'Coming Thru, Loud and Clear!'
Taken from Steve Bertrand's MySpace Page: "Hello friends. So here's the latest. Avion has taken a little holiday for the time being. We're all still good friends, so there's no need for any scandalous rumors. I just signed a new record deal and will be releasing my solo album May 8. Thank you for all the support and messages as I've been sorting through a lot of business crap and have been out of the loop for a while. There will be more info to follow. Thanks, Steve."
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "The first concert I ever saw was the Beach Boys in Daytona, FL. They along with bands like U2, the Beatles, Cheap Trick and the Cars were/are some of my biggest influences."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your debut solo CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "I would describe my music as smart pop. It seems like artists are more concerned with citing a band like Radiohead as an influence, and what everyone else thinks is cool than just being honest about their music. Radiohead did play a big part in shaping my attitude toward music but it doesn't really translate into what I do. I write three and a half minute pop songs."
Your album title 'Pain Is A Megaphone' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? Is there a theme to it, perhaps? "I believe every album has that one song that encapsulates what the overall mood of the album is. "Megaphone" best sums up that theme on this album. It's based on a quote by C.S. Lewis that goes something like this…"Pain is the megaphone by which God gets the attention of a deaf world.” It seems like the hard times in my life are the best in forming my character and keeping me humble."
Knowing that you once fronted both the Tories and Avion (one of my personal favorites), when were the moments @ the time of both departures that you knew it was time to leave ... and why? "There are seasons for everything in life. One of the greatest challenges I've ever faced was knowing when to put a period at the end of a sentence like with the Tories and then Avion. I prefer to look forward as opposed to back. It seems like reinventing myself musically has kept me from holding on too tightly to my past successes or failures."
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's /accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "I think it's important to be aware of what's happening around you in the musical climate but ultimately one must do what they do and hope that it is well received. The worst thing an artist can do is write a song or album to please radio or its listeners. Authenticity is paramount in art. People see right through insincerity."
Please tell us more (in a quick fashion!) about what was going on in your life when these songs were being written and recorded:
'The Last Mile Is The Longest' - "This song was based on a few conversations I have had with people throughout my life who would be in a place in their relationships where they were either going to break up with their significant other or marry them. How bizarre that these two outcomes could coincide. It seems as though it IS darkest just before the dawn."
'In The Dreaming' - "This song was birthed from the idea that it was in a time of hurt and failure that I once again regained my faith in Christ."
'Megaphone' - "See above C.S. Lewis quote."
Knowing that your Avion song/hit 'Seven Days Without You' was also recorded by Teddy Geiger for his latest album, was that a pleasure or a pain to you? "It hurt all the way to the bank! :)"
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "'Voices Carry' by Til Tuesday or 'Sunglasses at Night' by Corey Hart."
Lastly, and throwing in a comedic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I'm cool with Penguins. They're good with hot sauce and vegetables!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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