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Monday Music: Brave Ulysses - Local Band Blends the Best of Old and New

Martinez guitarist Harrison Flynn answers some questions about his band and his musical life.

Fresh from a recent appearance at the Fall Talent Festival at Susana Street Park last weekend, and an appearance at the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival, the band Brave Ulysses is an up-and-coming group worth keeping an eye on. They blend modern musical sensibilities with “classic” sounds from the 1960s and 70s.

The band also won the “Battle of the Bands” contest at this year’s Alameda County Fair. Check out their Facebook page.

Martinez Patch asked Harrison Flynn, Martinez resident and guitarist for the band, to answer some questions about the group.

Q: How long have you been playing guitar? 

A: I have been playing guitar for about four years. I started when I was 12 years old. At the time Green Day was my first favorite band. I heard their album “Dookie” and the music seemed to express how I felt at that age.   It was then that I decided I wanted to play guitar and one day join a band. I started taking lessons with Doug Wendt at Good Stuff Guitar.  I can remember the first song I learned being “Ode To Joy”!

Q: Who are your main influences?

A: As my guitar playing progressed my musical tastes also began to expand. That’s when I discovered Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jeff Beck, The Yardbirds and Jimi Hendrix. These are my main influences.  Especially Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.  I would spend hours learning Clapton's guitar solos on the Cream song “Crossroads” and trying to get his “Woman Tone”. I later discovered the highly revered 1966” John Mayall and The Blues Breakers” (The Beano Album) with Eric Clapton on lead guitar and it  completely blew me away and has a big affect on how I play guitar today. Most of my guitar heroes had been influenced by the blues, so I began listening to the old blues greats, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and especially Robert Johnson. Our bass player, Ben, is into modern bands like The Strokes as well as the classics like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Our drummer, Jared, is heavily influenced by the heavy, pounding drumming of John “Bonzo” Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Noah, our lead singer is into grunge bands like Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots and  some of his songwriting is really inspired by those groups.

Q: How many are in the band?

A: Brave Ulysses is Jared Cvetich, 13, on Drums, Ben Delzeit, 15, on Bass, Noah Baldwin, 14 on Vocals and Rhythm Guitar, and me, Harrison Flynn, 16, on Lead Guitar.

Q: When did you guys get together?

A: I joined the band in November of 2010 at Red House Studios in Walnut Creek, and Noah joined a couple months later. So this lineup has been together since early 2011.  Noah has brought a great, creative stage presence to the band and is a perfect front man, he also has a knack for writing songs.  Ben's fingers are a blur on the bass. Jared is just an amazing drummer, he utilizes the whole kit and just pounds on those drums.  Also, Vince Lay is our instructor at Red House and has a lot of experience and is really good at helping us tighten our sound.

Q: Do you all share a taste for classic rock bands?

A: Yeah, we are all inspired by the classics.  Most of our covers have been from bands from the 60's through the 90's. The Classic Rock sound has also found its way in to our original songs, emphasizing guitar riffs and solos, intricate bass lines and forceful drums. My guitar sound has developed into a Blues-Rock feel which adds to the Classic Rock sound.  And we like to play LOUD!

Q:  What are the bands aspirations? A CD? Any special gigs you want to do?

A: We'd like to get into a recording studio soon and record some of our originals (we are working on our fourth original now) and eventually put out a CD. One of our goals for the future is to play the “Whiskey A Go Go” club in Los Angeles, and play the same stage where many of our heroes have played, and like other bands say, one day take over the world!

Q: How often do you practice guitar? 

A: I usually practice a couple hours every day or if I have the time more. In so much in love with playing, I could play all day.

Q:  What advice do you have for younger players who want to be in a band? 

A: Jimi Hendrix once said, sometimes you are going to hate the guitar and get frustrated and want to put it down, but if you stick with it you will be rewarded in the end.  Love to practice and get everyone involved in the creative process.

Frances Vaught September 27, 2011 at 03:42 AM
To a great group of guys playing and having a great time. Best of luck to all of you.
Kayleen Parks September 27, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Harrison has always been an old soul musically. I can't wait to hear these guys play!
Jenny J Starmack September 27, 2011 at 03:03 PM
What a wonderful and inspiring story - Wish you well Brave Ulysses!!

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