Area duo’s CD generates interest, controversy
BY JIMMY HANCOCK
When Jared Brandt and Eddie Morain Sr. collaborated on “Brandt Morain Volume One,” a CD of original music, it was a labor of love that took more than 3,500 total man hours to complete.
Their hope was that others would also love their music.
But sales of “Brandt Morain Volume One,” released in 2009, have been slow and was even halted altogether by the duo for 18 months to combat and protest music piracy, and what they believe is a mainstream music industry that’s turned a blind eye to the thievery and the damage it’s done to the independent music scene.
“The whole industry has moved from pushing the sales of CDs to making their money through concerts,” Brandt said on Sunday. “For indie bands, it’s particularly difficult now. They depend on early album revenues to promote the band.”
Things are beginning to change a bit, however. While sales are still modest, Brandt said, the album has been garnering increasing attention during the past year because of a couple of different songs.
The CD features eight songs and was produced in both Blackfoot, where Morain is located, and in McCammon, where Brandt and wife Marie Brandt live. The basic recording was done in the Blackfoot studio, which is the more elaborate of the two, and the fine tuning and mixing was all done in McCammon.
It’s a compilation of songs from many different genres, including country, easy listening, Christian and even a rap satire.
The notoriety for Brandt Morain Volume One began a little more than a year ago when Marie and Jared posted the Christian song, “Rule of Man,” on You Tube. It’s gotten roughly 1.8 million hits since being posted.
“It’s not your standard feel-good Christian music designed to appease existing Christians,” Brandt said. “In fact, it’s designed to go after and aggravate the atheist, and it does. It’s become quite controversial.”
It appears to have struck a chord. Brandt says there are numerous comments on You Tube about “Rule of Man,” many of them taking exception with the song’s message.
“Why make such statement without any evidence to back it up? If you cannot provide evidences, you cannot claim this deity exists,” is one comment left on You Tube just a few days ago.
Many of the more than 500 comments include banter among those making the comments, arguing points of contention.
As the posting of “Rule of Man” on You Tube has gotten increased attention in recent months, so has the musicians’ website, www. brandtmorain.com.
Also driving traffic to their website is a recent interview Brandt did with Dr. James Manning, chief pastor of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City. Manning, known for his vehement opposition to President Barack Obama, hosts a radio show, The Manning Report, on ATLAH Media Network, a faith-based operation hosted at www.atlah.org.
Ironically, Manning wasn’t interested in talking to Brandt about “Rule of Man.” Instead, he wanted to talk with Brandt about “The C is Silent in Rap,” a rap song satirizing the music genre.
Brandt said Manning has long extolled the detrimental effect he believes rap music is having on the American culture at large and more specifically within the Black community.
Manning so likes the song, including its first few seconds, that he now uses that beginning portion of “The C is Silent in Rap,” as his lead in music for breaking news.
In addition to the publicity garnered through the interview with Manning, the pastor also made an offer that very well could have pushed Brandt Morain to the forefront of American pop culture should he have accepted.
“During the interview he offered to take the song to Howard Stern,” Brandt said.
But, ultimately, they asked Manning to forego bringing the song to the self-proclaimed King of All Media.
“At first we were very excited, me particularly,” Brandt said. “But my partner, who is a little smarter than I am generally, talked me out of it.”
Brandt admitted he’d never heard or seen Howard Stern’s show. The sum total of his knowledge of Stern came from seeing the movie “Private Parts,” an autobiographical film depicting Stern’s rise in radio.
“I thought he was risqué, but otherwise not terrible,” Brandt said. “Well, my partner Eddie said, ‘You don’t know what you are talking about and you need to check this guy out before we do business with him.’”
Brandt went to Stern’s website and got a stark dose of reality.
“It was brutally pornographic and we immediately decided we wanted nothing to do with this guy,” he said. “So, we asked Dr. Manning to not deliver the song to Howard Stern.”
Brandt says the decision wasn’t a difficult one.
“That might have been the big deal for us, you know. But to be honest, as time went on, the most difficult part of it for me was trying to rationalize working with Howard Stern,” he said. “When I finally came to my senses, it was very comfortable. We’re not going to spend the rest of our lives paying homage to Howard Stern for our success. We’d rather shine shoes.”
But while they haven’t taken what might have been an easy road to some quick bucks, Brandt Morain did started selling their album again in April. One of the easiest ways to buy the CD is through their website, www.brandtmorain.com. It can also be purchased locally at Budget Tapes & Records in Pocatello.
While it hasn’t had the commercial success that Brandt hoped the album would have, it has gotten critical acclaim, always getting a good review. Brandt and Morain have even been asked by other indie groups to do some recording work but their hope is that the next major project will be a follow-up to Brandt Morain Volume One.
“When the first album has reached the proper level of success, only then will we be open to doing a second album,” he said. “With the recent success we are starting to think about doing a second album.”