Brad Barr | Vibrational Manipulation

There's not all that much to say, really. I was born in Providence, RI. Twenty-two months later my brother Andrew was born. We lived in a pink house. I started on piano when I was six. I didn't love it, but my mom made me keep going. When I was about 8, my parents bought me a drumset--not because I asked for it. They just bought me a drumset. I remember that Christmas morning. There it was, shiny and big. I had never been in the presence of one before. It was white and sprinkled with tinsel(we had tinsel that year). I started walking over to it, but something red and little burned past me and got to it first. After pounding out a rhythm that he has spent the rest of his life trying to play again, my parents told Andrew that Santa actually built this drumset for Brad. But after that brief performance, the drums were his.

No matter. I was going to be a bass player anyway. I convinced my folks to get me a bass, that it would be the last thing I would ever ask for, ever again. They conceded. I was enchanted. But within a year or so, the harmonic limitations of the bass drove me to pick up the guitar. Now, the guitar was not unfamiliar to me. My dad had one around the house that he used to play Elvis licks on, and my parents had even bought Andrew a cheap electric guitar when they began offering lessons at school. It just never occured to me to learn how to play it. But now I was ready. I was 12 years old.

So here we were. Two kids, finally settled on their instruments. We discovered we could play "Summer Of 69" no problem, "Johnny Be Goode", piece of cake, "Highway To Hell", a little tricky, but they had two guitarists. We kept going. We went from Michael Jackson to AC/DC to Guns and Roses to The Rolling Stones to Bob Marley to The Allman Brothers to Phish in a span of about 4 years. At this point, I think it was 1991, Andrew and I joined the jazz band at our high school, Tabor. We met Marc, who had just switched from guitar to bass. Now, the notion of playing jazz, or swinging, to someone who came up playing straight, driving rock and roll, can be difficult to grasp. It sounds hokey at first. But we payed attention, and soon discovered lots of music that rocked and swung. Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Steely Dan, Monk--they all were in heavy rotation. There is a chapter of this story that involves an earlier incarnation of The Slip. My dear friend Adam Mutterperl played the bass, I was on guitar, Andrew on drums, and the mastermind John Myers was the other guitar player. In no way do I want to underplay the significance of this. We played ferociously until '94. But instead of going through the changes step by step, I'll just say it became apparent that our focus was shifting. By now, I had graduated and kicked around for a couple of years waiting for Andrew and Marc to finish. I spent a year at college, I hitch-hiked around the Northwest, I dug deeply into the music that now seemed most important to me: jazz.
I guess the rest is still happening. We moved to Boston in '95. We went to Berklee for a year or so. We do owe alot to a particular chance encounter with some people who lived at a place called the Red House. It was there that we found our support. It was there that we played for 5 hours at a time, there that musicians, poets, artists, filmmakers, students, gathered to make things fun and to teach each other. Little by little we booked ourselves around the Boston/Providence area, usually playing for the same small group of people who lived or hung out at the Red House. We branched out, up to Vermont, down to NYC, over to Northampton. Should I keep going? I take back what I said at the beginning. There's alot to say. Okay, how about this...
Music has tought me most of what I know in life, and has given me every reason to wake up and pursue more. From the importance of listening, concentration, and dedication, to the simple art of being a human and filling your life with as much feeling, joy or sorrow, as you can, it contains everything. The same can be found in anything where personal investment and creation are involved. For me, it happens to be music.

Some drawings by Brad

10 things to know about me:

1. My birthday is July 27, 1975
2. Angus Young was my first guitar hero.
3. I rarely go to sleep before 4am. I find these hours to be vibrant and always egging me on.
4. I don't watch TV in my house. I did way too much of that as a youngster and may never get over the effects.
5. My mom is a cookbook writer and my dad is dentist. So you can see why I inevitably became a travelling musician.
6. I like to play chess.
7. I like it when performers/artists/people make mistakes, but not too many. I think they are some of the more exciting and revelatory moments in life.
8. I don't ascribe to any particular religion. I see the different religions of the world as cultural and aesthetic variations on similar themes of devotion, compassion, truth, and the acknowledgement of order in the mystery of the universe.
9. If I'm not on tour, I can almost always be found on Monday nights in Boston at the Lizard Lounge seeing The Fringe.
10. If, in the frightful scenario that I am ever cloned, you will know the real me by a pigment-free patch of skin above my right knee. This occured when my knee saw something too scary to repeat here.

Brad plays a 1954 Gibson ES 175 with the original P-90 pickup, strung with D'Addario flat-wound 13's, and a custom solid body guitar by Ashoke Childs strung with D'Addario round-wound 13's, as well as a Jerry Jones electric sitar, a Fender Stratocaster, and Gibson 12 string acoustic. His amp is a Polytone Mini-Brute IV. His pedals include (l to r); Boomerang, DOD Delay, Ernie Ball Volume, Crybaby Wah-Wah, D.O.D 9-band Equalizer, RAT distortion, Ibanez Chorus, Boss Octave, Boss Fuzz, and the Electro Harmonix Ring Modulator. He occasionally uses the Lexicon MPX 100.

Music Brad has been enjoying lately: Nathan Moore, Sad Songs Make Me Happy;Shakti, The Believer;Mice Parade, All Roads Lead to Salzburg;Bill Frisell, Ghost Town;Juana Molina, Tres Cosas; Blind Willie Johnson, Dark Was The Night; The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin; Stan Getz and Jimmy Rainey Live at Storyville; The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers; Paul Galbraith, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin(arranged for guitar); anything by Joe Pass


Marc Friedman | Substructural Coordination
Andrew Barr | Temporal Supervision