Texas-born artist, producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and independent label owner Brian Wright is preparing for the release of Lapse of Luxury, a new album due May 8 from yet another alter ego with his imaginary band, Brian Wright & The SneakUps. Lapse of Luxury was created in Wright’s own backyard shed. It took three years to make in between days home off the road while touring as guitarist for New West Records artist Aaron Lee Tasjan. “The SneakUps are all the different musical voices in my head alongside my partner Sally Jaye (she’s the one with all the hooks) and engineer and co-producer Gabe Masterson,” Wright says.
I wanted to play drums for AC/DC, full stop. I still do, in fact, but that’s looking less and less likely to happen. My mom taught me “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley” on the guitar when I was about 5, but I didn’t really start playing until I was a teenager. My earliest musical memories were singing along to the radio. I knew the words to everything. I remember Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Love Is a Rose” was big then. I used to sing that and “Born to Be Wild” while riding my big wheel (probably my dad’s biker friend’s influence). My uncle Don was a drummer. He had his kit set up in my grandmother’s house. I remember how cool they looked and the sound of them being louder than anything I’d ever heard. I wanted to make that sound.
I try to make my songs interesting to me musically. I love turning an idea upside down and closing one eye to see what kind of shape it takes. Sometimes I’ll write them quickly and that’s the way the song stays. But a lot of times I’ll get the size and shape of an idea and then see how it would sound if Curtis Mayfield played it, or if the Stooges covered “Working in a Coal Mine.” I like musical surprises, and I also consider arranging one of the most rewarding parts of the songwriting process, so I’ll try to look at songs from a few different angles before I decide what it is.
Patrick’s Crossing was a spot along the Brazos River where my friends and I liked to camp when we were teenagers. The spot we’d usually go was sort of a raised peninsula, but late at night they’d let some water out from the dam and the river would rise around us and we’d have our own private island until morning. Several of my friends had old VW camper vans, so we’d circle those up and build a fire and play music and have the best time. I was a few years younger than the rest of them, so I was learning a lot. They were all creative types—hilarious, definitely misfits, but beautiful and kind, musicians and artists—and I was learning a lot by playing with them and growing up with them. I got turned on to LSD out there, and I’d wander the woods or float downriver when everyone had crashed out for the night with a head full of the whole world. I loved those times. I was becoming an artist—or at least realizing that’s what I already was—and I was figuring out my path. So the song is just a walk through the woods or a float down the river with my childhood friends and memories (good and bad) while hallucinating with a small-town Texas version of Parliament-Funkadelic playing the soundtrack.
First of all, thank you. I hope that people can find something relatable in the songs and if not in the lyrics, maybe the groovy sounds will encourage them to shake their ass, then maybe the stories will SneakUp on them (see what I did there?).
Haha thanks. I’m late and get dragged kicking and screaming into every social media platform, but I certainly realize its value to artists like myself and my friends in getting the word out and connecting with people. I’m glad people like the weird things I tweet and if I have any advice about it, I’d say absurd is the word. Tweets to me are little humor hand grenades. Pull the pin, throw it, and cover your head. Don’t hang around for the shrapnel or the return fire. There will always be someone who doesn’t get the joke. Don’t worry about them. Everyone can’t be as cool as you. ?
Bonus question for Sally Jaye:
I’ve definitely spent my life among unusual people within abnormal situations. And Brian has too. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons we appreciate each other so much. That being said, there’s no way to prepare for a life with Brian Wright. I guess that’s what makes it such a great adventure to stand by and watch all of his bold creativity unfold daily. He doesn’t sit still. In fact as I write this, he’s probably out in the studio experimenting with some new sound and mashup of words, or making a sculpture out of things from our junkyard pile.