Chocolate O’Brian: An Interview
Warning Scenesters: Hanging out with Chocolate O’Brian might cause you to be yourself. Scary, I know, imagine finally being able to let go of your front. Whether you are in their production studio or at one of their shows (which are rare) you can’t help but feel at home. That doesn’t mean you can walk around el buffo with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles in your hands…sick-o. It means that dancing uncontrollably (like when you’re alone in front of the mirror) and being real (like when you’re around your family) is always encouraged.
Maybe Chocolate O’Brian’s peace of mind comes from years of music industry experience…calloused and desensitized to the big machine. Or maybe using a MTV Moon Man as a paperweight eases the nerves. It could also be the roster of bands on their resume: No Doubt, Green Day and Les Claypool to name a few. Whatever it is, the duo: Stephen Bradley and Dave Tweedie, are using that wisdom to show us how to get REAL. “We’re serious about what we do, but we’re not serious about who we are,” says Bradley. “Find a way to be different, even if it’s just a little bit. Be a little different but have enough substance and then rock that shit.”
Owl: What the hell is a Chocolate O’Brian?
Stephen: We couldn’t settle on something that was meaningless enough, yet meaningful enough. That’s the whole thing with a band name, you want it to be insignificant but you also want it to represent you. When I thought of it, I was on tour in Ireland and it was some off the cuff shit.
How important is it to have fun?
Dave: When we first hooked up I was really in that serious musician hole. Stephen was way more lighthearted and reminded me how fun it was when I first started playing…back when it was all about getting with your buddies and having a good time.
Who would you like to cover at a show?
S: Hall and Oates, they were super pop. Most bands these days think themselves too cool to play some shit like that. I think that would be kind of punk to do that because nobody else would. I would say the same thing for Huey Lewis and the News.
How do you feel about the Bay Area music scene?
D: For me the music scene here has always been great. I’ve been around long enough to see scenes come and go. This place is like anyplace else, it’s what you make of it.
What makes producing and performing similar?
S: At the end of the day the challenge is to be able to make the opportunities for yourself. If you’re a band, you’ll play a bunch of shows, develop a following and tour. Hopefully people will start to recognize you. As producers, you want to produce an artist that gets recognition and people are like, “Who produced that album?” Either way you have to do something where people will notice you.