up and listening to music you kind of develop your ear and gravitate towards music that peaks your interest. As you change with the times and new music comes out you still have a certain sound in your head that you fall back to that always feels like "home". This music is in our DNA. Whatever music we're writing, it always starts from a place that we understand so we can spring board from that."
With the new album following on the heels of the self-titled debut (2006) and The Jesters of Xmas Town (2008), just why has it taken four years to now bring Big Dream Baby to life? "Our band (contrary to belief) is not as bulletproof as one would believe. We
too we're in a recession and need money to fuel the "Bus" to makes stops at studios in NC to complete the CD. We had a hard time getting a cohesive
sound due to the different set ups of these studios (not all sessions were
recorded in the same studio). Some sessions were recorded digitally and some analog. There's quite a difference in sound when recording to tape and recording digitally. Plus new songs would pop up which made it harder to pick and choose what to use for the CD."
Big Dream Baby is full of songs of emotional disintegration and
redemption. Are they all true, personal self-taken voyages, or some
elaborated-upon adventures? "They are all true. You can't write this stuff without having an understanding of what that feels like. If the listener feels those emotions while listening then we've done our job to get that point across."
If you listen to Big Dream Baby in the car, which is still your go to
song that - for today, at least - is your own perfect musical golden child of a track? "C'mon & Run. There's so much going on that you'll want to keep driving and put it on repeat."
And, with the name of the band Big Bus Dream, the debut album
self-titled, and this new album named Big Dream Baby, my goodness there's a lot of Big Dream's floating around! Why have you stuck so close to these same words on those occasions? "This place we call home was built by dreamers. Can you ever have enough dreams? The new CD cover picture represents the baby in Big Dream Baby, as well as the dialogue in C'mon & Run, which is advice to someone on the way up."
So, now we've had album titles that include both Bus and now Baby, given your track record does that mean in 2016 the fourth album will be called B.B.'s Big Dream (a cover album of B.B. King hits done in your own rock style)?! "No, we'll have a greatest hits album and we'll work the word "banana" in there. And for contrast, maybe even a picture of our penguin."
You've been quoted as saying that in the past you've tried and failed at life and yet still managed to find wisdom from it. So, please tell us
something that you have failed at, that perhaps you didn't expect to, and
how you changed things around to become a better person for it. "Printing too many CD's. Instead we can now go digitally with a release and free up space in our garage. We are better for it."
Also, just what made you name the band Big Bus Dream in the first place, as it has to be said it does sound like a Saturday morning cartoon show for kids! "We wanted a name that made you think. If we were called Death Time or Black Skulls you would have a preconceived idea that we were some death metal band or something real heavy. Big Bus Dream keeps you guessing and wanting to give it a listen to find out what kind of music it is. Plus the name Bugs Bunny was already taken!"
Lastly, as we love penguins here at Exclusive Magazine, do you, and if you had one as a pet what would you name it?! "We have a penguin on the bus named Tux. He stays on the bus so you can say
he's all dressed up with no place to go!"
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of their brand new CD Big Dream Baby, just answer this easy question: Mike Shannon is a product of New York’s CBGB post-punk club scene and toured early on with a band that, back then were simply known as the Tom Cats. Who are they better known as today?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful signed CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: BIG BUS DREAM SIGNED CDs to: email@example.com