Thursday, March 30, 2017


Introducing The Band:


     Pop music might sound easy on the ears but crafting a great Pop song is a very difficult task.  Coming up with a great chorus hook is of utmost importance (duh!) but then you must also come up with a good verse plus a bridge and/or middle eight that brings it all together. In the Power Pop/Guitar Pop field, so many modern artists only get it half-right because they come up with a decent chorus but don’t write anything memorable around it.  David Brookings doesn’t have that problem. Nope, he doesn’t have that problem at all!  Like all crafty songwriters, Brookings holds all the pieces of the puzzle and links them together with ease. He knows that you must keep the listener interested, anxious for the chorus hook to hit them with love. David Brookings makes it all sound so effortless, so carefree and so perfectly Pop.

     Brookings’s music is most certainly influenced by The Beatles but one can compare his musical approach to Pop icons like The dBs as well as indie favorites Cherry Twister and Ray Carmen.  Toss a little Fountains Of Wayne into the mix as well. A recording artist since 2000, he has released a total of seven albums. Working as a solo artist on his first six full-lengths, Brookings has managed to create an impressive back catalog filled with sincerity, sarcasm, humor, honesty, sadness and joy. While he predominantly called the shots on those first six albums – SOUNDS OFF, THE END OF AN ERROR, CHORUS VERSES THE BRIDGE, OBSESSED, GLASS HALF FULL and THE MAZE – he was ably assisted by an assortment of friends on the recordings. Far from your typical singer/songwriter drivel, Brookings solo albums combined the hooks normally found on Power Pop albums but his approach traded in the jangle for a deeper warmth. While his aim wasn’t always perfect, it was most certainly true and he hit his target way more often than not. 

     2016’s DAVID BROOKINGS & THE AVERAGE LOOKINGS is his seventh album in 17 years yet it is his first with a full-time band. With the energy amped up just a little more than on his past releases, this set is a deliciously pure Power Pop feast. This one pushes all the right buttons and kicks ass doing it.  While Brookings and others consider his style a nod to the influential British Invasion of the ‘60s, his sound is purely American Power Pop. If you want to make the Fountains Of Wayne comparison here, I’d say that this album falls right in between the full-throttle FOW sound and the more gentle approach of Chris Collingwood’s Look Park project. However, Brookings ’ sweet, wide-eyed voice is less Collingwood and more Chris Stamey and Cherry Twister’s Steve Ward (I do believe that I’m getting a little too obscure here…). Not quite a debut album… but certainly the first by this band, DAVID BROOKINGS & THE AVERAGE LOOKINGS is quite a treat for those in search of hooks galore. 

     For you vinyl fanatics out there, You Are The Cosmos, the Pop-oriented label based in Spain, has just issued KING WITHOUT A THRONE, a 12 track compilation album containing tracks from Brookings amazing back catalog. So there's really no excuse for you not to experience this majestic music!

     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to convince David to partake in Discussions Magazine’s INTRODUCING THE BAND series. And we proudly present it to you here and now…

SPAZ: Please introduce yourself!
DAVID: Hi, I’m David Brookings. I play in a band called David Brookings and the Average Lookings. We’re based in San Jose, CA. and play all around the Bay Area. I would call our sound a modern day British Invasion type of thing. I started playing guitar when I was 9 and writing songs when I was 11, and I’ll never stop

SPAZ: Can you fill us in on this new little platter of yours?
DAVID: The latest album is my 7th overall, but the first that is not under just my name. This was a real collaborative effort between the band and our awesome engineer / producer Don Budd.  I think this is a strong batch of songs. I’m proud of all the albums, but of course some are stronger collections than others. I honestly think this is the best record I’ve ever been a part of

SPAZ: Which song off of the album do you feel best defines the essence of the album and/or what the band is all about, musically?
DAVID: Good question. The centerpiece of the album (to me) is ‘Don’t Stop to Doubt Yourself’, but its also an outlier because it is one of the slower songs. I would say ‘Time to Go’ or ‘The Optimist’ are both good examples of what we do. But the first song I wrote for this one was ‘Hearts’, which is the first song on the album. So that’s a terrible answer, I just named four songs. LOL

SPAZ: In this age of streaming, the concept of the album as an art form seems to have been lost in the digital shuffle. Did you approach this project as a whole piece of work or do you view it more like a collection of individual songs that you felt work together well?
DAVID: Every time I finish a record, I start writing a new one. So to be honest, I’ve never tried to write any sort of concept album. I write songs one at a time, and swing for the fences every time I sit down to write one. I think its fair that the best songs get the most attention, and are streamed the most. But of course I would prefer someone to listen to the whole thing. I do spend a lot of time thinking about the sequence. That’s a very important part of the whole thing

SPAZ:  When you began the songwriting and recording process, did you already have a fully-formed idea of how you wanted the end product to sound like or did it come together organically?
DAVID: I generally write a song, demo it on Garage Band, and send it to the other guys to learn. So most of what we’re going to record is thought out ahead of time

SPAZ:  As a songwriter working in a group with equally talented writers and performers, is there a lot of give and take involved with making an album or were you all on the same wavelength with this batch of songs?
DAVID: In this band, the others don’t write, but there are times where one of the others will make up a new part or suggest a change to a part I’ve played on the demo. And when that happens, we go with the best idea, whether its mine or not. So yes, there is definitely some give and take

SPAZ: Given the opportunity, an artist could tinker with an album for years before finally releasing it to the world.  Are you happy with the release of the album at the moment or are you still in the ‘I wish I could go back and add this or change that’ stage?
DAVID: There’s always a little bit of that. I hear a guitar line on ‘You’re Right, it Went So Wrong’ that we never recorded for it, every time I hear the song. Would have been cool to get it on there. But at the same time, it couldn’t have been that important or we wouldn’t have overlooked it

SPAZ:  Listening to an album, one can decipher some of the main musical influences that helped shape that artist. However, there can also be some surprising influences as well.  Who would you pick as your chief musical influences on this album?
DAVID: The Beatles are always first and foremost for me. But I try to sound original. It’s a good thing for someone to say ‘well I hear a lot of influences, but they don’t sound exactly like anybody’. There are bands like that, that really sound like XTC or that really sound like Elvis Costello. I know its totally cliché, but I really want to have a sound that’s original, while at the same time sound like we’re paying homage

SPAZ: Did you have any non-musical influences that inspired you during the making of the album?
DAVID: Musically every song is inspired by something. But the lyrics are never musically inspired. I write my life. Whatever is happening, I’ll write a song about it. OR occasionally if I see a movie or hear an interesting story, I’ll write from such-and-such a character’s point of view.

SPAZ: Was there a particular moment during the writing or recording when you realized that you were definitely making something special?
DAVID: No, not really. But it was a very fun album to make. The record before this one (THE MAZE, 2013) was really just me doing it. The bass player and drummer put their parts on it and the rest was me doing vocals and guitar overdubs. It was a lonely album to make, because it was just the engineer and I. This latest one wasn’t like that at all. There were several of us in the sessions, and it was really fun to make

SPAZ: What is next for the band?
DAVID: We play all around the Bay Area, and I’m constantly writing new songs. I’d say I’ve written about a third of the songs for the next record. So, new shows and new album coming up

SPAZ: What are you currently spinning on your CD and record players?
DAVID: Listening to a lot of Dylan, much to the dismay of my wife and 11 yr. old daughter, haha. Also The Kinks, Bowie, Petty, plenty of Power Pop. I like box sets. I like to dig into careers


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