Bradley Boy MacArthur

Interview Bradley Boy MacArthur

Bradleyboy Mac Arthur

Salt Gun

Bradley Boy MacArthur


“Bread that this house may never know hunger, salt that life may always have flavor.”
Donna Reed (1921 - 1986) US actress

worldbeatcanada radio: The acid test for a good song is to strip away all the technology; the auto-tune, the programmed beats, the synth pads, the effects and processing … if what’s left sounds anything at all like a song, you might indeed have something. Bradley Boy Mac Arthur has a boxcar full of them and, more impressively, you wouldn’t dare mess up his art with bells and whistles. The one man band is like a dog on chain with enough growl and sinew to gnaw through to the bare bones of what’s real. Bradley Boy Mac Arthur joins me by phone. Congrats on Salt Gun, Bradley Boy. Where does the title come from?

Bradleyboy Mac Arthur: When I was a kid I grew up in an area called The Bluffs, just east of the city of Toronto. We used to go down and play at the bluffs by the lake. And, to get to this one spot where the clay pits were, there was actually this old guy who lived right down on the bluff, and we had to go through his property to get to the clay pits. So when were going through there, you would hear the old guy go, "You kids get out of here!" and then "pop, pop, pop!” the sound of the salt gun going off. So, I thought, you know, Salt Gun would be a really great title for an album. Salt Gun, fact or myth, but when it hits you it's gonna sting (laughs).

WBC: And what about where you come from. What’s life like in Durham County, Ontario and how did you end up sounding like you hail from much further south?

BBoy: It's funny; you know we have no control over where we're born; where our geographical fix is. With me, I found it was always in me. As a kid, I grew up in what people call the city but they called me a hillbilly. I was a hillbilly always. I grew up in a kind of Huck Finn existence. We had the quarry and the clay pits and I was always gone. My mom had to search for me everyday to bring me home for dinner. I guess that kept and stayed with me. Our family is deep rooted on the East Coast in Prince Edward Island. We still have the same farm from four generations of our family. And, then when I got more and more into writing, that's the voice that came out. I stuck with it because it really feels like that's my true voice.

WBC: You’ve played in bands of varying sizes and styles, why do you think you’ve settled for now on being a lone wolf?

BBoy: Number 1: Anyone who has ever been in a band environment knows it's hard. It's the nature of the beast that it's hard to get that many people together all the time for rehearsals. There's egos, direction ... I've always been a singer/songwriter foremost and then the bands I've been in, I've been usually the primary singer/songwriter. After a while I found it restricting, because within one band everybody wants to play just certain tunes, and I write all the time. With the one man band thing, I don't have to worry about rehearsals and getting people together and if I write something today, I can go do a show and play it tonight. So, it gives me a little more freedom that way and you know what? It also adds another element. It's entertainment. Because, part of music is giving to people you don't see often. You take them somewhere. Give them an experience. What I've found is people will come into a bar or a club ... they don't see me at the stage through all the people. And, when they finally make their way to the stage they can't believe it's one guy. And, it's not one guy with loop pedals and all this other stuff. it's just a guy with a suitcase bass drum, a high-hat and his guitar and his amp and his vocals, and it delivers.

WBC: It sure does! Is there anyway of training your voice to get that wild dawg hollerin’ that send shivers my spine as they do for most of your fans I’m sure?

BBoy: (laughs) That growl comes from me being an iron worker, structural steel worker, connector for years. So, when you're high up in the air and you're calling down to people, you wind up having quite a bit of volume in your voice. And, mine just happens to have a growl with it.

WBC: worldbeatcanada radio is on the pod with Bradleyboy Mac Arthur who’s sharing a bit about himself and the new album Salt Gun on Awesome Music/ EMI. Connect with him through social media (that’s at least a small nod to technology). Start at the homepage, and click through to My Space to hear some tracks, twitter and facebook to follow him and sonicbids for the ever-popular Electronic Press Kit. We introduced Salt Gun last week on the program with Chickenblood. Is he a real dog and was that a true story?

BBoy: It's a true story. The dog's name is George. Our dog's on a raw diet. It's basically ground chicken and bone. It's really good for them. Anyway, we get it in these packs and it's like a 6 pound packet of this meat and we just thaw it out for a bit before we can feed it to him. So, we put six pounds out on the counter, and my wife and I stepped out for a bit. When we got back, George had eaten all six pounds of it! So that was it. His nickname was what I call this stuff which is Chicken Blood. He is Chicken Blood. He does likes to lie in our bed. Sometimes, you go in there and he has his head on our pillow. The entire story is true.

WBC: And, nothing says love like a gift in your Wellingtons, right?

BBoy: (laughs) If he ain't going outside, you ain't going outside!

WBC: The artwork is brilliant. Who are we staring down on the cover’s wood burned picture?

BBoy: The artist is Pete Commanda. He's a tattoo artist. He just started getting into wood burning, and he came out to one of my Dakota shows and he showed me it. And, once I saw it, I said, "That's the album cover." The actual person that's on there is a friend of his father's when he was in the Italian army.

WBC: And what about that jet logo inside the sleeve? That's really cool too!

BBoy: That, Cal is kinda my trademark. That jet logo is actually on my suitcase bass drum. It's actually an old magnetic game that used to be in one of our rooms when I was a kid. Then I wound up throwing it on the front of the suitcase, because it's such a catching image, you know? So, on my merch, on my tee shirts, that rocket logo is on it. It's kinda like a BBoy trademark.

WBC: I’d like to take this home with my favorite track on the disc. This is powerful stuff. Can you set up Locomotive Dream for us.

BBoy: Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you're already in motion and you're just trying to catch up with yourself. Do you get up, or do you just lay there? So, it's got a bit of grit, a bit of funk that delivers the message and it is the Locomotive Dream.

Bradleyboy Mac Arthur was interviewed for worldbeatcanada radio on July 26/11